How long will I grieve on these set moments? There are the bursts of tears on random moments, but it’s gotten down to these two times a year when I grieve for real. On D-day, or Death Day as I call it, and on your birthday. You were always a year ahead of me, but I’m now older than you’ll ever be.

A person is not a prize. You can’t earn or win them by being good enough, fast enough, smart enough or special enough. You can’t keep them on the mantle to remind you of how good, fast, smart or special you were. They do not prove your worth.

“J, it’s that easy,” he says, as he dips his razor into the running water. The entire bathroom looks like it’s blushing. Even the sink was pink.

After you died I opened every window of the Advent calendar you insisted we savor day by day, just like your Nana taught you, and ate every single chocolate under each flap in one go. It was the best way I could think to tell you to screw yourself for leaving me here alone.

It was us against everything. Against the adults. The older kids. The younger kids. Against age. Against time. Against not having enough money and not being able to really work for it, but not really wanting to work. Always music and always loud. If we couldn’t change the landscape where we lived, we could change the way it sounded.

Sometimes I feel like wouldn’t Facebook be even better if you and I were the only ones on it, so that when it said I had seven notifications or nine or that I had two unread messages I could just be excited because it couldn’t be anyone but you.

There are bridges I have burned out of necessity. Yours was simply abandoned, left untended for years until weeds grew through it and the railing fell apart and it became something you might take a black-and-white picture of, but you could never cross again.

Where you met and where you went on your first date, and how excited you were in the hours before your first date, and how nervous you were during your first date, and how badly you wanted a second date, even before the first date ended.

Start small, just the ones you can handle: sadness when someone dies in a movie, anger at tech support. Those are the ones that make sense, that go down smooth.


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