Saturday, May 31, 2014

Empty fury



I'm sure we've all been told that 'anger' is one of the phases of grief (coincidently, Stephanie wrote about these on Thursday). I say 'phases' instead of 'stages' because, in my experience, it’s not a linear process where you graduate from one emotion to the next.  Instead, it’s been a messy, complicated jumble that throws us back and forward, turning us inside and out.

Thankfully, I haven't felt a lot of anger, maybe four or five bursts in the past 10 months. But when it hits, boy oh boy, it's like a tornado has blown in hard and fast.  I’m having one of the anger storms tonight, so thought I’d vent here.

I've never been able to direct the anger at Dan. I wish I could because I imagine it might feel satisfying to blame him for this mess I'm in. But in my heart I know it's not his fault. He didn't take his life to hurt me, he wasn't in the frame of mind to understand he was ending my life too - my life the way I knew it anyway. His final note tells me that he thought he was saving me.  I want to be angry that he got it so wrong but I honestly believe he died from a disease that he just couldn't control.

If anything, when I try to direct the anger at him I end up feeling even more heart-broken because rather than point an accusing finger, I want to protect him. I want to bundle him up in my arms, kiss his sweet, gentle face and sooth him. I want to tell him it's going to be ok, he doesn't need to be scared, we'll work it out together. 

So no, I can't be angry with him. But I'm still furious and looking for somewhere to direct it.

I want to pour blame on Dan's doctor, who I can't help but feel let us down. Or the people he crossed paths with the morning he died  He was distraught, with tears pouring down his face, yet no one stopped him. I want to shake them and say 'why didn’t you ask if he was ok? Why did you fail us!' But I know it's not their fault either. If I didn't see it, and I was the closest person too him, how can I blame others?  I know they suffered from this too.

I want to hurl my anger at those close to me - my family and friends. Those who have done everything possible to help me but needed to make their own lives a priority for a rare moment, triggering my abandonment issues and making me want to shove everyone away. But I know they love me and are hurting to see me like this.  I know it’s not fair to lash out at them.

I want to pound my fists against the idiot at work, or the asshole who gave me attitude at the grocery store. I want to roar like a savage beast at everyone who still has their spouse to come home to at night, to console them after a tough day, cook them a meal or help with the shitty chores that no one wants to do on their own. But I know that wouldn’t be fair either.

I want to run, to burn the fury through physical exertion, but I don't seem to have the energy to pull my shoes on. I want to throw crockery plates at a brick wall. Hear them crash and watch them shatter. But I like my plates and the mess would bother me.

I want to destroy everything good around me, so my surroundings resemble my insides - barren and lonely and dark.

But I just don't have the heart. So I lie here defeated and cry. That primal howling cry that comes from deep within while my body writhes with pain. I scream in to my pillow, 'why!?' and 'please come back!' and 'no, this isn't fair - it's too much! I can't do it' until I fall asleep from exhaustion.

Then, in the morning, head pounding and puffy-eyed I'll get up, take a deep breath and go and do it all again.  One day at a time, one step at a time. Until the anger rolls in again.



Friday, May 30, 2014

Death and Life

There was a moment when life was just life,
 and death was a stranger I knew nothing about.

There was a fragment when weekends were just weekends,
 filled with friends and movies and dinner parties and couples hanging out together.

There was a glimpse when laughter was just laughter,
and not laughter poisoned with pain and loss.

There was a measure when I was planning the wedding for me and my husband,
and not planning my husband's funeral.

Death was something far away and distant and not real,
something that happened to people on t.v. shows,
or in movies.
Other people.
Not me.
Not us.

There was a minute when everything was right,
and then there was a second,
when it wasn't right anymore,
suddenly,
instantly,
forcefully,
at 6:32 in the morning,
on a Wednesday,
when a phone rang and rang and rang,
waiting for me to answer the call that said:
"Pack your bags.
 Your love is gone,
 and you are no longer you."

I'm sorry I don't have anything more uplifting to say tonight. I really am sorry. But sometimes, I just don't. Sometimes, this is all I've got. All I've got is my longing and my begging for the yesterdays and the times when I didn't know anything at all or care about posts such as this one. I look to the sky and I look to the air, and I wonder inside and I miss all the things that never were, and all the things that never will be. But that sky is different to me now, than the sky I knew, before I knew death. I see it's darkness. I see it's light. I see it all. Now.

