“On October 2nd, 2020, my sweet boyfriend, VJ, sent me a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers for no reason at all. I remember feeling so loved and smiling so big when I saw them. I thanked him a million times over. He made the gesture seem as if it were so minute. Little did I know, the liveliness of those flowers would become so important to me.
On October 4, 2020, that sweet boyfriend of mine was tragically and unexpectedly killed in a car accident on his way home from work. VJ worked about an hour away from our home. He was only 15 minutes away. I had JUST spoken with him on the phone. We had spoken just 6 minutes before he left this world.
VJ had two beautiful children named Oliver and Callia. They were his greatest accomplishments. They are made up of all the best and most magical parts of who he was. They were with us the night he passed away. The kids and I were nestling upstairs in our bonus room, watching old episodes of Sister, Sister. We fell asleep waiting on their daddy to come home. I woke up to a phone call from VJ around midnight. He was calling to tell me he was on his way. I stayed up for as long as I could waiting on him to arrive. At around 1:15 a.m., I called him back and his phone went straight to voicemail. This was not normal. So, I called again. But the phone didn’t even ring. I got his voicemail yet again.
I called a good friend of his to see if they had spoken with him, but they hadn’t heard from him since earlier that night. They grew just as concerned. We decided to call around to both hospitals and jails, in case he was hurt or in some sort of trouble (also not like him). We did what we knew how to do. We looked for him. We waited for him. We called him. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I felt really uneasy. So, in that moment, I prayed for God to bring me peace and comfort. I waited up as long as I could keep my eyes open. I made it to about 4 a.m. and still there was no sign of him. And then, I woke up to a phone call that changed my life. ‘Hello, are you the owner of a 2019 Mazda CX-5? Do you know who might have been driving your vehicle? Your vehicle was involved in a car accident. Oh, no honey. He didn’t survive.’
Those words didn’t feel real. I had just woken up. Was I still dreaming? Was it really him in the vehicle? Was this my new truth? Was this our story? VJ was only a few miles from home. He veered off the road and hit a concrete block that held up an interstate sign. He did not survive the accident. He did not survive the fire afterwards, either. He was gone. They didn’t know who he was. They could not recognize my sweet, honey boy. His light, his laughter, his being, his touch, his love, his big, beautiful personality was gone in a matter of seconds. Our future was gone. Their father was gone.
But the flowers were still there. His scent was still around. His shoes were still by the door. His truck was still in the driveway. His cup of water was still on the nightstand. His toothbrush was still on the bathroom counter. But he was gone. Our lives are so, so fragile. The memories we make are so important. The way we love and speak to each other is what matters. The love we share is what matters. The time we spend together is what matters. The way we make each other feel is what matters. He is what mattered.
VJ was the love of my life. We met when I was 13 years old. We loved each other BIG and for a long, long time. We had just spoken about getting married. VJ was looking for a ring. He was working his butt off. He wanted so badly to make our family happy and proud of him and his dedication. He was incredible and talented and loving and special. He will forever be missed and thought of every second of our days. VJ was loud, messy, fun, intelligent, kind, gentle, tough, and loving. He loved bigger than anyone I ever knew. He made me feel so important and special. He did that for everyone he came in contact with.
So, I’m here to tell you to keep your loved ones close. Hug them tight. Kiss them goodbye. Be with them. Make memories with them. Put them first. Tell them how amazing and wonderful they are all of the time. They do not always get to come back home. We are proof tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye. VJ will forever be missed by so many people on this side of heaven. But he will be especially missed by me. Our love was bigger than ourselves. Our story was bigger than ourselves, too. And that’s why I am sharing it with each of you now. So, you can love the stuff that matters. VJ mattered. He always will.
With love, from his ‘honey girl,’
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