I recently read an article about how the loss of a parent changes you. How you can't be who you used to be anymore and how the relationships you have with others will be forever changed.
I don't know. I've never lost a parent.
It makes sense to me though.
I don't know how it feels to lose a parent. I've had a miscarriage (more than one) and that was awful. Just horrible. Terribly painful and life-changing. I don't think it equates to losing a child that you've loved and lived with for many years though. I don't know. I hope I never find out.
I only know how it feels to lose a brother.
It might sound crazy when I say this, but honestly? One of the hard things about losing a brother is I honestly didn't know how I would manage my relationships with anyone else, ever again.
I know that sounds silly and I know I can't make this make sense.
Death is a gutting feeling. It feels like everything you understood is suddenly, irrevocably broken. I learned a lot of really painful, difficult things about my brother after he died. I realized a lot of things he'd lied to me about. I started to wonder what was actually real. I started to wonder if anything was actually real.
That fear still haunts me some nights. When I can't sleep and I stare at the wall, trying to work out how everything went so wrong. How could all your love and friendship and sanity and grace just disappear in a moment? How could my brother, my precious brother, be suddenly and forever gone? How could any of this be real?
There is a finality to this loss. A suddenness. The world completely stops spinning for you and it just never starts again. It spins for everyone else but you. You are just left, grasping. Trying to hang on to your unsure footing. Trying to understand. Trying to make sense of it all...of any of it. Alone in a void that you can't even articulate much less comprehend.
The love, though. That is the worst of it all.
When someone dies it hurts. When someone takes their own life, it's as though a bomb has gone off and you can never contain the debris.
The unanswered questions. The unending, forever whys. The love, all the damn love, with no place left to go.
It feels scary to love. Reckless. Ridiculous. It can all be taken away in two seconds, so why bother?
There was no way I could know.
I didn't know when I fell in love with Jason where we'd be today. I met him in 1999 and I gave the relationship a 50/50 chance of lasting a year.
We just keep climbing these mountains. We just keep loving without fear. We just keep hanging on. And on. And on.
Reckless and ridiculous and sometimes so, so scary.
Take my hand and keep it in yours.
We'll keep hanging on.
This is real.
This is real.
This is real.