In the early months after Boris died, I remember a close friend telling me that her husband sometimes will have a hard time remembering if a certain song was out or a current event had occurred before or after his sister died. It had been many years since her death, but I remember thinking how is that even possible? Of course, I will remember those things! It felt so hard to wrap my brain around not remembering what had occurred before and after his death, and I think it was hard to imagine that much time passing at all. I hadn’t thought about this in a while, until maybe in the last several months or year, when I found it is happening to me. One day, I tried to remember Boris’s death timeline in terms of Taylor Swift albums. This thought popped in my head while listening to a song, did Boris like this song? Wait, was he alive when it came out? I remember us arguing about her Reputation album–I thought it was amazing and he was not impressed, preferring her earlier albums. So I knew he’d heard that one. Then, I thought, but what about her Lover album? Was that out before he died? I looked it up. Nope. It was released over a year after he died. How could I not know this? Then it started happening more…certain movies or shows I thought about and wondered if it was before or after his death. Maybe it is because so much has happened in our world since his death…including a global pandemic. Sometimes it still feels so unreal that someone who was part of my daily life, someone who was so alive and engaged… just all of a sudden was no longer there. And then the world just kept going on, as if nothing happened. And Taylor Swift released Lover, Folklore, Evermore, and Midnights…and we didn’t get to discuss any of them.
About Victoria Helmly
My love story began in 2005 and though my love is no longer physically here with me, our story has not ended. I met Boris when we were 14, but it was not until our junior and senior year of high school that we became more than friends (he was my first kiss!). We went to the same college and although our relationship was a bit rocky through our early 20s, we made it through. He was my person. Our relationship grew stronger as we matured and learned about one another more as adults. I was certain that he was my forever. We talked about the future a lot and we knew we would get married, but we did not want to rush—he was still finishing graduate school and I was just starting my first full-time job. We did not realize how little time we had left together.
In the summer of 2017, Boris was hospitalized three times for active suicidal ideation. This was a heartbreaking, exhausting, and life-changing experience. After 10 months of therapy, medication, and support groups, Boris died by suicide on April 7, 2018. My life now has two parts: the one before April 7, 2018 and the one after. My very best friend, my person was now gone.
If you were to ask how I am doing now, 2.5 years later, I would say I am okay. I am living. My world continues to spin, and I continue to move forward. However, I still carry deep sorrow and loneliness. I have struggled with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes I still cannot believe that he is actually gone. I still feel him with me, and I know that I will never stop loving and missing him.
I am currently in school for my Ph.D. and live just outside of Atlanta with our cat, Kitty Cat (Boris is responsible for the creative name). I work as a graduate research assistant currently, but I worked for three years with our State Unit on Aging prior to going back to school. I love movies, my friends and family, long walks, and traveling.