Today marks three years since Brandon died. I sat down thinking that I would write something deep and profound, but for the longest time, I’ve just stared at the computer screen. What the heck do I say about the anniversary of the day I came home and stumbled into a new life, a life where Brandon was dead? I’ve watched the calendar for weeks, seeing this day creep closer and closer.
Now I’m sitting here wondering how in the world three years have gone by; I remember so vividly sitting in that dark hole, wishing for the shadows to swallow me up, make me disappear, make that constant pain go away, feeling certain that I would just one day lay down and die from the ache. It’s funny, I can’t remember much from the first six months, but that night, the night I came home and found Brandon dead…that night, I remember so vividly. Every detail, every second. On days like today, it replays like a movie in my mind.
Fast forward to three years later. I have built a completely new life for myself in these years. And I can honestly say that I do feel happiness again. The grief monster still visits and so do the dark days, but they don’t knock on the door as often anymore. I find that my grief looks different now, three years in, from the raw and wounded animal that it used to be early on. It’s still there, but it’s not all consuming or acute; it pulses through my body still, but it has become a part of me, like the rhythm of my heart. I think it will always be a part of me, it’s a visitor that won’t ever leave; but we are not complete strangers anymore, we’re learning to understand each other and to live together in this body.
I sometimes wish certain things were different, like my nonexistent relationship with Brandon’s mom and brother. I wonder if we could have helped each other through these years, I wonder if I’d feel closer to Brandon today if I talked to his brother. They were, after all, very much alike. But none of my silly musings matter; his family made their choice, and that choice didn’t include me. Still, I can’t help but wonder.
Will is a huge piece of this new life, a piece I am thankful for every day. He is a wonderful man; kind, understanding, funny. He gives me the freedom to grieve Brandon however I need to. If I need to talk, he listens. If I need to cry, he holds me. If I need to stay quiet and say nothing, that’s okay too. I don’t know what in the world I did to deserve having him in my life, but whatever it was, I’m thankful. He gives me the strength and wisdom I sometimes lack alone.