The New Normal
Stephanie Wittels Wachs

Thank you for this. It pained me a little to read, but ultimately, I think it helps.

I lost my dear brother in February two years ago. He was kind and funny and loving and he, too, struggled with substance abuse. I got through the days immediately following his death, and his memorial mass, and the service we held at the KFC hall to celebrate his life. I did this on auto-pilot. People expressed condolences, I suppose, but I don’t remember. I just remember the numbness I felt, the disbelief, as if I were living in a bad dream.

It wasn’t until the ceremonies were over, the estate paperwork filed, and the ashes were partially scattered that it hit me. The “sudden apprehension” of even the most mundane tasks paralyzed me. I dreaded driving. I dreaded strangers talking to me. I couldn’t go out with more than one person at a time. If a friend suggested meeting up with others, I backed out of plans.

My apprehension got better, for the most part. And now, though I still cry sometimes, I am able to think about him- his kindness, his self-effacing humor, and his horrible, horrible dancing- and smile, and even laugh. I see him in my new niece’s eyes, and I know that he lives on.