It’s that time of year. Again.
The time of year when I look like a normal person who’s functioning effectively in the world but really just being violently held hostage by tiny movies that are playing on repeat inside of my head. Flashes of moments. Falling to the ground on the phone with the detective. Not being able to walk through the door at the funeral. Collapsing into my husband’s chest in the bathroom, sobbing, unable to hold myself up, feeling like the weight of my sadness would pull us both down forever.
The time of year when my temper and tolerance and patience is short and sharp because I’m gripped by an insurmountable tension that locks up my shoulders and makes my muscles ache and grinds down the surfaces of my teeth. I feel a generalized buzzing throughout my body like I’m some shitty break room in an old office building with flickering fluorescent lighting.
The time of year when I have a direct pipeline to all the tears in the universe. They are channeled directly into my eyes and pour out of me at all hours of the day, in all places, in front of whomever and without warning.
You see, the thing about grief is that it’s never fucking over. It just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on forever.
There’s no escape. There’s only weeks when it’s easier to forget about it because you’ve successfully distracted yourself with mountains of tasks and jobs and commitments and obligations and projects and petty shit that you’ve heaped onto your plate over the last two years since losing your only brother. The more you have to do, the less you have to feel. You’re not afraid of your feelings. You felt all of them wildly and exclusively for 365 days and then a flip switched and the next stage was to change everything about your life suddenly and dramatically without looking back.
The best part about having your heart ripped out of your body and put back in disfigured is that you give significantly less fucks about pretty much everything you did when your heart was in tact — when everything was fine and you didn’t even know it.
And yet, the worse it gets, the more Buddha on the Mountain you become. Because you don’t have the bandwidth to care about anything that doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s strangely refreshing.
If I fail, fine. If something doesn’t go as planned, fine. This is just what I expect now. It’s no longer a surprise. It’s just what it is to be alive.
Today, Harris has been gone two years. It feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago all at the same time.
In his absence — as wrong as it feels — my life has continued.
And when his yahrzeit candle burns out on Monday morning, I will be 36 years old. I’ll blow out pink and purple candles and let my daughter serenade me with the Happy Birthday song because she loves that song, and I love her.
But I won’t feel much like celebrating. The hours and minutes will tick by until the next tomorrow, and I’ll come out on the other side another year older in the shadow of the day my brother stopped aging forever.
Today, we’ll eat Chili’s nachos and the chocolatey-bottom parts of Drumsticks. We’ll go see the Batman Lego movie and eat popcorn and Twizzlers because this is what he would have done, and since he’s not here to do these things, we’ll continue to do them for him.
In his absence, we’ll continue to love him.