Then my whole world changed in the early morning hours on September 6.
I received a phone call from a North Carolina state trooper at 1:40am. He was calling to inform me that Lindsay (my girlfriend) was in a car accident, and did not make it out of the hospital alive. Deaths in car accidents are news you see, but it's rare that any of us believe we will go through that experience with someone close to us. I was in a very lost place after I got the news, and then phone calls from her mother and her roommate (who had become one of her closest friends very quickly) proved that we weren't alone in this confusion. One of her friends at her complex offered to drive out to Cary to pick me up, but I really just wanted to be alone for the time being.
After that first night, however, I discovered exactly why it was good to have people around, and more people than I ever could have expected. I've always been more of the loner type, not really comfortable getting too close to anyone outside of his immediate family, and one who wasn't always sure who he should call his friends. However, I found it one of the rare pleasant surprises, knowing that so many people had my back. I've slowly been driving myself back to sanity with this thought in my mind. I didn't figure out how to cry over it, but I'll be damned if I didn't put together my best mix CD ever thanks to this tragedy; my end combo of Moby's "My Weakness" and Bon Iver's "Beth/Rest" got to me the first time I played it in full.
I didn't mention her much in my blog as I wanted to leave names out of it, nor did I know how to discuss my love life. We had difficulty during our relationship, particularly this summer, in part because of my general detachment and some difficulties with affection. I had been in relationships for 6.6 years and still hadn't figured out how to properly show affection, up to the night of Lindsay's death. We had been together for what had felt like at least five or six years, the way we had been hot and cold before. There's one important detail to note about us...she was happy, after so long, to finally get the guy, since I had come to a point where I knew we could be comfortable.
With this death, I have had some other thoughts consume me. Thankfully, none of those thoughts have dealt with the inevitable "what if" that frequently comes from such loss. However, there are three big ones nonetheless.
- What have I done with my life and what more can I do? As most Aspies go, I'm not great at focusing, so I feel that I haven't allowed myself to properly focus on priorities at hand. If I had been checked in, I would have already taken the GMAT this summer. I gained even more ambition while dating her, but still had troubles focusing my energy on one activity, and utilizing the obvious excuses for not yet applying for my Masters Degree. I did allow myself to really consider what schools I should apply to in the wake of the tragedy, and even though she was pushing UNC, I'm realizing that NC State's MBA program is my best option, and I could pour myself even further into my professional associations. Maybe having this extra time should motivate me, even though I was too numb and too distracted for a couple weeks, throwing off some of my graduate exam studies. Then I can finally resume my musical pursuit and get that EP finished, with her cover art as the dedication even if she wasn't around to see the final product.
- I have also began to question the afterlife more so, at least if someone leaves earth before their time. I "experimented" with religions for a couple years of my life, particularly my freshman year of college. It made me appreciate faith more than I had in my years before college, even if it wasn't something I could keep up myself and challenged often. Some days I start talking to Lindsay as if she can hear what I'm doing or can possibly see into my thoughts and any transgressions or memories I have of her. There are other days where I start to bring this up with God. It will be along the lines of, "Hey God, how does this happen? I wonder if You had a different idea for Lindsay once she left early." Now I don't believe God is a person, but rather an energy...the biggest mystery known to man, even beyond Higgs Boson or other scientific and spiritual questions and answers. There's also the semi-Buddhist likelihood that once she "saw the light" her own spirit transfers into a newborn somewhere else in the world, a reincarnation, although the newborn will have no memory of Lindsay for neurological reasons. I ponder what may be possible, in true agnostic fashion.
- Once I'm ready to hit the dating scene, I do think about what will happen if I have to break the news about why exactly I became a single man. I believe I'm near the point where I can go on some dates, where it wouldn't be just company to cope with the loss. If I do get close enough to someone, how do I go about dropping the inevitable? I've likely pondered this more than I should for the last week because of situations with the opposite sex lately. More so, what lessons can I learn from this past relationship? I gained a lot and learned more about myself and commitment and I probably don't want to get into anything long-term for a while, but knowing my history I'm bound to end up with someone soon enough and will be able to not always think about the past.
This one's for you, Lindsay.