Trigger Warning: "Grieving a loved one"
41 days ago, I lost one of my best friends. I can’t believe it’s only been 41 days. It feels like it was just last week and it feels like it’s been years. Grief is so. Beyond. Heavy. There’s no word for it. I truly cannot describe it to anyone who hasn’t felt it. There is such a clear and distinct "before" and "after" in my memory's timeline. I’ve heard countless people talk about how grief changes your life, or how nothing feels the same, and I’ve felt heartbreak before. But grief over the death of a best friend is unutterable. Grief over the sudden and unexpected death of an ineffably beautiful 23 year old woman is impossible to stomach. And it manifests itself in such strange and unexpected ways. The past few weeks, I’ve been so angry. So quick to snap and so short tempered. The weeks before that I was so sad I couldn’t think straight, and that’s beginning to return as I lose energy to be angry. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross broke this phenomenon down into 5 stages but it feels more like an unending roller coaster to me. People who I had hoped would check up on me haven’t, and on the other hand I don’t want anyone to ask me how I’m doing. It’s hard to joke around and a sense of normalcy is unimaginable. I want more time alone than I’ve ever wanted before in my life, and that’s saying something for me. My foundational world beliefs feel as if they’ve been turned upside down, and the worst part is that the only person who I want to talk to about this nauseating situation is the one who isn’t here anymore.
I’m not even really ready to be writing this blog post, but the ground feels like it’s fully vanished from beneath my feet and I have to do something to ground myself or I’ll float away completely.
I’ve started listening to pop punk. It’s really all I’ve listened to for the past 41 days. I’ve never liked it before in my life and somehow it is the perfect salve for what I’m feeling lately, and the only genre as angsty as me.
I’ve started going swimming, almost every day. It’s the only thing that alleviates the depression, even if just for a few moments. It’s so beautifully silent under the water, and nothing matters there and I can just be. I can just float. It’s the only place that I don’t feel like a thousand bricks are sitting on every inch of my body. I had a strange craving for it as soon as I got back home after the two weeks spent at my parents house for the funeral. I couldn’t stop thinking about swimming. I couldn’t stop imagining myself under water, completely weightless and free from this weight, if only for a few moments.
Before I heard the news, I went running almost every day. I’d run and lift weights and do squats and arm workouts, but since hearing it, my energy has been zapped. The reservoir of motivation I have to run isn’t there like it used to be, and most of me sees no joy in bouncing on a treadmill for a few miles that just makes me feel like more weight is pushing down on my shoulders. I’m sure it will come back. I’m sure I’ll crave the running again like I used to, but for now, I’ll be swimming.
I’m not to the point yet where I can write about what a beautiful and sparkling woman she was. I am thinking about it constantly, but it is still much too heartbreaking to try and put into words. I'm not ready to try and sum her essence up like that. Today is not the day that I wake up and see a cloud that reminds me of her and laugh in an endearing way. Today is still the day that I have a whole pile of shit in my brain I haven’t even begun to unravel because I don’t have the slightest clue as to how to wrap my mind around the fact that a very important branch of my family tree has just become detached and fallen to the ground. I’m not to the point where I can “keep her alive” by talking to mutual friends about her, like my free school therapist suggested, because life feels dull and painful knowing I’ll never hear her laugh again and I haven’t reached the action stage of grief yet. I’m in the bury-myself-in-work, busy-myself-constantly stage, and cry-in-the-car-when-I-need-to stage.
I have these intrusive thoughts throughout the day, where I’ll randomly imagine a future event that she won’t be there for. It's anything from my wedding to a dinner party. Tonight I made coconut shrimp curry for dinner and almost threw it up right after because I realized we’d never cook a meal together again. Last week I started sobbing walking home because I started thinking about the fact that I’d never get to show her the lake house I live in.
Maybe this kind of thing is too depressing for this blog. Or maybe it’s my blog and I post whatever I want to on it because that’s the point of it being mine. If this tragedy has taught me anything, it’s that there is absolutely no time to waste on what anyone else thinks, or on the fears holding you back. Not a single moment in life is promised, and she would laugh if she were here to see how cliché the lessons she’s left me with are. She would laugh about a lot of things that happened since she’s been gone, and I’ve done a lot of things in her honor. Every time I do something particularly daring, I declare it’s for her, or that she would want me to do it this way. She was one of the most daring people I’ve ever seen. Unwavering in the mere fact of her existence, she changed the world and was going to change it so much more. I think about you often. You still feel close, but now I can’t reach out and touch you. I have a drawing of a badass city skyline you made for me in junior year hanging over the foot of my bed. I think of you constantly. I miss you more than words will ever be able to express.