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Dear Danny: I'm Finally Stepping Off of Grief's Roller Coaster

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Dear Danny,

In March it was nine years since I lost you. I know that is such a long time and things are so very different from when you were here, but I still find myself sobbing for you some nights.

There are so many things I wish you could have seen. If you had been able to fight your demons we could have survived 2020 with much more laughter and talking than I have done since you left.

I remember in health class how they tell you the stages of grief and the signs to look for when you switch stages. I can just picture 15-year-old me studying them so I could take the test on a Friday. No one warned me that grief has never seen the plan it is supposed to follow.

Some people skip stages, some people skip around and go back and forth, and some, like me, last years to get to different stages. Last year I finally dealt with the anger stage and I didn’t realize how truly furious at you I would become. You cost me so much, you changed my life so dramatically there is no way I could right the wrong that came from your loss. And believe me I have tried.

I can finally feel myself healing. I learned to celebrate the life you lead, use your anniversaries to have that fun I missed out on those first four years of missing you.

The fact that our relationship and our story is so unique is what has kept my grief so strong and frustrating. Nightmares of the last year of your life still find me when I forget and try to keep my grief inside.

Grief makes people forget the darker sides of their loved ones. But despite half of me remembering all the good and the incredible friendship we had, the other half of me remembers the fear, the hate, the depression.

I can only imagine the good you could have done in my life if suicide wasn’t your answer. So much lost, so many things you desperately would have wanted to be apart of. But you can’t. It is startling how one choice can affect so many lives.

At last I can feel myself stepping off of grief’s roller coaster. A seat for one finally left behind. Learning to talk about you was hard, but hearing other people’s stories of you, I devour each one and wish for thousands more to find me.

And here I am, reduced to writing letters you will never need. Each one fondly titled: Dear Danny.

Your best friend,


Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

Originally published: April 8, 2021
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