The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

Can I keep you?

Lately I’ve been thinking about loss. With my sister and a friend going to wakes one day after the other, another terrible number up on this year’s wake count, I cannot help but think of who we can keep.

Honestly, I am quite lucky, my parents are both here and generally healthy (I say generally because they are not perfectly there but that’s another conversation entirely). I got time with both grandmothers and one grandfather. My mom’s siblings are all thriving. Cousins are intact and can be direct messaged or sent embarassing videos at any time. Friends who’ve stayed are those who are amazing (and even saw me through my worst when I just wasn’t there for anyone and was just surviving).

But what happens when the loss is unavoidable? A death. A choice. A fight so big it breaks the whole thing. Waking up one day realizing you had nothing in common. It’s inevitable, unavoidable.

Clearly I cling. Some of my closest friends are one that I’ve loved since I was 5 years old. Decades of weirdness, thousands of miles apart, misunderstandings, horribly embarrassing formative years.

And it’s not just them. Some people I’ve met I just want to keep forever. A month ago, a friend I made a year ago basically asked me if she could keep me and I didn’t hesitate. Good women, good men, amazing friends. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with people that love and support me through something as big as a cancelled wedding to something as small as terribly applied makeup right before we went out in public in her hometown.

So when I ask to keep you, know that I mean it, and I will do my best to deserve to keep my place in your life. Also know you can tell me if I’m doing it the wrong way and you want to run in the other direction. My heart is patched up and perhaps defensive but it has the best intentions. And I intend to keep those who are in it to stay.

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