There will never be a time,
like the time I lived in,
before I knew too much,
about life,
to know
that it's not
just Life.

It is nothing. And everything.
It is the only thing that we have,
for sure.
The only thing that is right now.

I wish I didn't know
so much
about death.
But I do.
I do.
And because I do,
I try to always
Inhale
Life.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grief is.



Most people have heard about the so-called five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - modeled by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. Even then, she clarified that these are not the only emotions felt during the grieving process, nor do they always appear in this order. It is now widely recognized that grief, for any reason - as a result of a death, illness, break-up, etc - is experienced with a wide variety of emotions, depending on the personalities and situations involved.

People were quick to remind me that I shouldn't look for these particular stages of grief after Mike died. And I listened to them. I didn't require anything from myself; I allowed myself to feel what I felt. I was told that everyone grieves differently, and whatever I feel, and whenever I feel it, is ok.

I'm glad for that. But I have to admit that I did, and continue to, experience many of these so-called stages of grief. She wasn't too far off the mark, at least for me, and in fact, reading about them has helped me feel - well, more "normal" for how I've dealt with Mike's death. It's an ongoing process, and I understand it will not be over for a long time - in fact it will never be over on many levels. I will always carry the memory of my marriage to this man in my heart, and I will forever miss his presence in my life.

I will always have those moments when I give a little start at some random thought realizing he's actually dead. I might be at the sink washing dishes and I have some memory of him in the kitchen with me and I stop in shock - no way. He can't really be dead. It's impossible

I get pissed at him for dying. He could have, he should have taken better care of himself. We fought about food constantly; he didn't like western medicine and didn't like taking his meds, or even his supplements really for that matter. He lived life on his own terms, and we were denied many more years with this man we loved because of that. So yes, I am angry at him. Not all the time, but again, in random, unexpected moments, it hits me. Maybe I see someone at the store who looks shockingly unhealthy  - way more than he ever did - and I wonder, how on earth is this person still here, and my Mike isn't? It's not fair.

I do find myself bargaining with my higher power. If I live my life a certain way, will I be guaranteed a long life? Can I be reunited with him after I go? Can I be given some special benefits in this life because he was taken from me so much sooner than I expected? I question my own life so much these days as a result of his death.

I'm not a depressed person by nature, but I work very hard to keep moving forward. I make a point to keep busy, make new friends and figure out what I want for a future - because it's obvious my life is forever changed now, in so many, many ways. But I am still sad a lot of the time. Probably a lot of the people I know don't realize that. I don't really talk about it much with them - most of them, anyway - because it's depressing. And, it's not their job. That's what my grief therapist is for. And maybe a little, strange as it sounds, blogging. It's kinda therapeutic to connect with others - it's both extremely personal, and also very impersonal, posting online. So there's that.

Perhaps surprisingly, I also have a lot of moments of acceptance. As I said - I'm generally a mentally healthy person. I realize the fact of the matter is he is gone and never coming back. I have a choice to live my life and must do so without him now. More and more of my moments now are spent in this frame of mind. 

But not all. 

Nowhere near all.

I have tons of other emotions too. Frustration. Fear. Anxiety. Loneliness. Exasperation. Emptiness.

Also, surprisingly, peace. Love. Enjoyment. Empowerment. Strength.

Wisdom.

I don't have any answers here, or even a concise round-up for this post. I guess, it just is. 

Grief just is. 

He just was. 

And I just am.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Its Only Love. Or Grief. Or Love.

I'm near the end of the first month in the second year since my husband Chuck died.  The nights and the days blend one into the other.  When people ask me how I'm doing, I ask them in return if they want to hear the polite answer or the real answer.  That's pretty polite of me to ask that of them, isn't it?

I've run out of words to describe how much I miss my husband and how little investment I have in this new life I'm necessarily creating without him.

Whatever.

I'd like to cultivate the mind-set of Walter Mitty, that well-known dreamer.  At any given time during the day or night, I wish I could just let my mind wander to a scenario where I can pretend that Chuck is still with me here.  Just drift away on those thoughts....and live there.

At which point I'd likely be locked up in the psych ward and heavily medicated.  Our culture is very unforgiving of zoning out without medicalizing the situation.  I wonder what the medical term is for I'mlonlierthanI'veeverbeeninmylifeEVERandImissmyhusbandsomuchIcan'tstandit?

