This is me selfishly absolving my selfishness.

Hi auntie. Sorry that this is my goodbye; I’ve been really busy. I’m also sorry that I didn’t visit more; I’ve been really busy. I’m also sorry that I wasn’t there for our family when you died; I was really busy.

People have told me that they couldn’t tell that I was grieving. They said that I’ve “hidden it well.” Or they say that I’m “so strong.” When in reality, I’ve just been really busy. The last time I saw you, I know I told you about my internship, right? We sat in your living room as my other uncles and aunts made fun of me for my tattoos, and I told you about how I’m writing stories for a project about people in San Francisco, and how one day I’ll be credited in the book it becomes. I remember you said, “wow, good job, ‘Lex!” as you fought through a smile — the IV hanging from your curtain rod by a clothes hanger steadily keeping you hydrated, but not healthy — I remember that you couldn’t even handle solid food because your esophagus was torn up as a consequence of the cancer. Or maybe I’m thinking about it too much, and that smile was the genuine one; the pain was the one fighting through the smile. I guess I couldn’t tell; I was too busy talking about myself.

I’m really sorry that this is the only way I’m really able to articulate myself — I’m too busy to sit down and talk about it with anyone. I’m actually writing this on the ferry to school right now. Did I tell you that I’m almost done with my degree? How are my cousins? Is Cameron in high school yet? I’m sorry, I’ve been too busy to remember… and what about Brayden? How old is he again? The last time I saw him, he was playing old school video games on your TV. I watched him play Dig Dug and Pole Position — games that were probably almost four times his age? I’m not sure — I’ve been really busy.

I’m sorry that I keep taking on projects instead of taking the time to be with our family — did I tell you about the Kickstarter I’m helping write? Did I tell you about the Brand Book I’m helping to edit? Did I tell you about the commercials I’m recording and filming? I’m sorry that yesterday I made the conscious choice to take my sorry ass to school when I had found out at 7am that morning that you had died and my cousin and uncles and other aunts were all planning on driving down to visit but instead I chose to record a radio commercial for my portfolio even though I know damn well I could have driven to your house and then driven to the recording session and still made the commercial I was just afraid that if I saw you and our family that I wouldn’t be able to keep my composure during the session and I had booked a professional voice actor and that was selfish of me but it’s the truth but the other truth is that you’re gone and…… I was just busy.

I’m sorry that I’m so selfish. I’m sorry that I’m keeping everything in my life so chaotic so that I don’t have the time to acknowledge how I probably really feel. I’m sorry that that’s probably complete bullshit and I’m just a selfish piece of shit. I don’t know anymore. I can’t make heads or tails of my world right now. I’m so busy that nothing makes sense. I’m upset. And angry. And sad. And I hate myself. I hate that my excuse is that I’m so busy. And I hate that you would understand, because you were just so full of love and compassion and caring. And I hate that I can’t keep my composure right now; I’m busy at school and need to focus. I hate that I can’t say any of this to you. I hate that I can’t show you all of these things that I’ve accomplished, and I hate that I’ll never hear you say that you’re proud of me again, and I hate everything right now.

But please know that I love you. Even if I’ll never say it to you again: I love you so much. I’ll try to be strong. Our family needs me to be strong.

But I’m sorry if I’m too busy hiding my face right now to be that strong.

Love, always and forever. And goodbye,