Monday, January 23, 2012

Let Your Heartlines Lead You Home

"Just keep following the heart lines on your hand . . ." -Florence and the Machine

I just got the new Florence and the Machine CD "Ceremonials" and if you haven't heard of  this group, look them up, and if you have heard of them, but don't have this CD, go buy it. Anyway- I've been thinking about this line on and off all day . . . I've heard the lines on our hands referred to as lines that psychics use to tell our future . . . I've heard them called 'love lines' . . . but I've never heard of them being called 'heartlines.' I really like it though. And I like the idea of following them . . . so then I started considering where my heart lines would lead me if I were to follow . . . and I decided they would lead me home.

Nine years ago tomorrow my family will have lost a son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, and a friend. Nick had an unquenchable zest for life and he truly lived every day like it was his last. He was an exceptional football player, enjoyed having fun . . . legal and otherwise, and had an uncanny way of annoying the piss out of you and making you gasp for breath from laughter at the same time. He was beautiful- he had a beautiful spirit and a beautiful face.

Anyone who has lost someone knows the undeniable and deafening silence that overtakes family holidays, birthdays that used to be celebrated, and any place or activity that that person used to fulfill. Losing Nick was similar to going deaf for a while- nothing was as bright, as loud, as fun as when he used to be around.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of Nick, or mention Nick, or smile because I remember something funny he said or did. The number 40 will never be looked at, for me, without thinking about him on the football field . . . the number 40  will always belong to my family, be a part of our history, forever be correlated to being a Duff.

9 years ago today I was going about a weekend night as usual business not realizing the entire universe as I knew it was going to be hurtled against a wall and shattered. But here's the beautiful thing about your world being broken: you learn to appreciate the people who weren't taken to soon, you learn that the idea of "that will never happen to me" is complete bullshit, you learn that, even if you think it's sappy or clingy or silly, saying 'I love you' to the people you love is, in fact, never sappy or clingy or silly . . . because they deserve to hear it and you need to say it.
9 years ago tomorrow I looked around at the broken faces of my family and realized we are incredible. We have faced adversity, suffered through losses, and have been put to difficult tests- but 9 years later we are here, together, and living our lives- not just existing. We live them and grow and move forward, but never at the cost of forgetting the electric existence of Nicholas Drake.

I love my family; I loved them before that day so many years ago, but today I know them better than I ever would've imagined, I've been a part of amazingly momentous occasions for two beautiful cousins, and I actually take the time to contact my family outside of get togethers and holiday events. And come 4 months from now I will be holding another addition to my loud, big, gorgeous family and I know Nick will be smiling down on his lovely sister as she brings a new baby into the love that has come to define being a Duff.

My family has always been important to me, but now they are essential to me. I would simply be existing in this place, if not for my family.

I know that tomorrow I will wake up, and I will probably feel heavy in my heart, but I will also wake up and know that I've got an ornery spirit watching every step I take, a beautiful boy keeping his hands on my beloved family, an incredible eye watching over this life of mine. And I know that my heart lines might lead me down paths that end in pain, my heart lines might lead me in directions that make me question myself, but my heart lines will always lead me back home. And, as you may know, home is where the heart is . . . and it's certainly where all the people who loved me first will always be.

I love you, Nick . . . and I miss you every day.

-Stephi D.