I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day.
The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s not here to see this. Does she even know? She would love this. She should be here. I wish she was here. Nothing is the same. Nothing is how it should be. Yet this is exactly how it is now. If I only focus on this very moment, I don’t have to think about what is. I can just stay right here . . . frozen . . . purposefully not thinking.
Yet, somehow, in the not thinking, the tears still roll down my face. Now bigger tears that come faster. Faster with the reality that I have to breathe. I can’t stay in this frozen moment any longer. Realty is life, and the reality is I don’t know how to live this life, happily, without you.
Yet I am living without you. Every day is my new reality, and it hits me over and over again—it is without you. It is something I have to face. I have to believe it, and I have to make peace with it. Yet, I don’t know how. How do I make peace living my life without you? I have been quietly and gently tiptoeing this past year waiting for it all to be over. For this heart-wrenching sadness to come to an end. I did it. I did it for almost a whole year. That’s long enough. Now I want it to be over.
I want our lives to go back to the way they were before. I want you back. I want us to be happy. I paid the price of love and loss. I know how precious life is. I humbled myself to feel the depth of heartbreak. I’m ready for it to leave. I want peace. I want to exhale. I’m afraid because I can’t imagine feeling peace without you. It seems impossible. You’re not here. I know, I remember.
I remember your voice, your smile, your laughter, your presence. It should comfort me, yet it haunts me. It was all so beautiful . . . so alive. People say “keep her memory alive, don’t forget her.” But that just means she is gone. “Remember the good times . . . ” but the happy memories just lead to the fact that it is all I have left, just the memories, not her. “She wouldn’t want you to live in sadness. She would want you to be happy.” How can I truly be happy without her? It is all just a vicious cycle.
So where does the peace come from now? How does the hurt heal? Where is the pain supposed to go? How do you get back the life you loved living when someone who was such a big part of it is gone?
Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe a year isn’t that long of a price to pay after all. Maybe you don’t purposefully move on. You don’t purposefully exhale. Maybe you’re not really even frozen in this moment of time that you think you have been. Maybe you’re not even supposed to stop the tears when they come. Maybe that all, too, is the price to pay for loving someone so special. Maybe you just go on because she is still right there beside you after all. Maybe, living in a haze, you can’t see what is right there, gently guiding you forward, day by day, sometimes, minute by minute.
Maybe it’s not a conscious decision. Maybe you just keep going and you exhale because in that exhale is knowing and believing she is right there, really seeing it all. Maybe I owe it to her to breathe, to accept, to keep living. Maybe it’s her love that now fills my lungs and gives me what I need to keep living. Maybe living life is now honoring her.
Maybe, after all, it still really is her . . . and if the cost of loving her, having had her here is the pain I will carry for the rest of my life, then I will take that pain, tuck it in my heart, and keep it with me because having her as my sister is worth every shed tear and every heartache because I will forever have the memory of her in my heart to carry with me. Because her memory means she was . . . and she still is . . . and I will keep that with me forever.