Grief is a strange thing.
It is something that once it sweeps into your life and takes up residence in your shell-shocked family, it never really leaves again.
In the beginning it is everything.
You wake up to your loss sitting on the end of your bed, the presence and reminder so powerful that you feel as though you have been physically struck without any warning.
It clings to you and you cannot escape. All you know is that there is something that is persistently kicking against the inside of your chest and each time it leaves you breathless, reminding you of what is missing.
Yet somehow you are supposed to carry on as though nothing has changed, as though the world doesn’t suddenly seem horribly backwards. You are expected to be you again.
Everyone will tell you that it gets easier, that the passing of time will somehow create a patchwork to put over the person shaped hole in your heart but in those early days you cannot believe it. In a way you don’t want to believe it either because you begin to be afraid that when it gets easier you may begin to forget and forgetting is not something that you want.
Instead you tell yourself a lie. You tell yourself that a mistake has been made.
You make yourself believe that death is something that is without boundaries and that should the day come when you cannot take the missing anymore then they will find their way back to you.
Sooner or later though it gets harder to pretend and you have to acknowledge that this is real and that no matter how many nights crying and begging for them to return it is not going to make a difference. They are not coming back.
That day hurts and there is nothing to water that grief down with.
Time passes and the anniversaries begin to stack up. It gets easier to talk about them but it still sounds strange to hear yourself only use the past tense.
That is all there is…all the things that they once said or did. Somehow you have to make that seem enough. You don’t have any other choice.
You change but you still miss them.
You grow up and you still miss them.
It’s been a year, 5 years, 10 years and you still miss them.
Grief never leaves but it becomes familiar. It becomes something that is just present and it’s weight no longer feels so heavy that you worry that you will never be able to take a step forward again.
It is not healing, it is growing because of and in spite of.
It is ok to miss your person. It is ok to not ever be over it. How can you be? How can you be ok with something that should be there but isn’t?
It has been 11 years and I am still wondering how things could have been? I still think about what she would say or not say. It still hurts and I still miss her. I am just used to her not being here anymore. I am used to talking to her and not getting a response. It is sad but it is no longer something that leaves me paralysed. The grief still sits on the end of my bed and yet I don’t mind it because it reminds me that she was here, that she lived and mattered and loved me.
It means that I will not forget.