I finally realize what that dumb grief-centered phrase, “the new normal,” means.
This week you’ll have been gone 27-years. I’m about to turn 40 which means that you would be turning 35 this year. You are part of our family history at this point. We’ll never forget you, we can’t, but so much has happened between 1992 and 2019 that I have begun to wrestle with the fact that you were only 7-years of my story. Georgia is 7-years old. Right now, she is as much of my story as you were…are…well that’s a revelation I’m not sure I like.
I feel like the expanse of time is discrediting the loss. When I say I graduated high school in 1997 that feels like eons ago. I graduated from college in 2001, that was 18-years ago. Why does time feel so short when it’s happening and then 20-years slip by? When I say I lost my brother in 1992 does it carry the same weight as 2002? I feel like it gets cheapened, lessened, negated.
Andrew and I, 1980’s
How many memories have I forgotten? How many characteristics of your personality have slipped past my mind only to peek through in my daughters? Do I even recognize the similarities? So many of my memories surrounding the accident, and immediately after, seem dark with a spotlight highlighting moments. Some things are as clear as if it was a picture, other parts are patchy and I can’t tell if they were a dream or reality. Are my memories getting darker? Will they fade completely?
I don’t know the last time I dreamt of you. That always creates a connection. I’m sorry I was such a pain-in-the-butt big sister. I admit it, I tried to make you mad so you’d get in trouble. I see my girls doing the same thing to each other. I’m on to their games, and now I realize our parents were on to us too.
I know you were here. I know you are in heaven looking down. I know you’re watching my girls right now and laughing at the dancing and gymnastics they are doing in the living room. (I can’t laugh, they are so serious about it. I wonder what this looks like in their heads, I’m pretty sure it looks very different than reality.)
Andrew, scientist age 6
One of my constant regrets, if that’s the right word, is that you never met Matt. If you had met Matt, I feel like the pieces would fall into place and you guys would’ve been best friends. I feel so bad for him this time of year. He wants to help but isn’t sure how. It’s like me and comic books. I want to get into that world but I don’t understand it. You would’ve. You would’ve loved comic books. I bet Dr. Strange would’ve been your favorite. Or maybe Wolverine? Hulk? Thor? Spider-man, definitely Spider-man.
Anyway, what a rambling blog. The thing is, even 27-years later, I’m discovering things about grief, and losing you in particular, that I never knew or dealt with. After 27-years, I guess this is actually the “new normal.” I really hate that phrase. I misunderstood its application to me until just this moment. My new normal: discovering new layers of grief with every milestone. That is the new normal.