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  • Writer's pictureJordan McDaniel

Finding Purpose and Meaning After Loss

A second letter to my best friend and ex-boyfriend Trevor who tragically died in March-- and a reflection on life's purpose and meaning since then.

I have been sitting down to write another one of these for months. Nothing would come out. Tonight, something struck me and it became cathartic again to write in your honor. I am not going to ever stop doing things like this--I will post, write, think of, and honor your life forever.

Next month marks 6 months without you. I had no idea what life would look like again back in March. Everything was so, so inconsolable and I hung onto anything I could just to get through the pain of you being forever gone. And then, somehow—I did get through the worst of it.

I don’t stop thinking of you. Your memory is always there. I think about you during every milestone I have, and every time I cry. Both happened today. But more so, I think of you every time I meet another beautiful person. Every wonderful, funny, sweet, and smiley person like you were. Everyone goes through the “Trevor Test” now. That’s what my Dad proposed months ago. He suggested gently to try and find light from the time we did have... “so think of your time together like that. Be grateful for the moments you spent together and let him be the example on how you want to be treated for any future relationships. Make them pass a Trevor Test first.” And so I do now. No one will ever replace you, but I do seek out now those sweet qualities you had. Instead of maybe the others I used to seek out; the ones I ultimately put you on the back burner for. I may not have wanted this and would give anything for your life back, but I’m so very thankful for our time. I’m thankful for this new standard. I’m thankful for endless laughs and for taking a seemingly crazy chance on each other just last year. This time last last September, we were in New York together for my first time.

I had my first photoshoot today and had to take off the bracelet I bought in your memory for the first time since the accident. The flimsy little light blue bracelet with tiny metal hearts I went searching for in an old Bali store after your death. I was trying to remember you the way you did for your best friend who died; and I now cherish mine. I was glad to put it back on and internally freaked out when I thought I may have had to cut it off for the shoot. It was tightly tied on. Somehow, however, it slipped right off. After nearly six months, I had no idea it even would. It slipped off and a few hours later slid right back on.

I can’t put into words why some people we meet can just instantly touch our hearts so deeply. Those few electric people we have, and whom will meet in the future, are truly life's most precious gift I know now. And even if it’s just for a few minutes, or for the rest of our life’s, I now appreciate those people and hold onto the time I have with them.

I’m sharing these thoughts because of the numerous messages I have gotten from people for months, most I didn't even know saying they can relate, and that they care. I got a note randomly tonight that really touched me. All of those people now hold a special place in my heart. I reach out to people now too instead of hesitating. I don’t think I would have before. I just didn’t get it.

I have learned that’s the light here; this connection and deeper meaning.

Empathy: more understanding now for others who have lost someone, because sadly we all will at some point.

Gratitude for what was: I really take chances now I wouldn't otherwise and I no longer make space for conditional relationships or friendships; life is too damn fleeting and precious.

Hope: hope for meeting and spending time with new people who make me feel their own kind of electric.

Lastly, the part I am still figuring out myself: meaning. I know and believe all of our lives on this planet have a higher purpose and meaning. Tragedy like this pushes me closer to finding it beyond what I have settled for previously.

I'm thinking of anyone going through something similar. Please just know you are not alone, and that things do look up. You can still find empathy, gratitude, hope and meaning in life-- and maybe even more than before with a new perspective on all of it.

With love,



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