An Open Letter to Anteneh Tebeje
Damn lil bro.
I can’t even lie to you, but I’m getting lit off some wine as we speak. I know you’d be disappointed, but it’s really because I’m not sure how to digest all of this. You’re really gone bro. How could you leave so soon? I just saw you a month ago? What’re you going to do about your friends and family? What about your plane ticket? I thought I was supposed to pick you up next week; what happened??
I don’t know how I’m supposed to be feeling right now. I’ve never lost someone as close as you before and its kind of overwhelming me. Monday night when I heard that you were in the hospital on life support, I really didn’t know what to do. My mind went into this manic state, and I just paced around the house feeling helpless. Devy was there with me when I got the news, but even he couldn’t calm me down. I called your mom but she didn’t pick up. So I called your older brother instead. Have you ever been so anxious to call someone but when they pick up you have no idea what to say? Lmao, man I was literally just sitting on the phone crying bro. I hate that this had to be my first time talking to Tes; you spoke so highly of him whenever we were riding around in Seattle. He was pretty cool on the phone though and he seems like a solid guy. But honestly I realized mid-call that I was acting selfish and hadn’t even thought about how he was feeling and processing this, so we didn’t talk for long. That night was really rough lil bro.
The next day wasn’t any better. It’s only a brief moment when you wake up in the morning that you feel completely stress-free before the realities of life sink in and hit you all at once. Lmao, that moment is so bittersweet man. The weather didn’t help much either. Till this day the sun still hasn’t came out and I literally spent that entire day in bed with no appetite. You can be a stressful one you know that?
Today, Wednesday, was different though. I woke up with a subtle kind of peace. An unsettling kind of peace. A peace that I felt like I shouldn’t be having knowing that you were still in critical condition in the hospital. The entire morning I distracted myself with work so I wouldn’t have to acknowledge it. I know it’s childish of me, but I’ve never been the best when it comes to handling my emotions. Hell, I still don’t even know how. And it wasn’t until I got that text in the afternoon saying that you passed was when that peace had looked me right in the face.
I was numb.
Why didn’t I feel anything? Why wasn’t I crying? Is it ok for me to be feeling this way? Just two nights ago I was bawling my eyes out imagining the world without my little bro conquering beside me. We’re supposed to be kings when we grow up. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. And I still haven’t. I turned my phone on airplane mode and left it upstairs.
How am I supposed to be feeling lil bro? How would you be feeling if the roles were switched? This is weird. As the night goes on, I’ve felt a couple of different emotions thinking about you, but that underlying peace is still there.
I’m sad that you’re not coming next week.
I’m sad that there’ll be no more random Facetimes of you smiling and checking in.
I’m sad that I never got to show you the book I’ve been writing.
I’m sad that despite the time we spent kickin it, we barely have any pictures together.
I’m sad that you won’t get to try my moms cooking one last time like you had hoped.
I’m sad that just a few weeks ago you told me all you had wanted to accomplish in this lifetime, especially for your mom, and they had to get cut short.
I’m mad that the last conversation we had was me scolding you for choosing the wrong airport to fly into.
I’m mad that when I gave you that MIZIZI wristband you told me it’s never coming off, and that it’s still on your wrist even as we speak.
I’m mad that I didn’t have time to be a better role model for you.
My stomach twists up every time I think about your mom and how she’s feeling. You were her everything lil bro.
But that peace is still there.
I’m happy that all my lasting memories are literally nothing but good ones.
I’m happy that I got to see you again a couple weeks ago.
I’m happy that out of all events, I came during ESFNA weekend and you were able to re-engage back with your Ethiopian culture.
I’m happy that you were able to make more Dallas friends and started breaking out of your shell.
I feel blessed lil bro. A special kind of blessed.
I feel blessed that you invited me into your world and I was able to meet all your family and friends that helped shape you.
I feel blessed that I was able to spend quality time with you and genuinely get to know all of your goals and aspirations.
I feel blessed knowing that out of all the people in the world, I’m able to have you as our guardian angel watching over us.
Why is my heart still at peace? I don’t know. It’s scary, but part of me thinks that this is how you would want it to be. Look at all the hearts you’ve touched and all the people you’ve inspired Anteneh. It’s amazing. I can only imagine the imprint you’ve left on everyone just as you’ve left on me. And I can even feel you giving that goofy grin of yours from here.
We were supposed to conquer the world together, but now I guess now we’ll have to take a different approach. Either way it goes, I’ll never let your support go in vain. Give me a little time and watch what I’ll do for you. #WeDoItForAnt
I love you lil bro,
Anteneh Tebeje’s Funeral Details:
When: Saturday at 11 am
Where: 2020 Mountain View Dr. Federal Way, WA 98001
Donations Accepted Here: https://www.gofundme.com/longliveanteneh