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Grief has altered who I am. I’ve become a master of avoidance. I avoid places, people, music, memories. I avoid thinking, feeling and talking.  It’s like a cruel game of emotional dodgeball. The memories fly at me at speed & i am permanently ducking & diving to avoid feeling them for fear of the pain hitting me as hard as it did in those first few weeks & months.  Because those first few weeks and months I wasn’t sure I could survive the grief – yet here I am almost 8 months post losing you, still alive.

But I’m lying to myself permanently. Some place inside me doesn’t believe you are gone. Sometimes I get this pang of disbelief, like…’no…it can’t be true. It can’t be.’ Still after all this time, some part of my brain still hasn’t comprehended that you’ve left. And you chose to leave. You opted out despite everything you had to live for. 

‘I just can’t beat the illness’ you wrote. In the book, in the church. You said you were sorry & you would try. But behind closed doors, both emotionally & literally – you planned your escape from this life & those demons that tortured you and made you believe you weren’t good enough to stay alive.

I read somewhere that when a limb is amputated you can still feel it. It’s called ‘phantom sensation’.  It can last months after the loss of the limb.  I think it’s a good analogy of grieving sudden loss. That is how I feel. I still feel the same sensations as before. I can walk into a room & the lighting is just so, a smell, a shadow… and bang, you’re there. Or the phantom sensation is there at least. I could almost allow myself to believe that you could call me…that my phone will ring & it will be you. Or my door will open & you will walk in & nothing has changed. I’d put my arms around you & you’d put your arms around me….and the world would right itself again.

I want to be ready to move on but something holds me back. Everyone thinks I’ve moved on, I give a good show. But it’s all pretend. At night I sleep in your t-shirt. I don’t feel like my relationship status has changed. Nor will it ever. And in a way I accept that? Because nobody could be you? Nobody would give me the butterflies like you, nobody would be my friend like you. I can’t envision being who I was before with anyone else. I liked who I was with you. I loved our relationship. I loved the gigs, nights in by the fire. Family nights. Camping. Rock music. My hand on your leg in the car. Your solid body next to me in bed. Sharing a bath. Cooking you meals. The feeling of being joined by heart to somebody. 

I love you. And nobody & nothing can change that. You were my someone significant – and I doubt in a million years I could be lucky enough to recover & meet someone while I’m still young enough to have a life. 

But even typing this, I’m numb. You’d think I’d be crying writing these things but I’m not.  In a parallel life somewhere you’re still here, still with me – and life goes on. That parallel life walks beside me like a shadow. The should’ve, would’ve, could’ve sensation. The part of my heart & brain that still believes we could’ve made it & imagines that life instead of this empty one I live now. Too frightened of the future to believe something good could happen. Too frightened of the past to remember with a smile. Too frightened of the here & now to do anything other than exist like some kind of robot programmed to survive extreme conditions. 

Will life begin again? Or is it really over. Can the emotional self die years before the physical self? 

This seems to be what’s happened here. 

Still your girl, always.

Caroline ❤

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