Alana Joy Gaines April 21, 1974-November 22, 1997

Wow.  Seven Years…

Another year has passed, and it’s another year that I don’t get to visit her grave.  So much has happened in my life since she was murdered.  It seems like an eternity ago.

If I got to see her kids, I probably wouldn’t recognze them.  When Joy died, her youngest, Adrian, was only 2, now he’s 9.  Adriana, her daughter, is 10 now.  Her oldest son, who was 7 at the time of her death is now 14 going on 15.  Man, how time has an ugly way of getting past you when you least expect it.

To think, I was a snot nosed kid of 20 when all of this happened.  Now that I am 27, approaching 30, I feel like the Hashim of 1997 doesn’t even exist anymore.  His was a year of grief, sorrow, and utter depression.  It took alot for me to get from there to here, but I did it, even if the results weren’t as spectacular as they should have been…

I don’t get choked up about her death too much anymore, but not one day passes that I don’t think about her.  I made that promise at her grave.  I promised that no matter what, no matter who drifted into my life, I would never let her die in my heart, and the reality is that she is still there.  She has her own little space, and that will never change.

A girl like her deserved, I mean absolutely deserved to be remembered in some way.  I miss that smile.  I miss the way she looked at me when we talked.  I miss how she called me Punkin.  I miss alot of things about her, but the reality is that she is gone, and it took me a long time to accept that.

I have moved on as best as I could, and finally I was able to move on completely.  I have loved since then and continue to love now.  It has to be.  When you lose, you have to continue to grow, it’s a must.  Those first couple of years after she died were the worst, because I felt like life as I knew it had no more value, no more worth.  Each and every woman who entered my life during that time had to suffer greatly.  There was nothing that they could do, no matter how hard they tried.

All I want to do is apologize to them now…

One of these days, I am going to finally make it back to South Bend, Indiana, where she is buried.  I haven’t been there in some time, and the truth is, I haven’t even seen her head stone.  There was a dispute regarding it, and it hadn’t been erected for sometime, although I hear that it is up now.  I just want to see it, I want to say goodbye one more time.

It’s hard to say what my life would be like now if she were still alive, to tell you the truth, I stopped ruminating about it sometime ago.  It was just too hard a thing for me to deal with, especially when it didn’t make any difference one way or another since nothing would ever bring her back.

It took a long time to admit it, but my life didn’t end when she died after all.  It just changed gears.  Tragedy does that, but what it also does is make us stronger as individuals.  Joy did that for me.  She helped a stupid 20 year old boy become a man.  Yes, there was scar tissue to deal with along the way, but if her memory means anything to me it means that life cannot be lived without a true sense of passion.  My love for her gave direction to my life, her death slowed me, but eventually made me stronger and more ready for this world than I was before.

For that, I will, as I do every November 22nd, drink a toast to her, my love, my friend, my memory…

I love you.



9 responses

  1. *sniffles* I feel the same way about my late grandfather; Reverend Clair Wagner. At least we learned some thing from them before they passed on.

    November 22, 2004 at 5:21 pm

  2. Carry her in your heart for always.. she is safe there.

    November 22, 2004 at 5:35 pm

  3. Thanks for sharing.  And remember, just because her body is in S.B. you don’t need to be there to be near her.  It was hard for me when I moved away from my mother’s grave, but now I realize she’s with me always.  Her body isn’t the most important thing, it’s the place she has in my heart.
    Its so hard to lose someone we love, but I think the memories and the lesson we learn from it is far more valuable than those that have never had to learn that lesson.  (if that makes sense)

    November 22, 2004 at 7:00 pm

  4. Anonymous


    November 22, 2004 at 10:55 pm

  5. Anonymous

    That’sso sad! You’ve remembered her well. You keep her memory cherished. SHe’d be proud of you, I reckon.

    November 22, 2004 at 11:58 pm

  6. Anonymous

    So sad that she’s gone, so sad for your sorrow and the burden of loser her. 

    November 23, 2004 at 1:45 am

  7. Whoa…I share my birthday with an anniversary of something that changed your life.  So this day means something to you as well.  I am so sorry about everything youw ent through, and she was a lucky woman to have been loved so deeply by you.  I bet her kids are wonderful little people.  Thanks for your wishes…they were right on time!! 

    November 23, 2004 at 9:50 am

  8. Anonymous

    I find it very special that you make an effort to remember her every day no matter how many years have passed.
    Death is a severe grief, its close to heartbreak but much worse. This statement could be debateable, some may look at it as the same amount of pain.
    I think about my death and fear that my life, the memory of me will fade. Hopefully my loved ones will continue to cherish me, to think about me when I am long gone. Life rushes by with busy schedules and stress but once you have a break to sit down and think about what really matters – it all comes back.
    In memory to your friend, gone but never forgotten.

    November 23, 2004 at 10:54 am

  9. Anonymous

    I know I don’t know you nor do you know me.  However, I’ve been reading your posts for sometime now after finding your name on Jess’ site.  I just wanted to tell you that your entry made me cry.  It’s was beautiful reading everything you had to say, and I could really feel the love radiating out of your words.  Have a good night.  

    November 23, 2004 at 9:00 pm

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