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.