This was a huge year. Some of the highlights include becoming cancer-free for the first time in three years, running my first half marathon, accidentally winning a Bahamas cruise (seriously, ask me about it), and getting engaged.
Such a big year ended on a difficult note when one of my best friends was murdered. I still manage to deny he is gone, and I don’t know when that will change. The funny thing about grief is each time feels like you are experiencing it for the first time, and the coping mechanisms you learned from prior experiences do you little good. It is raw. It is organic. It is inexplicable.
When I am surrounded by people who knew Sean, loved him, and miss him dearly, it is easier for me to keep emotional distance from his absence. Their memories keep him present, and we laugh remembering all that he was to us.
But when I’m alone, that is when it becomes more real. I see his name on my speed dial and realize I can’t call him. I see his name on our wedding guest list and realize he won’t be there. I look at pictures from our Boulder visit this summer and realize it was the last time I saw him, and I will never see him again. One of my happiest memories is now colored with deep sadness.
I have a special waterproof mascara reserved for biopsy days, and I’ve worn it almost every day since Sean’s passing. Slowly, I’ve been able to wean myself off with some certainty I will make it through a day without weeping. Some days I make it, other days I don’t. Breathe in, breathe out.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me. C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
I am thankful for Sean’s friendship and all of the years I got to spend with him. I am thankful for his humor, his intelligence, and his loyalty. I am thankful he called me friend for 14 years and made sure I knew I was valued. I am also thankful he and Andrew got to meet.
Next year will be an even bigger year. Andrew and I will graduate law school in May, take the Bar exam in July, get married in August, and honeymoon in Switzerland! It is going to be a whirlwind, and I cannot wait.