I'd so love to be in a world where Chuck is alive with me.  The fact that he isn't, that he and I are separated from one another forever, makes my breath catch and my pulse race and my heart pound.  Which is, interestingly enough, the way I'd feel whenever he walked into a room and I'd feel his presence.  Or when he'd put his hand behind my neck and pull me in for a knockmysocksoff kiss.

Being in love and being in grief produces the same physical symptoms?  Now there's a new thought that just popped into my head.  I wonder if any studies have been done about this possible phenomena?

Oh my dear husband, my heart, my lover, my travel buddy, I miss you.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Routine - junior edition

John's new routine chart


I've written before about how my personal routines went out the window after Ian died.

John was only 13 months when Ian got sick, and 16 months when he died. Getting him into a bedtime routine, let alone to going down at a regular time just never got re-established after the initial "everything gone haywire" period.  We both developed bad habits, which now need to be broken.

I've tried a few times to get something resembling a bedtime routine established.  The issue I have is with consistency.  

Those bad days, when you're just exhausted from life AND grief, when there's no one to back you up and tag team with, when you can't keep your own eyes open long enough for 1 round of The Gruffalo, let alone 4 or 5, it's so easy to just revert to bad habits (like letting him fall asleep in front of the TV in my bed).  

The bad days for me just happen too frequently still for any sort of consistency with anything I try and establish. I get a day or two, but then... blerk.

But I need to get something in place.  

For both of us.  

John's closing in on three and a half.  It is well and truly beyond time, and he needs proper sleep for his growth and development.

With potential changes to social security payments looming here in Australia,  I need my evenings free of 'entertaining small person' to get a cleaning/studying habit set in preparation for potentially needing to re-join the workforce earlier than I feel I am ready for.

So I am picking my battles.  No fighting the falling asleep in my bed at this stage, but getting a TV off, teeth, toilet, bed sequence starting at a set time will be achieved.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Three Years

On June 4, it will have been 3 years since Dave died.

On June 5, barring any complications with inspections, I will close on a new house. A sweet little pale yellow 1940s Cape Cod in an incredible neighborhood with a big backyard.

On June 10, I should be all moved in. Deciding to move, finding a home and having my offer accepted in a really tough buyer's market all happened so effortlessly and easily, that from my current vantage, I can't remember exactly how I got from where I was to where I am now. It feels a lot like it did when I sold the house that Dave and I lived in together. I couldn't imagine leaving but then the pieces fell into place and once the move was in motion, it swept me along when I had just enough strength to go with the current and land where it took me.

The significance of the date of the closing and the third anniversary of Dave's death is not lost on me.
The house and the new beginning it offers feels fitting and it feels like a gift. I'm starting to see my future as a wealth of possibilities instead of a dark and lonely unknown.

The move isn't just about finding a new home and saying goodbye to my old place, that cradled me for the last two years, and helped me feel anchored to an uncertain life I hadn't ever expected to be living.
It's also about building a life and a home with my new love. If you had told me, even 6 months ago that I'd be moving into a house with a man, I'd have laughed and told you to fuck off. Not that I had no hope that I'd ever find love again. I wasn't without hope. I just never thought it would come along so fast and fall into place as fluidly as it did.

It hasn't been easy, this giant step of loving and committing again. It's been powerful and redeeming and transformative. But it hasn't been easy giving my heart a chance to feel vulnerable again. The falling in love part was easy and lovely. But committing and imagining a future with someone else has been bumpier. It's been scary and raw. I've wondered how I could possibly feel these things again when it still seems as though Dave was just here. I've doubted my ability to be emotionally available to a partner. I've worried about going through it all over again one day.

I've doubted a lot. And then, miraculously, something happened. It was as if a switch was flipped and I realized that with this person in particular (and maybe with the me I've become now), I could risk. I could fail, and flounder, and doubt and worry and talk about all of that worry and he'd steadfastly hold it all. And I realized that I could also be present with him. I could transcend my own pain and anxiety to be there for him. It wasn't the case any longer that I had nothing to give. I did. I do. I have a lot to give. I am not broken and he mirrors that for me. He loves me. The verb love. He proves to me, over and over again, that I can trust him to make the choice to be committed to our relationship, even when it's not simple or perfect or easy. But, it's better when we're together. Life is better.

