1. The overwhelming, never-ending, mutually exhausting and comforting influx of text messages, Facebook wall posts, and Facebook messages, stop. Your phone that was constantly blowing up from the day of death until two days later, is silent; excluding the occasional text from your living parent making sure you’re OK/alive, and the group messages about a party this weekend that the creator seemed to think you’d be interested in right now.
2. People, even your closest friends, stop trying to see you. When it first happened, everybody wants to see you. Probably just to hear all the details of the death, maybe feign “being there” for you. Of course, some of these friends (if you’ve surrounded yourself with good ones) are being genuine and worrying about you. Regardless, after the after shock, you make them uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say anymore. Should they bring it up to help you, or would that make you upset? Should they invite you out to get back to normal, or would that be inconsiderate? Altogether they just stop trying – if you really needed them, you’d ask, right? No.
3. Your significant other (if applicable) acts as if it never happened. He fights with you over petty things, giving you anxiety and ruining your day, without knowing you’ve already cried three times today about missing your parent – even though it was a month ago. He asks, “what’s wrong?!” if you’re in a bad mood, and believes you simply must be losing interest in the relationship. Somehow, the fact that your parent was taken from you in one single, unexpected moment on a seemingly perfect summer day, has escaped him.
4. As people begin forgetting about the death, you slip back into your normal life surrounded by people who might not even know you, and you can’t handle that. You want to yell at everyone that your Daddy/Mommy just died. Table 4 that yelled at me today for not bringing them their silverware fast enough, the lady at Table 5 that just complained about the up charge on her side salad. The young kid who just flipped me off for accidentally cutting him off? MY PARENT JUST DIED. You would love to scream it in their face, break down and cry so that they feel horrible, so that finally, just once more, you can have someone crying for you.
5. The parent doesn’t come back. You don’t have dreams of them, they don’t appear as butterflies or birds. You were prepared for the wake, the funeral, and the thank you cards. But once it is all over? The person doesn’t come back. They’re not at their grave, they’re not at their house, and they’re sure as hell not a ghost sitting next to you at all times. Where are they? You will struggle with this one question the most.