So many times, over the last 651 days, I have said or thought some version of:
"I wish I could go back to the way things were before".
The Before Times.
Lord, there was so much I didn't know then. There is so much I wish I didn't know now.
I am not the same person I was before and I am honestly not supposed to be.
It didn't occur to me until recently, that I'm also grieving this person I was supposed to get to be.
And there's so much y'all. It seems stupid and frivolous and navel gazing to say it, but there are just so many things that I was going to do.
Not just things I said I was going to do, because that's not who I am as a human. In the Before Times if I said I was going to do something I would do it or I would try to do it until blood came out of my eyeballs.
Now? I can't even count the failures I have had in the last 651 days. Endless failing. So many times I cringe thinking about it. Small failures again and again, when I couldn't do things like eat dinner or lift my head off my pillow, and big failures that I am too ashamed to even write about.
I don't like failing. No one does, I guess, but I especially don't like failing because I forgot how to function as a human being. I don't like to fail because grief is so deep and wide and cavernous sometimes that I forget entire days of my life, that I look up and realize suddenly I'm home and have no idea how I got here, that I have to sometimes just sit in the bathtub, motionless and empty because simply getting through the day is so exhausting I can't do anything else.
I fail sometimes because I can't keep the tears from coming. I feel powerless. I feel lonely and lost and weak and it's all, sometimes, just so awful.
Sometimes I'm fine, and that's also extremely disconcerting, because I catch myself feeling okay and then immediately wonder how I can be? How can I be okay when I have a void this great? How can I be okay when you are not, when you never could be? How can I be okay when there is a constant, aching, unending hurt in my soul? How are you ever okay without the one person who talked you through, who was on your side, who was your one friend in the midst of all the chaos?
I don't know.
I think sometimes about how we were supposed to get old. I am still getting old, but my brother is not and this year on my birthday when I was older than he ever lived to be, it nearly made my brain explode. It's not right for me to be older than my big brother and that makes me feel unsettled in ways I can't really explain.
I think about his children growing older, and how grateful I am to have them in my life. I feel responsible for them, even though they are adults and don't need or ask me to be responsible. I don't know how our relationship will change and it scares me. There was so much after my brother died. So many things I wish I could do over. So many mistakes. I worry every day that I didn't do enough for them and I know I did things wrong. I would give anything to undo any hurt I did, and I would give even more anything to have never been in that position in the first place.
I think about the little, stupid things too. How I was going to do a Spartan race and now I still can't do an unassisted pull-up. How it was FINALLY going to be my year to win the big award at work, and I got "meets expectations" on my review. I wasn't going to let my dog run my life and my dog? She runs so much of my life. So, so much.
The book I was writing, the funny, silly, irreverent novel, has been replaced with a largely unfinished, plodding litany of pain and grief and loss that should likely never be consumed by anyone, anywhere.
My finances, my body, my marriage, my friendships...every nuance, every flaw, every imperfection was planned and organized and I was going to fix every bit of it. None of it, not one bit of it, is fixed.
I am not the same person I was before and I can't be ever again.
I do wonder, though. I wonder about and grieve who I could have been.