In the summer of 2001, I spent months doing research for a project on grief. I read every single book in the Faulkner County Library on losing a person. After months of sheer work, I was an expert on the subject matter. I knew what it felt like to lose someone. I could anticipate every feeling. Grief couldn’t shock me.
For the last year I’ve discovered how wrong I was.
Not that I think the books were wrong. Far from it. All the information was accurate. Intellectually I was prepared. But emotionally? Not a chance. Emotionally I was all but completely crippled by the last year. I have cried buckets of tears. I have been shattered by the last year. But time did start to heal things.
That was until the one year anniversary his and I broke again. I’ve spent much of the last month unable to stop crying. I’ve bawled my eyes out, not as much as last year, but definitely a lot. I’ve struggled to rebound. I just feel such rage and I’ve struggled to understand why.
After all, nothing has changed. Things haven’t exactly gotten worse. I’ve had some bad hops but I’ve had some good too. A move aside, my life isn’t that different. Amanda is still my life force after all. Why should I feel loss anew?
Logically, the permanence of a year makes the anniversary make sense. A year is a long enough moment to know there won’t be a wakeup moment. This definitively happened. August 25 will hurt every year until one year where I realize it doesn’t and it hurts again because I realize that.
And of course the fundamental cause of the grief won’t heal. I’ve been separated from my friend for longer but I could always get in touch with her. I can’t now. I can never talk to her again. I can never watch another movie with her. Never is permanent. This will always be in my soul.
But there’s the deeper frustration. It sounds silly but I wanted to think that after one year, I would have some sense that things were better. The sad truth is my social life hasn’t healed. I’ve never had very many friends and losing one, especially one as dear as her, it hurts.
It sounds farcical but the truth is I’ve felt very lonely in the last year. My weekends feel so much more silent until Amanda gets off when I’m not recording. I don’t have as many options to call people up and hang out. And I miss that. I’ve drifted away from a number of my still living friends and crossing this moment where I honor one who isn’t, it hits me that I have drifted.
This happens inevitably. We grow up. We grow away. And that’s ok. It happens. Much of this stems from my own evolution. I don’t go to karaoke every Tuesday anymore and while I might miss it at times, I certainly prefer being with the love of my life on those nights. It’s a better life undeniably.
But I do grieve the friendships lost to both time and death. I grieve that those connections are gone. I mourn that my conversations, that drug I thrive on, are no longer with those people. I remember them.
And, as a beacon in the night, I speak to say this: none of you are forgotten. All are loved.