Three years. 36 months. 1095 days since your heart last beat, and I’m at a loss. A loss of how to feel, a loss of what to say…
When you passed, I learned how hard it was to lose a parent for everyone involved. The other parent had to learn to grieve and take over the second role that you left behind. For everyone else, friends and family alike, they now had to figure out what their new role in our lives would be. And for my brother, sister, and me, who understood that we would never receive one of your bear hugs again, or be able to hear your voice say “yello” when you picked up your phone, or see your smile, and recognized that you were gone, could never have fully been prepared for all the ways it would affect our lives over the years.
For three years, I spent my life living the way you would have. I’ve made decisions based on thought processes you taught me, I’ve modeled my behavior from what I observed during our 19 years together, and that is what has aided me in my quest to remember you and live my life without your physical presence. But it has also reminded me that everyone is different when it comes to grieving. This is how I grieve, but that doesn’t mean it’s how everybody faces the loss of someone they love dearly.Some people are able to resume life immediately, others need a break before jumping into old routines, and some people are fine for awhile, but break down along the road. And that is fine. There is no manual on how to grieve, there is no timeline that states this is when you should be over it and able to live normally. There never will be. It is a trial and error process and I assure you that no two people will follow the same path.
The past three years have been a roller coaster of emotions, about you and about life in general, but one thing I’ve learned is that your death didn’t fully hit me all at once. Instead, it broke itself up into a million milestones that rip my heart open all over again. I didn’t realize you were gone once we closed your casket and held the funeral service. Instead, I realized that you were gone when I moved into my first apartment, or when I had breakdowns about classes in college and not feeling like I was succeeding at what I wanted to do, or when I got engaged. The knowledge and pain I felt during these moments was fresh, ripping through me just as it had when my sister told me you had passed. People always assume holidays are the hardest, that it hurts the most when Christmas approaches or when Father’s Day approaches, but it’s not. It’s the little things, the day to day events that remind us how much your presence is missed and wanted. It’s a random weekday morning, while you’re making coffee and look at the Sudoku puzzle in the newspaper and are reminded of the times you spent doing these puzzles together, talking about life and what is to come. And then you give yourself a little bit of time, gather yourself up and go on with your day. And that whole day is a struggle for you, a struggle to fight your tears with a smile and no one knows how much your struggling because it’s just another random weekday morning.
A lot has happened in the past 1095 days: joys and defeats, loves and losses, laughs and tears, but one thing remains the same. You are with us in whatever way you can be and you gave us each other to help us with this journey we are undertaking.
I’m still looking for you in the sky.