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poor, sweet Gabby

I think most of us had a feeling this is how things would end, but we held out hope.

Sweet, sweet Gabby. My heart is broken for her and for her family.

Gabby Petito has become a household name this past week, but not for the reasons she had ever hoped.

Gabby dreamed of becoming a travel blogger, of being able to live a beautiful and free life. And of sharing that with the world. Do you see how beautiful that is? Do you see why I’m so attached to this case- because I relate so much to that. I have to imagine that in some ways we were kindred spirits. I wish I could meet her in real life, and not have to dream of her.

I wish I could tell her that Brian isn’t as nice as she thinks he is, and that he has some major red flags waving around. I wish I could tell her that love isn’t supposed to hurt the way she has been hurting, that 22 is so young and she has so much more to experience and figure out. I wish i could have been her big sister. Would it have been different?

I have a handful of these things that I keep in the back of my heart, where I think to myself: I should have gone to that party, because I WOULD HAVE KEPT THIS TERRIBLE THING FROM HAPPENING. I should have done XYZ because what if i could have changed the outcome. What if this thing, that is so far removed from me it wouldn’t have even been realistic- but what if I COULD HAVE CHANGED IT?

I try not to dwell on those. And I’m certainly not trying to make this about me. The point I want to get across to y’all today, is this: if you are worried about someone, tell them. You don’t have to go to them and say “hey i think your boyfriend is an ass” although that can work in some situations. You can just check in with them and say “hey you’ve been on my mind lately, how are you?”. You can tell them you noticed, maybe, their instagram captions were different or they weren’t posting as much and it made you worry. You can tell them a mutual friend asked about them and you wanted to check in, catch up, let them know. The point is, there are so many ways to reach out to somebody and let them know that 1) people care and are there for them and 2) that you’re watching and you worry. Which, those are kind of two sides of the same coin, but you get it.

Just think about what I’m saying here. The ways this could help. If someone is feeling like they don’t want to be around anymore, if someone IS in an abusive relationship, if someone moved and doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends…. The options are endless for the ways this could be helpful.

Would it have changed things in Gabby’s case? I can’t say. No one truly can. But she has certainly got me thinking about the importance of reaching out, and also the importance of pointing things out when appropriate (and sometimes when not).

That’s a hard line to walk, and i get it. I’ve had friends who were dating AWFUL people, and sometimes I've had to sit back and watch it go sour because in spite of my attempts to say “hey he/she treats you bad” they continued to accept it. So you try your best, and that’s all you can do. But at the same time I’ve had people ask if Adam and I are in a healthy relationship because we’ve made a joke about something that someone else apparently didn’t like. And I appreciated that those people checked with me and were concerned for my safety and health- I really truly did- but it was also hurtful that someone would look at me and this man I adore and think something was wrong with us. We’re far from perfect of course, and we’ve come a LONG way and improved on many things that were once unhealthy about our relationship. So i get why it people asked and I was thankful, but I also get why being asked can cause a person to bristle. It can be upsetting, even if you are in an unhealthy relationship, because you might not want to acknowledge that. Ya know?

Anyway, these are just my thoughts today as I mourn a girl who I never knew, who easily could have been any one of us. How many times have I been in that position that I could have been me!? Too many times for me to count, and frankly I wouldn’t enumerate them if I could, because I don’t want to worry my parents more than I already do. It’s terrifying, not in the sense that there’s a wild serial killer ready to snatch any of us at any time, like a scary movie in the 1950s- it’s terrifying because it reassures us that even when we think we can trust someone, even love them, we never truly know what they’re capable of.

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