Although October is the more traditional month for the dead, at least by American cultural standards, its only been in the last week that I’ve been really feeling them. So, as the feeling strikes me, I’m going to be sharing some stories and photos of my dead. It seems as though I should speak of my ancestors first, but instead, I’ll be talking about an old friend.
I had a rough childhood and no friends until middle school. I fell in with a group of girls who really helped me through middle and high school. We were a tight knit group for most of that time, only drifting away or breaking away between sixteen-eighteen.
Avery was the friend I wanted to be. She was incredibly smart, funny, cute, and a talented artist. She was weird and spontaneous, and had appetite for life coupled with a lack of fear that I’ve always craved. She experimented with different hair and clothing styles, changing her whole look every few weeks. Avery was restless and wanted to break free of our boring Iowa life. She used to tell me, even then, that she wanted to “live fast and die pretty”. Around sixteen, she fell into drugs. Acid and heroine, right out of the gate. As the child of an addict, that wasn’t something I could be around so we drifted apart. She lost full ride scholarships and dropped out of school. She continued to party, to make art, to burn herself down.
Avery burned away her mind and within a couple years, the girl I knew was completely gone. It was devastating. Even so, during that time, on the rare occasion we saw each other, she was always kind to me. After high school ended, I think we only spoke three times. Once on the phone and twice online.
Early in June of 2013, she reached out on facebook and commented on an old picture of us together. She chatted with me, told me that she never forgot my kindness or our friendship. Two days later, she took her own life. June, the birth month we shared. She (we) had just turned twenty six years old. I didn’t know her past sixteen, but I loved her and in the end, she remembered that she loved me.
She was the first of my dead to contact me, to reach out and guide me to start worshiping the dead/my ancestors. She has guided me away from making a terrible life decision. I think she’s happy on the other side, and finally free. It still pains me that life was so hard for her and that she took the path she did, but I try to be happy for the peace she found.