So, this chapter has completely surprised me. It's brought me treasures I only imagined. I can genuinely feel Dave's relief and joy at things turning out the way they have. It's beautifully hard holding two relationships in one heart. One that was suddenly, horrifically over but not ever actually over and one that is just beginning. One that endured 15 years and was as familiar as my own skin and one that I'm still learning about. I miss Dave and I love him dearly. I love my boyfriend too. That's a lot of love. One doesn't make the other less than. One doesn't make the other harder to feel. But the growing pains of my heart making space and stretching and exposing itself again have been intense and will continue to be.

I have stayed true to my vow to allow for love again. I knew after what I've been through that there'd be a strong temptation to close up shop and build the defensive walls higher and higher after Dave died. I fought that urge like no one's business. I can't have love and beauty and life without fear and risk.

So, with a ton of excitement and joy and only a little fear, I am leaping into this next adventure. We will be a family of five. Me, my love, his dog and my two cats. And maybe one day some human kids, too, who knows.

Off we go.

The new house





Sunday, May 25, 2014

I am not What Happened to Me

Showing my strength at Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii. 

A week ago, I had a really big moment. It was defined the by a very simple difference in word choice. It was not something anyone else would have noticed or defined as big - unless of course you yourself are widowed perhaps. While at the gym, one of the other girls in class asked if I was married and had kids. And I said - in this effortless, matter-of-fact way - "No, I'm widowed, so the kids thing is pretty much out of the picture for right now". And then I just continued about my workout. Just like that. No big emotional breakdown. No desire to run and hide. No real care for whether or not this other woman was pitying me. It just rolled out naturally. A fact. Plain and simple.

This was a big deal. Something felt really different about it. The more I thought about it, I began to realize what it was. I said "I'm widowed". It's the first time since he died that I have said it that way by default. Every other time I have said "I'm a widow". I AM a widow. It's a small difference in words, but it feels like a huge difference in perspective.

In that moment, I realized that a shift is happening. I'm starting to feel like this is something that happened to me, and not that it IS me. For the past two years, my world has been so completely consumed by his death and by my grief that it's been hard so see myself as anything other than a widow. I hate that. Because I was so many other things in my past life. A rock climber. A kayaker. A skydiver. A lover of hockey. A friend. A sister. A photographer. When he died, suddenly, I was just a widow. I stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed - although not all. And even though I was still a friend and a sister, it's like I was wearing a pair of glasses in which the grief tinted everything and made any other parts of me very hard to see.

But lately, I've poured myself into my photography and writing in a way that I never have before. I've had a different kind of focus and a feeling of purpose about it. It's helped me reclaim that part of who I am. I've added new things too… things that the old me in my old life would have never been gutsy enough to try. In February, I signed up for Crossfit class - a very high-intensity, total body workout that's been a big trend the past few years. I have to explain this by saying that I've never been very physically fit in my life, and Crossfit is definitely something I never in a million years would have imagined I would sign up for. Not only has it been healing to try something I'd have never done before his death, but seeing my body get stronger over time has in turn helped my mind and soul to feel stronger, too. Each day I go to that class, I lift a little more weight, or run a little farther, and that progress in strengthening my body seems to be carrying over to my mind and spirit too.

For the first time since he died, I feel like I am more than just a widow. And don't get me wrong - I am actually damn proud now to call myself a widow. It means I am part of an incredible community of some of the strongest people I've ever known. But you all get it - it's still the club you wish you didn't belong to. And it's still important for us to find other parts of ourselves on this journey so that we can begin to see ourselves as more than just widowed. Rediscovering the other parts of ourselves - or perhaps discovering them for first time - is what helps us to be able to find something about our new life that we can feel proud of and even joyful about. It helps us to embrace the new life, which in turn helps us to better honor the person we will love forever and the life we shared with them.

Photo Note: This is photo taken of me by my best friend just a few days ago at Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. One more thing that I never imagined that I would ever do is visit this place. Upon seeing the Grand Canyon just a few months after Drew died, I decided to visit a canyon every year somehow. This is the third. Both a humbling and empowering place to look out on. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Back to basics

http://www.wordsoverpixels.com/let-it-go/66adfca3b6fb6e6f1cf0b509df47cc1f.html
Source
It still shocks me how totally ignorant I was about the grieving process before having to go through it myself. I've been at this for ten months, as of today, and I still don't really understand it. All I know is one minute I can be laughing at a joke; or smiling at strangers as I walk down the street; or excitedly making plans for a holiday; or wrestling and giggling with my nephews ... and the next minute I can hardly breathe from the pain of missing him.

