Whoever thinks the feeling of dying is a mystery is wrong. Losing someone to death hurts. It feels unfair. I know what it’s like. I’ve died while living. I’ve walked this Universe wondering why the world didn’t notice.
When the person you love is gone, while their soul rests in peace, yours must live on, although it feels like it departed with theirs.
The dull ache in your chest that makes its way to the throat is unbearable. The wound in your chest feels exposed and stings every time they come to mind or when their name is called out. It all just feels weird and unreal knowing that they’re gone.
You think you see them on the street, sitting on the park bench, and you’re just about to shout out their name when you realize it can’t be them. And when you walk past someone on your way home, you notice they look just like them. It’s all so bizarre. All you want to do is pause and stare at them, imagine what it would be like if that were really them. And in just a few seconds, you’ve imagined what it would feel like to hold their hand tighter and kiss them harder.
Sometimes, you might forget that they’re gone. Then suddenly, you think, “That’s insane—they’re really gone.” It feels like a bad dream or a terrible joke. It all feels so wrong. It feels like your heart won’t ever mend. You feel sick to your stomach and paralyzed at the same time.
Knowing that you must keep going, that you still have to go to work, pay the bills, cook, and take care of yourself is nauseating. The only thing that keeps you going is knowing that the person gone doesn’t want you to give up.
The worst part is looking around at other people and wondering how they’re carefree. You question why the world hasn’t stopped, because yours did.
But years later, that pain isn’t intense anymore. Eventually, the storm inside you settles, and you realize the world hasn’t paused. It never does, it never will, so you learn how to breathe again. You learn how to live again. You learn how to sleep, eat, and smile again. You begin to walk again, gradually straightening your hunched back. This time, you live through life a little differently. You begin to look at it with a different lens. What were once big worries to you become little footnotes. What you once didn’t pay attention to, you give a closer look to. It’s like you’re going through a rebirth of some kind.
But unfortunately, the hole in your heart doesn’t go away. Every now and then, you’re reminded of your loss, and for a moment the grief consumes you again—but a little less than it did the first time.