Yes, I know. The blog’s been rather quiet lately. (Again.) The last time I wrote here was the end of April, over two months ago. Life has been very busy and full of some very wonderful things that I cannot wait to tell you about, but the constant struggle of grief (and trying to accept this new reality and world without my sister in it) has also be there to accompany it all. Today is July 12th and in two days, the seven-month anniversary (it feels wrong to use a word like that, which is usually applied to days of celebration) of her death will be here. June 20th marked the one-year anniversary of her diagnosis. Despite how crazy it sounds, there are still moments of nearly every day when I almost forget that she’s gone for like, a tiny, blissful second (until the realization that she’s gone forever slams into me all over again).
People keep saying that it gets better and I know this is true because I’ve gone through this sort of thing already once in my life. (My father died when I was seven.) But right now, it feels like things just keep getting harder. I don’t know why – maybe it’s just a part of grief. Maybe it’s because all the “work” that had to be done is done and now it feels like the only thing left to do is actually deal with the fact that she’s gone and try not to fall into the huge hole left in the world by her death. She’s not here to be taken care of anymore. There are no schedules to manage or bills to pay, no more appointments to drive her to, now more news to share with friends and family members, and no more final arrangements to make. Her house has been cleaned out and taken over by the mortgage company. And the school year that was completely defined by my sister’s illness and death (and my own struggle to just get through it and hopefully not mess up a year of my students’ education too much) is done.
All of those things gave me very clear and focused purposes. Now, I feel like I’m in the aftermath of some natural disaster that came in and destroyed everything and it’s the part where all of the initial support has slowed down and those most negatively affected are left to pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding on their own. This feeling is a hard one to admit and is not at all deserved, since the people in my life have been absolutely amazing and have continued to give me love and support. But at some point, it suddenly felt like I was on my own to finish dealing with my grief, even though there are others (like my mom, my other family members, and Laurel’s closest friends and her boyfriend) still walking their own ways along this same fucked up path. I can’t explain it; it doesn’t make any sense at all. It just is how it feels right now.
There is something I read about online called “grief brain” – the basic idea of it is that your brain is so consumed by all the feelings of loss, sadness, anger, confusion, loneliness, etc. that make up grief that it has little (or no) room for anything else. I can add my own experiences as evidence that this is a very real thing. Parts of my life that felt so natural and easy before, like teaching my students, taking care of my own health, and keeping up my end of my relationships with friends and family members, have felt felt so hard for the past year. And things requiring creativity and clear thoughts (like writing) have proven to be damn near impossible. Each time that I’ve sat down with my laptop to write new posts, I’ve stared at the screen and struggled to find a place to start.
So, I decided to start here, with an honest explanation of what’s going on in my brain and heart and why it’s been so hard to write here lately. Obviously, this website doesn’t have to be a priority in my life right now. But the thing is, I very much want it to be a part of my life. I was really (really) excited when I first created it and I really want to try to help it grow into something awesome. I’ve wanted to write a blog like this for years and I’m not giving up on it. So, thanks for your kindness and patience. It really does mean more than I could ever write in this box.
All my love,