I honestly can't remember the last day I didn't cry. Sometimes it's only for two minutes, other days it takes two hours before I can pull myself together.  I’m having a lot of those days again lately, which is so exhausting.

I also realized this week I’ve been pretending to be doing better than I actually am, even with really close friends, because I'm aware that if I let show how much I'm constantly hurting, people may grow weary of hearing about it.  I mean, I'm so bored of my grief, of course I expect everyone else is too.  Friends reassure me that they’re not, and I should continue to share and seek support.  And I do, particularly on the really tough days.  But on some level, every day is a difficult day and despite their best intentions, I know that if I constantly moaned to my friends about how sad I am and how much I miss my husband, the running commentary would drive them crazy. 

Last weekend I helped pull off of a surprise 35th birthday party for one of my closest friends and also co-hosted another dear friend’s baby shower.  Both took a huge emotional toll on me. The surprise party was full of couples who, for some reason, kept bloody talking about their engagements and weddings (which lead to me having a private breakdown in the kitchen mid-party), while the baby shower was, not-surprisingly, also very confronting.

By the end of the weekend the emotional hang-over was in full swing and I have struggled to get back on top all week.  Even though I chose to be there, to support people who have been so supportive of me, I think I pushed myself a bit too hard.  I’m finding it so difficult to strike that healthy balance between self-care and continuing to participate with life.

My friends tell me to be open with my emotions and never to feel like I have to be brave in front of them, but can you imagine if I spent both events ‘sharing’ how much I was struggling?  What a party-pooper!  Sometimes I’m just forced to keep the ‘I’m ok’ face on because, as wonderful as my friends are, there are moments where I need to protect them from the pain I’m feeling.  

At ten months I think people may have started to expect me to be doing ‘ok’ more days that not.  Even worse, I’m putting that expectation onto myself, then taking it really badly when I ‘fail’.  I know it hurts them to see me in pain and they miss the ‘old Bec’ but I also know they understand and accept my grief and would do anything to try and help me get through this.  No one is putting pressure on me – I’m putting pressure on myself, but I have to accept there are always going to be moments where I’m just going to have to put that brave face back on. 

So this week I’m going back to basics.  I’m reminded myself that this pain will never fully go away, I'll just get better at carrying it. I need to tune in to my instincts more and identify when I need to rest and when I can push out of my comfort zone.  And I’m going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to understand my grief and conquer it.  After all, how can I expect people around me not to question why I'm not 'coping better' yet if I can't let go of that expectation myself.
  

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nobody Remembers

If you are widowed, and you are reading this, then you know that missing your person and the life you had together is as constant as breathing - it is a new fact in your new life that you didn't ask for, and it's just there, always and forever. The missing of what was never goes away.

But then, above and beyond that missing, is a whole other kind of missing that has nothing to do with missing having a partner or being part of a team or having intimacy or stability or love or family. No. The kind of missing that I am talking about today, is a very specific missing. It is specific to each of you, and totally different for each of you. It is the missing of the elements that made up the person we lost. The tiny and subtle things that made them who they are - the things that perhaps only you know, or the sides to them that only you saw, inside of that beautiful secret that was your relationship. Lately, I have found myself missing these types of things about my one-of-a-kind, never to be duplicated husband, and trying like hell to somehow recreate them in my mind or in my heart or memory. If I close my eyes just right and think about it just right and really focus and concentrate, maybe I can bring back that thing he used to do or those words he used to say. Maybe I can somehow feel them again. And even though this normally doesn't work for me, and I end up feeling nothing except frustration - I keep trying anyway.

But perhaps the only way to bring those pieces to life again, and keep them alive, is to talk about them and write about them and share them with other people. The problem though, is that the list of people I can share this with gets shorter and shorter as time goes on. Don didn't have much family. Both of his parents passed away before he did, and most of his remaining family can best be described as "dysfunctional." (and I'm being kind) He has many friends, and my family loved and loves him like a son, but all of those people have lives and families of their own, and  it's still a bit weird of a thought to strike up a conversation with any of them about the strange Elvis-like crinkle in my husband's crooked smile, or the way he would chase me around the apartment slurping his cereal, because he knew how much I HATE cereal slurpers. These types of things are just a bit too personal to want to share with anyone, except for the people who lived in our home. Anotherwords - me, and my husband.

