I believe that people give us gifts, but we may not know it right away, and sometimes you may feel it is too late to tell them how much it meant to you.
In September of 2005, I learned that Eddie Rector, an ex-boyfriend of mine, had been murdered, in a strange country and for no apparent reason. Initially, I was numb and then tears began to fall as the realization of his death settled in my mind. I called my mother once I managed to gather my thoughts and told her the news. As the days rolled on, my mother was the glue that kept me from falling apart. She held me and talked with me about Eddie and his sudden death. My mother helped me with his passing and made me realize the gifts he gave me over the years.
The first time I met him was at work. He told me he was from England, and I was enthralled with his charming accent. My fascination quickly subsided when I was informed by a colleague that he was putting me on! Somehow I didn’t even mind being the brunt of his joke, because he was so charming and playful. Eddie was not from England. Instead, he was in fact an actor who had graduated from my own high school. I found his personality engaging, and he sparked my curiosity. We dated for two years, but little did I know that this person would help me gain a confidence in myself that would encourage me to face difficulties that might otherwise have defeated me.
From the moment we met, Eddie always made sure I knew how special he thought I was. However, like most high school romances we slowly drifted apart. It was typical for people our age, yet, it was not easy for either of us. I eventually moved as he stayed to pursue his love of the theatre. Eddie and I spoke from time to time in the years that followed, and he still made me feel loved and respected.
When Eddie and I dated, I was too immature to realize what a gift it was to have someone believe in me and love me as much as he did. However, after his death I learned to value even more those things that his friendship brought to me. I still recall those times that he encouraged me to value my own gifts, my talents and even challenges that I encounter. He is my inspiration to this day and I still somehow look for his guidance.
I would like for Eddie to know that there are things from our time together that I cherish. I would like to tell him: you thought I was intelligent when no one else did. You thought I was beautiful, when I did not even like to look at myself. You encouraged me to find a path of my own when I could not even see the ground. You spoke the most incredible words and wrote touching letters. But your gifts, as bold and sure as they were, should not leave this world just because your body did. Your faith in me is still an inspiration. You were an incredibly gifted actor. When I look to the sky, I can feel you smiling at me and I know that you see me smiling back. I never fully appreciated your words then, but now I carry them in my heart and now I carefully measure what I say to those whom I love. This, I believe, was your gift to me and so I should strive to give this gift to others.
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