At first, you shake. A lot. At least, I did. I could barely scroll through my phone to find his number. And call him. Twice. Because along with that shaking is the utter disbelief that the person you love so much is gone. Then, with realization, comes the scream. It's the scream that you hope they can hear... but no one else. I don't want anyone else to see that I just broke into a million pieces. Who wants people to actually see their hurt? You think to yourself, "If I scream his name loud enough, he will hear... he will come back". You cry. Uncontrollably. It doesn't matter how many arms are holding you. None of them are the ones you want. And you think at that point that no arms will ever matter again.
The next few days, weeks even, bring you no sleep. Many a night spent face down in the prayer room, calling out to the Lord to hear and comfort you. You feel guilty when you laugh... which isn't a whole lot. You think no one understands. You get angry easily, and feel bad about it. You read through every text, or instant message,listen to that last voicemail. Once.... well.. twice.. okay.. all the time. It's almost funny how much you look at their FB... just in case you missed some secret message saying he is actually just hiding out- he always said you two would run away and move to Croatia... he just got a headstart. You think about it, and laugh, which makes you cry some more. Everything reminds you of him... or her. You have songs that you listen to on repeat. And you cry.
I think at some point, you realize that you can't continue on like this, but you don't know how to stop hurting. You know that you have to stop purposefully reminding yourself of them or else you will never be able to go on with life. But you don't want to lose their memory: how they brushed your tears away, the sound of their voice.
There is an emptiness that just doesn't seem to be filled. You wake up, and it's there, like a rooster that wont stop crowing. You can tell it to shut up, but it mocks you and crows louder. Sometimes, you forget. You wake up from a dream and expect a wake up text. And you feel the pain all over again as soon as that rooster opens its darned mouth.
A week after Chris passed, I wrote his name in the sand. As the tide came in, it washed it out and I did absolutely everything I could to not scream. To not throw myself in and beg that the ocean tide took me away. Almost every day for a month brought a moment like that for me.
But you start school again, you get into a routine. You cry a little less. You write letters to friends to say how much you love them. You write letters to the one you lost in hopes that they can read it. You ride a jetski by yourself for the first time, and when you feel like you're flying, you squeal a joyful "Thank you!" to the one who taught you to fly without fear. You laugh with a bit less guilt, but it's still hard to not cry afterward. You continue to think of them daily, but at least it's getting a little easier.
And then, after almost three months, you realize that you haven't searched for that last text conversation in a week or two. You watch Pride & Prejudice and don't want to throw a pillow at the screen. You let yourself notice the cute guy who is showing you attention. You laugh a deep, rich laugh that doesn't turn into a sob. Slowly, your ratio of bad days to good gets less and less. And you know in your soul that you are not betraying anyone for it. You find yourself more thankful for life than you've ever been before. Thankful for the precious, sweet time with the one you lost and thankful that the Lord is helping you.
And you realize that you're moving on. You don't love them any less. And sure, there are days that grab you or memories that take you by surprise and it's almost hard to stand. And though you never want to lose those memories or the feeling you had when he held you, you know that you don't have to hold on to them so tightly. They will always be there. You look around at the changing season, and take a deep breath of fresh autumn air.
You're breathing, you're smiling, you're finally alive.