This is one of the many things that truly sucks about not having the chance to start a family with your person. This is one of the many things that is so unfair and hurtful, about being childless and widowed. I have nobody to look at and say: "Do you remember when Daddy did this?" Nobody is coming home and saying: "Mom, guess what? I saw a guy napping on the train today, and he was lying down with the newspaper over his face, the same way that Dad used to do!"

 I remember being invited to have dinner at my fellow widow friend's house one week. She has two daughters, and when they sat down to eat dinner, the person they lost was there in the room. His presence was everywhere. In their choice of foods, in their words, in their memories, their stories, their laughter, their sharing of things that had happened. My heart was about to fall apart as I sat there, realizing that I don't have that, and that I will never have that. I don't have anyone to come home to and share a meal or cook a meal that reminds us of him, or to say: "Remember when?" with. When I am home, it is just me. Just me. No kids to share the grief or the love or the life with. No kids to be scared with or angry with or insane with, or feel alone and isolated with. No children to look at or watch or hear, and see fragments of my husband in.

Not only is this a very lonely feeling, but it also comes with great responsibility. It is up to me and me alone, as his wife, and as the sole person left on this earth that loved him to the degree that I loved him - to make damn sure that he is never forgotten. It is on my shoulders  and mine alone, that his legacy live on. If I don't do it, there is literally nobody else who will. Sometimes it feels as if I need to shout it from rooftops that our love and our life actually did happen, that we did in fact exist. Because all of the evidence lies inside my heart. My mind. My soul. It's a lot to carry around. I do it with equal amounts terror, and pride.

And when I ask: "Do you remember?", the only person who could possibly answer that, is gone. They are gone. There is no sadder of a feeling than being the only one left who remembers.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

About An Abode



I could lose my house. In fact, I probably will.

For the first few months after Mike died that thought kept me awake at night. It was the single biggest fear I had in that terrible, dark time. I felt like I was choking on grief, and drowning in panic. I could barely breathe when the waves of fear came over me.

I went through every channel I could find to try and keep it. I was constantly calling the banks and talking to different people. I filled out so many forms and applications my head was spinning. I found a wonderful local nonprofit to mediate for me and pestered my attorney with questions and freaked out every time I got some disturbing letter in the mail. I have a stack of paperwork about two feet high from it all and that is no exaggeration.

My conscience did not like living here and not paying the mortgage, but I will be honest with you - my particular situation is so long and twisted, and the banks (yes, Bank of America until they - surprise, surprise - sold the loan in the midst of the process) are so stupid and impersonal and impossible to deal with that I don't even care about that anymore. The left hand NEVER knows what the right hand is doing and I'm tired of it all. So I'm going to live here until I can't anymore and they can go you-know-where. When we finally go to court for the foreclosure; when the banks finally move on that, I will be there to fight it. But if there is no reasonable alternative offered, I will probably just let it go and be at peace with that.

My dear friend and fellow widow Margaret texted me this morning that even though she loves her house, it's no longer a home, just a house, because her Dave's not in it.

I texted back I know exactly what she means. It feels so strange here now.

I've tried to make it my home. My stepdaughters and I went through his things months ago; his bedroom is now my art studio/office. I've moved furniture around and redecorated a little. But this is the house we bought together when we moved to Hawaii in 2001. It was our home for 12 years.

In many ways it will always feel like our home...even though there is no our anymore. I am reminded of him constantly no matter what changes I make. The wall where his poster used to hang. That corner where his bookshelf used to be. The patch of grass he used to walk back and forth to his archery target. His bathroom. Some days those thoughts are comforting; some days I find myself lost in memories, staring at the cupboard where his things used to be stored, remembering. Some days now, that brings a smile.

Other days it is only tears, and I wonder how I will ever find peace and happiness in a new future with all these memories staring me in the face every day.

I don't know what will happen to me, but for the first time I'm ok with that. Don't get me wrong - the thought of moving out makes me extremely sad, and that will be a very difficult day, when it comes, for all the memories I will leave behind. But in the end, I truly do not care if I lose it, because I will just choose to believe that will be the right time for me to take the next step in my own life, whatever that may be.