TW: This post contains discussions around intense grief.
I went back to work this week. For the first time in two months. At first, it was a bittersweet feelings. I’ve missed my colleagues; I’ve craved more structure in my life. Yet, at the same time, I wasn’t ready to put summer behind me.
You would have understood that. We probably would have talked about it Monday afternoon. You might have even called me when I was on my way to work.
But you didn’t. You couldn’t.
I was fine. Holding it together like cheap school clue clinging to the pieces of a shattered, priceless vase. The mask was in place. Today, I wasn’t going to cry.
Then, my best work-friend, my partner-in-crime, asked that dreaded question.
“How are you?”
She knew. She could see past the porcelain designs, past the carefully painted serenity and hand-crafted pottery. I swallowed. Hard. And said, “A little better.”
And that was partially true! I wasn’t lying.
I am a little better. I’m a little bit better at pretending everything’s normal. I’m a little bit better at covering up the hurricane inside my stomach and chest, and I’m a little bit better at swimming through the tsunami-ridden seas of nightmares and guilt. I’m a little bit better.
But I’m also a little more.
A little more sad because everyday that passes is one that you aren’t here with me. With us. And I don’t know how to deal with that because I miss you so much that it hurts to even talk about. It hurts to face the sun rising on a day you can’t check on me.
A little more mad because you didn’t have near enough time with us. You loved me for 25 years of my life, and thats NOT enough. It’s not enough. I feel cheated because we were supposed to have so much more time left. You weren’t supposed to leave us. Don’t take this wrong; I’m not mad at you. You tried so, so hard to stay. It’s not your fault. I know that, but I’m just so angry.
And I’m a little more regretful because when you needed me, I wasn’t there. When you knew it was your time, I was at home. In my soft, warm bed. Sleeping. She told me that you asked for me. I’m sorry that I didn’t know you wanted me there. I’m sorry that I was so selfish and went home that night. I should have been there. You’ll never know how many nights I’ve been kept awake by crippling guilt knowing I. Wasn’t. There. I never got to say I loved you one more time. Never got to say a real goodbye. Never got to hug you. So many things I didn’t do one more time.
I’m a little more happy, though, too. Happy that you aren’t in pain. You aren’t suffering with this sinking ship of a world. You’re not unhappy anymore. Up there where you are, you’re driving lap around a pearly city with someone in the passenger seat. You’ve probably for your arm hanging out the driver’s side window– if cars are even a thing in Heaven. I like to think they are. And even if they aren’t, you have to be happy up there. That’s my beacon of comfort, my little candle light in this shadowy corner that I inhabit most days.
I miss you a little more each and every day. “It’s going to get easier,” they say. “It won’t be so hard as time passes.” But I don’t want time to pass in a world YOU don’t exist in.
Is there a happy medium? I genuinely do not know. Maybe I’ll find it.
But in the meantime, I’ll just be a little more.