When you lose someone you love, you want to scream as you fall to your knees, begging for anything to release the pain. People say, once you let it all out, you’re finally able to accept the fact that the person you love is gone and you can proceed with the funeral and the grieving.
They say time heals everything and makes us remember those we lost only with smiles and good memories, and all the bad things fade away.
Well, you know what? It’s all fucking bullshit. Time doesn’t heal shit; it just makes you deal with the painful reality that they’re never coming back.
There is no scream. The minute you get the news, all you hear is a deep buzzing sound in your ears and everything around you is just quiet, as if you were in a vacuum.
Funerals and seeing the body? Makes you loathe it even more and get angry at all those people who think they know better, who give you that pitiful stare and tell you someday everything will be all right. They promise to be there for you and always offer their support.
That was a fucking lie, too. No one’s here with me right now. I lie in bed all alone and the pain doesn’t go away. That, I guess, is the whole point to being in rehab.
“Bella, you are fucking using, and you want me to let you go on with it?”
“Take her to a center. She is a fucking druggie.”
“Have you thought for a second how Nick would react to this?”
I hear all those voices in my head every time I try to relax. There is no getting away from them, or from those people who think they understand.
They think they’re allowed to judge.
Well, they fucking aren’t. They don’t know what it’s like to be me and deal with the pain when you have to smile for the press or perform on stage.
No, they fucking don’t, and I hate them for judging me.
Drugs, they were my friends. For just a moment, they allowed me to see him, to imagine and talk to him. I was able to laugh and experience a slight joy because he was here every time I took another dose. They took it away from me and thought I would deal with the grief.
How can I ever deal with it?
The person I loved most, the one who always believed in me, who was there for me when I wanted to explore my talent and go big, who saved me from the blows of our father, he’s gone.
He is never coming back. He can never hug me and tell me it’s going to be okay, because nothing can be okay for me anymore. I want him here with me, but at the same time, I know he would have been disappointed in me. He would never take drugs or approve of me doing something so bad either. He hated them because they destroyed our parents, and he helped kids like us make a different choice.
There is one vivid memory of him and me, when I was five and he was ten, and we walked around the park with just our sweaters and coats as protection against the biting wind, even though our coats were old and didn’t do much to keep us warm. I had wanted to see the park and he showed me. My teeth chattered from the cold, so he removed his coat with the intention of placing it on me.
“No, Nick! It’s freezing!” He held me close as I tried to get away, because as cold as I was, I didn’t want him to suffer. And if he became sick, there was no medicine to heal him. Our parents spent what little money they had on the alcohol and didn’t give a thought to their kids. Nick ignored my arguments and placed his jacket on me.
“It’s okay. I feel better knowing you are protected.” It made me cry, but he just smiled and hugged me. He was my hero. There wasn’t a time in my life when he didn’t put me and my needs first. He’d attended every one of my concerts and even arranged my music deal.
He will always be my hero. But he’s gone.
He is gone forever.
How can I live in a world where he no longer exists?
How is it possible to breathe in a world where my big brother, the only family I’ve ever had, doesn’t exist?
He is gone, and sometimes, I wish like hell I could have gone with him, that it would have been me who’d died in that car accident all those months ago. It should have been me who laid on the table, my body cold and lifeless.
They say atonement comes one way or another, or the guilt eventually vanishes.
That’s fucking bullshit, too. I’m a coward; I don’t want to live with the guilt. I want to live in my small fantasy-reality, where he’s alive.
I know I’m probably as good as done with the band. There is no way the girls and Jeremy will let me stay after all this; plus, how can they ever trust me?
They shouldn’t, because as much as I love what I do—what we do—if I had the choice again between them and that life, and drugs and my brother, I would choose Nick in a heartbeat.
My name is Annabella Katherine Hastings. I’m the lead singer of one of the most famous girl rock bands in the world, a fan favorite of many—supposedly with the voice of an angel—and I’ve recently become a druggie.