Nine Months Later

I always miss you. It’s not something that ever really leaves my mind either, it’s always there.

Whether I’m having fun, watching a movie, reading a book, writing a story, spending time with friends, having a serious conversation. It never leaves. It is always there, reminding me that I love you and miss you.

At first it was right there in the center of my chest, a heavy weight that seemed as if it would never leave. A burden that grew with each passing day until it felt as if the only way to bear it was to ignore it and press forward.

And then it went down into my stomach and it ached and ached and ached. It still hasn’t left, and I think that’s where it will stay. I’d never understood that grief was so debilitating and so intense. I understand now.

I’ve slowly gotten used to it though. I can rest more. I don’t cry as much. When I think about you though, I feel the pain again and the weight grows. It gets worse and worse until I feel as if I can’t take it and I remind myself to be strong and to persevere.

I hate it when everything hits me when I’m in public, or when I’m with my friends or those that I care about. I don’t want to cry around them all, I don’t want to be sobbing or to try to talk. I don’t know why, it’s just like that. It is especially bad when I see someone that reminds me of you, or I glimpse someone at such an angle that I momentarily mistake them to be you. Those small moments of hope are the ones that break my heart all over again.

It really hurts to see your face, or watch your smile and your goofy grin when you dance across a screen. It reminds me of everything that you are and everything that we are missing without you. I know its selfish, but how else are you supposed to feel? Is there a guidebook for how to deal with pain, or a manual that says do this, this, and that, and everything will be fine?

I get mad when people talk about you in hushed whispers or get a serious face and act sorry when they talk to me about you. Those feelings from the first few weeks rush back and I sometimes wonder if other people can see those feelings inside me, or if I’m good enough at hiding it to keep them hidden.

When someone mentions death or jokes about dying and then glances at me out of the corner of their eye to see if they said something wrong or if I’m offended, I never know what to do. Usually I joke right back at them. I know you would do that.

I still get sad a lot. I guess when you miss someone, there is always going to be that sadness. Things may grow easier to talk about and to bear, but that sadness and longing never goes away.

I get really scared of how much I forget about you. Sometimes a memory hits me. Like when we sat in my car after church the day that Joshua was born, and we just cried and cried because we were so happy. Or when you’d hug me and tell me I was the best older brother in the world, and use a very fake voice to try and accentuate what you said.

It has been weird getting used to a world where you aren’t. Getting used to a place where everything feels wrong does something to you. It changes you and it makes you think differently. How exactly, I don’t know. I just know that before May 21st, I was a different person.

Getting back to the states was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I still don’t know how I went from a life of being fully integrated into China, to being sucked back to American culture and English and dealing with grief and sadness in less than a day.

I only know that right now I’m missing you, and it’s never going to be easy to miss someone as cool as you.

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