Stupid day. I hate it. It comes with all this pressure. I don’t know how to feel. Nothing feels right. For the last four years, I’ve just happened to be out of the country on this day. It’s easier when I’m half a world away. What am I supposed to do? Do I stay busy or is that too numbing? If I stay home is it too isolating? What if I don’t feel anything? Does that make me a bad sister? If I’m too sad does it mean I’m focusing too much on the negative? How do I talk about it? About him? What do I tell people without being “that girl”? What if I feel something one minute but not the next? How do I this? For the love of God can someone please tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do with my hands?
Four years seems long but everyone tells me it’s not. I know it isn’t, but God the past four years have felt like a lifetime. Life with Ethan seems like a mirage most of the time. Every time I try and grasp it, poof, its vanished. I know that’s my brain’s way of keeping me at a safe distance from the pain and I’m usually very grateful for it.
Today, I long for it. My chest aches with the desire have a tangible memory. One I can hold on to. That is as alive as I am.
But that feels cruel. Because that’s not what I want. I want him. I want him here. I want him in my wedding. I want to call him and hear his voice. I want to be angry in that special way that an older sister can be angry. I want him to refuse to move from the couch to let me sit down, leaving me no choice but to sit on him, exaggerating my annoyance, knowing full well we aren’t really angry. I want to find out about his life. “Any girls?” I’d ask, knowing it kind of annoyed him but he secretly loved it. I want the car rides between Mom’s and Dad’s house on a holiday to feel less empty. I want the three of us back together, knowing it’s us against the world. I want the loving way he so freely added the four others into our three. Making it the 7 of us against the world. I want to see the way he chases his dreams. Cry with him through failure and celebrate each success. I want to convince him to move to Raleigh and enjoy getting to be real life friends with your siblings (I mean, it probably wouldn’t have happened but hey, let me have it today). God, I just want things to be normal. I hate that Ethan now feels like a topic of conversation and not a person. I want him back. His whole person.
My chest feels like it is going to be crushed and explode at the same time. How do you feel feelings that big? One that is so big your brain overflows into your body and turns your stomach into knots. What’s the point in it anyway, knowing that this feeling changes nothing. It adds more pain. More longing. I can miss him all I want but that doesn’t change what happened.
Grief is a weird animal.
My only solace has been found in knowing God has felt all these things. It has been in reading story after story throughout the bible about God feeling grieved or angry or in despair. His own longing to be reunited with his people. I’m grateful to know my God is not patting me on the back telling me He will fix it, “there, there, little one.” He does not tell me “I needed him more up here” or any other trite comment to distance himself from the messiness of grief.
Instead, He is my steadfast Father. He is attuned to and containing my emotions. He does not belittle my hurt but grieves with me. He holds my body, limp from crying, and tells me it hurts and that each tear that falls from my eyes is justified simply by its presence, not forcing me to explain why I am crying. He knows and feels my pain. He reassures me that I am not crazy.
So that’s it. Today sucks. It’s hard in waves. There’s a little bit of hope, but it doesn’t change the pain. I spent the morning making cookies at work, cried a bunch, and will spend the evening selling luxury yoga pants. All the while continuing to feel that awkward kind of wrong. Like when you’re someone is taking a picture of just you. You don’t have the first clue as to what you’re supposed to do be doing with your hands but you’re certain it’s not the strange thing you’re doing now.
but whatever. I’m fine.