This time last year she was already gone. She was still breathing, her heart was still beating (quite frantically actually, I could see the artery in her neck pulsing in an usual way) but she was definitely not with us. I am beginning to focus less and less on the manner of her passing, even though it still sometimes gives me nightmares.
Starting on Tuesday I can no longer say: this time last year she we went out together; we went to such and such an appointment; she bought me something; she made me my coffee. I’ll have lived without her for a whole year and have to realize that it’s going to be like this from now on. Before I realize it, I will endure her ten year death anniversary as I did with my uncle Owen’s this past December.
One could say that the first year is the hardest and in some respects they are right. But that doesn’t mean the years following get “easier”. You still can’t talk to them face to face, you still can’t ask them for advice, they’re not going to waltz into my kitchen to help me rescue a failed roast or a daal puri. And it will always suck the same amount.
I am surprised, though, at how quickly this date came to pass. It really does not feel like a year has passed, and I really had no idea how I would do this. We cleaned out the basement recently and I found an envelope addressed to my college mailbox from her. The two of us wrote each other actual letters even though we were a 15 minute drive apart. It reminded me that I constantly told her that could not live without her, how would I survive college if she wasn’t there to bring me comforting food that was a thousand times better than the dining hall etc. etc.
I guess I’m a little resigned to it all today. I view it as a, it is what it is. I’ll miss her like crazy, randomly when I’m sitting at my desk a thought will occur and I’ll feel like I can’t breathe because I start crying uncontrollably. This is my life now. It used to be that I’d spend hours at DFCI holding her hand during infusions, putting pills in boxes, charting symptoms in a binder. Now this is what I do. I think about her, I remember her fondly and I acknowledge that it just sucks.
Comfort is just not something that will happen for me in this situation. I accept the fact now that yes, she isn’t in agony, but she isn’t in a “better place”. A better place would be if she was still around, happy, healthy, earning her own living, if she had been able to attend my wedding, if I could’ve invited her over for dinner/tea/whatever reason; if she could in the future coach me through childbirth and watch me earn a graduate degree.
So I’ve lived without her for a year, I thought this would be quite impossible and now I must do it year after year. The only thing that’s improved is that I can talk about her with some degree of being able to maintain my composure.
Her sister, her niece, even the lil kid, her other niece who lives half a world away in Australia, I’m sure her brother and his son miss her, my husband wishes he could still have her over since the last time she saw this apartment the paint fumes made her vomit. We all just simply miss her.