I know this sounds woefully predictable, but has it really been two years and three months since she died?
I really don't know how to face this time thing, the way life keeps marching forward, how the number of days between her death and my current reality seem to pile on top of one another like steps, allowing me to climb over the mountain of grief that enveloped me for so long. Is this really how the universe heals the brokenhearted? Just give it some time?
Perhaps. If I could offer myself one piece of advice, in the months after she died, I'd tell myself that enough time might go by that it will stop hurting so badly. Hang in there. That's it.
A picture of her sits on the mantle in my bedroom. It's her and her ashes and some rocks we have collected from the river where most of her ashes were spread. I see her every day, eyes closed, dead. I used to kiss her twice daily, press my lips against the glass, eyes closed in unison, begging her to be alive. I used to desperately wish I could hold her for just one more minute and then dream about how I'd study her face and kiss her hands and how I'd hold her naked body against my bare chest and soak in every ounce of her being. If I said anything to her in those moments, I would say I'm sorry. A million times on repeat, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry for what happened to you.
I see her now, observing our lives from her perch on the mantle. She is a part of me in a way she wasn't before. Somehow her death has become commonplace within my inner circle. Natural, even. My firstborn and I talk about her casually, almost every single day. Like she is just another kid in the family. If I say anything to Margot these days, it's usually an unguarded, hey darling. She has made her way into our routines, conversations, experiences, without as much burden, without as much heartache.
Sometimes I think about the night she died and the way my friends surrounded me. And I think that's fucking life right there. That's what it means to be human. I lay in anguish and confusion and fear and my best friends are rubbing my back and holding me and weeping uncontrollably. I can still hear their cries. I can almost hardly bear the profound beauty of this moment, the tenderness. I am not the same person I was before she died. I am broken in a way that will always be broken. But I'm also, somehow, inexplicably more whole because of experiences like the one on the very first night.
I feel brave, for what it's worth. And wickedly vulnerable.
Right Where I Am: 2011
Right Where I Am: 2012