I was not empowered when you left. So many people were inspired by you and it was great. They did so much, raised funds, travelled the world, changed lives around them -theirs and others- and all because of you. They filled a void so positively, expressed their love so bravely.
But I was not empowered when you died. Maybe because I was inspired every day you lived. Maybe because I also knew your struggle and your fears. I was your confidant. There was inevitable humanity in your ‘heroic’ figure. I much preferred to know you like that. Naked of stoicism and bravely flawed. I mean you were such a pain at times…but I still loved your company.
So when you died I shattered, dried and I was wounded. And in the mornings I was trapped in devastating ‘groundhog days’. Your death played on repeat. As eyelids opened I’d realize again, you’d gone- stab of reality.
Some of what happened soon after you died is clear and crisp and I remember. And much is blurred. Some is erased and conversations, visits, memories just slipped me. I only realize just now. This has upset some people and made some others angry. I did not mean to.
Some people held me up. Others just dropped their grief on me, even if they were really distant. I guess it’s fair to say they could not cope, but at the time it drained and even made me angry. Some of them are no longer in my life. I wish them well.
At first I was just numb, to cope with the unbearable. I walked a lot in loops, right foot first and then the left, and each step soothed mind, heart, and body. I cried mainly alone. I broke down at times, for random reasons seemingly. It’s all just tangled up in there sometimes.
I also celebrated violently. My friend’s wedding, my thirtieth, life, people who love me, and my flesh. I moved a lot, and did one hundred things at once. Physical, mental fireworks lit up my sky. To feel alive. To shun the dark.
Sometimes I just seemed calm, almost sedated. I grabbed onto routine and work. At times I stayed at home for days. I looked, I watched, I read a lot. I thought and wrote and pondered.
Sometimes all of this happened interchangeably, sprinkled with despair. But also it was just my normal life.
Some people judged me because they could not understand. How could I dance so much, how could I even smile, why did I break down over that, why did I work so much, why did I not come out, why did I talk about it, why did I not? I get it. They all meant well I think. I can’t pretend to understand all people too, so fair enough.
It did get better. As I came out of different layers of numb, as nerves awoke the pain got sharper. I also felt alight. Almost like seeing dawn the first time.
There was a moment when I thought of you and then I laughed and smiled- and suddenly it was much better. And I no longer feared I will forget you. There is a little YOU engraved on life for good.
I am happy. At times I feel confused and wondering what next for me. You know… usual shenanigans of people.
But all is good. I have love too. So there’s no need to worry about me.
For our bereavement, past, present and future.