Today, a person who is very special to me will be interred and so much seems out of sync in the world.
Derrick Woods was my first love, my first lover, my first coming of age boyfriend, my first fiancé, and my first alien encounter.:)
He died unexpectedly in his home on Sunday, August 4, 2019. He is 45 years old.
Derrick and I danced around and within each others’ lives since I was 12 years old. We lived in two different worlds but, in spite of it, we were connected in such a profound and unique way. This connection kept us tethered to each other so, no matter where life had us, we remained in each others’ orbit.
I do have regrets but I know we have lived the lives we were meant to live.
One year after I broke off our engagement and ended our relationship, because I was ignorant about Marine life and in my feelings, Angie found him and he married her. That union produced two amazing children that Derrick was devoted to. Though, his marriage wasn’t perfect he had a renewed devotion to his wife once he found out she was sick. He loved her immensely and made the best of the time he had left with her.
I let my unfavorable encounters with his wife, and his struggle with the relationship and his emotional battles for her and me, drive a wedge between us for a number of years. Then, I let the pristine memory he projected of his wife further alienate us.
I regret fighting so hard against our relationship when he revealed he was completely content living in Texas and I was determined to leave it and never look back.
I regret not pursuing him when he called out of the blue in 2012 to tell me about his first bout with a tumor on his brain.
We, once again, reconnected last year around the first anniversary of my mother’s death. We spoke almost every day from then through the second quarter of this year. He provided all of the support I needed and pulled me out of the darkness I had fallen into throughout that time. We embraced our history and reminisced. He reminded me of the connection we have and love we share and renewed my lease on life.
I regret sidestepping the opportunity to spend time with him last year when he presented it to me after he went to see his son in Chicago.
I regret not calling him weeks ago when it was on my mind and I regret not calling him last week at the anniversary of when he reached out to me last year.
As I struggle through the second year after my mother’s death and birthday, my grief is now compounded as I have lost another vital part of me in very close proximity. I have lost one of the few people who could recall my past, someone who held mementos of that time. I have lost one of the few people who truly loved me in this world. I have lost one of the few people who really knew me, saw me, and accepted me as I am. I have lost one of the few people who was an alien like me, living in this world but moving through it and processing it in an uncommon way. I have lost a confidante. I have lost an eternal possibility.
Each year, for the last three, I have lost someone vital. Is this what each year holds for me now? I don’t know if I can endure another loss of this magnitude.