When all the food is eaten and the cards are opened and the obituary is published and the belongings are divided and the shock has worn off and the visitors have come and gone, you’re left with the same problem that all of these distractions can’t touch: The person you loved is gone. Maybe not in spirit, but in body, and you miss them harder without the noise and bustle of everyone else’s grief around you.
I keep thinking I see him out of the corner of my eye. I hear his laugh in someone else’s voice. I have the fleeting thought, “Dad would love this, I should tell him…” before I remember I can’t share it with him.
I’m all too familiar with depression, but this time the source isn’t a chemical ghost haunting my brain. I can’t go to bed with the knowledge that tomorrow will be better, that the glitch in my system will reverse itself with rest.
Instead, I hope for a good day rather than a bad one. I remind myself that it will take time — it’s only been two weeks, after all.
I shower and dress, brush my teeth, and make coffee. I watch comedies and try not to think about how much he’d laugh at them. I browse Facebook and startle when I see his photo pop up in my notifications. I plan an upcoming work trip and tend to sick kids and make shopping lists.
Getting through a loved one’s death is hard, for sure, but living after death is harder. Taking what I’ve learned and using it, rather than wallowing. Trying to move forward, even though I’m not quite ready to stop looking back.
Now comes the hard part.