During the week, Rebecca, my first girlfriend, died of breathing complications. She had a heart issue which caused her to collapse at home. She was taken to ICU and put on a ventilator, but couldn't breathe without its aid. Brain stem death happened while she was in a coma, and she ended up being in a vegetative state. When the doctor turned the ventilator off, she died.
Rebecca's older brother is my best friend, 47. He was the one who told me the news and kept me updated throughout what was going on. I told my dad in confidence, who told my mother, who told Nanna, who told everyone else in my family. I'm not happy about that, but I guess they can't un-tell anyone. My lesson learned here: don't say anything to anyone. I have, of course, offered 47 a shoulder. He's actually coping with this stoically well. Some other friends, like Mini, have been asking if he is in shock, denial or disbelief. I just think he's dealing with it well. He's good at that.
My feelings, however, are incredibly complicated.
First off, I am sad Rebecca died - of course I am. She was a very important part of my life and I'm also sad for her family - not just 47, but his parents and the "other" sister, who must be devastated. Rebecca was 25 and although the death would have been painless for her, that's small comfort for the family that I once felt part of. And, of course, I feel sorry for the girl I once felt love for.
However, it's difficult to think about Rebecca without it dredging up some of the resent I still feel from our failed relationship. I don't want to rehash this again, but she hurt me - badly. She did cheat on me, repeatedly, with different people. She boasted about crushing on other people, which made me feel inadequate, and her varying excuses for ending our relationship were all shades of idiotic, the most outlandish one being, "I thought I was polyamorous." I am aware that polyamory is being open about being in more than one relationship, but leaving me to work out who she was shagging on the side is not polyamory. It's cheating. And I'm also pretty certain that this all stems from her having read The Ethical Slut.
TD often commented on the fact that I seemed to have trouble trusting girls with whom I am in a relationship. And I did - I assumed that every argument (well, what passed for an "argument", which was usually her shouting at the top of her voice and me calmly trying to resolve) would mean a break-up, every man she worked with was a potential threat, and that every celebrity crush she mentioned (I hate celebrity crushes) pushed me down to second place. And I still do have that problem. Catharine hasn't mentioned any celebrities or other men (in real life, anyway), and has not been argumentative. But I would feel the stings, I would get jealous, I would be afraid. And this all stems from Rebecca, when the signs were there and I knew I'd get hurt.
After we broke up, she started doing things deliberately calculated to hurt me. I'm absolutely certain about this. She started smoking because she knew I hated smoking, and told me about it. She started listening to whiny emo music she knew I didn't like. And, worst of all, she joined the BNP and was radically racist for a while, before even she realised that was dumb... although, now I say that, her name still appears on a leaked document listing all the paid BNP members. But I'm not sure how current that document remains.
This doesn't mean she was unimportant, of course. She was my first girlfriend (if you don't count Soldiergirl, and I wouldn't). I loved her and cherished her, and I forgave every indiscretion. She did, in fact, cheat on me even before we had met, but after we had agreed to make a go of things, but I forgave. Because, when it comes down to it, I am an ILB. I was firmly of the belief that love conquers all. But I guess I was wrong. I hope I wasn't.
I have very mixed feelings. I'm confused and upset. I'm upset that she died. I'm worried for her brother (my "brother"). And I'm sad that it had to happen so suddenly, and to her family, who must be suffering. Death has affected everyone, but everyone I know who's died (bar one person, who I shall mention another time) has had a life. This is different. This is upsetting and devastating. But there's a very small, very selfish part of me which is angry. At who? I don't know. It's angry that she left without giving me answers, without justifying anything to anyone. Did she come to regret what she'd done later? 47 says she did. I'm not sure. She did write a song a year or so ago called Is It Too Late To Say I'm Sorry?, clearly about me (although not explicitly so). I don't think she ever felt regret. Although now it's impossible to know.
And it always will be.
47 called me again yesterday. They were going through her things, and he found a notebook in her bedroom, in which she had taken the time to transcribe all the text messages I sent to her. Many of these would have been sent while she was cheating. She still wrote the down in her book. Did she still hold the love for me I held for her? Again, we'll never know. I'll never know. But it's nice to know, I suppose, that I had an effect on her - that I managed to be as good as I could be. I lit a spark somewhere in her heart, and I hope that it's a light she carries with her, wherever she may go on to be.