Dear Andrew, Month 4

My dearest Andrew,

Today marks the 4 month anniversary of the day this world lost you. As I sit here trying to create a piece worthy of your life, I realize how short I will fall. Even still I cannot begin to think of the numerous ways you touched my life, my soul, my heart, without bursting into tears. Just today on the radio was a song that flooded my eyes and as the tears ran down my face I sat in disbelief that you are gone.

When we met over 5 years ago, I had no idea the direction life was going to take. Little did I know that you would become my best friend, my confidante, my motivator, my love. When you sent me that first text, I was like a silly school girl. Giggly, nervous, excited. I still was to the very last day 16 months later. You brought honesty to my life, youth to my soul, you retaught my heart how to love without expectation and condition. I hope you knew this.

I spent a week looking at your pictures, not sleeping, not eating unless being force fed, sobbing every few hours. My brain screamed for logic of this loss, my heart screamed for you to tell me this horrible event was a nightmare and I would wake up to see you grinning at me. I waited for my phone to ring, for your texts to resume and save me from the grief that was enveloping me.

Since you have been gone, so many things have happened. I moved into my new place. Truth be told, my church moved me, I was too numb. In too much shock to think, breath, or brush my teeth. When I went back to work, I had to face the people that knew both of us, yet knew nothing about us. You would be so proud of how well we had kept it from them. There were moments when I felt like a sideshow act. People that knew who I was, but didn’t know me would walk by to see how I was handling this. Other people never said a word. But everyone knew. They were shocked by losing such a sweet, funny, amazing co-worker, they were shocked we were together, they were shocked I was there when you left us. So was I.

I lost my son two days after I lost you. His behavior had reached a new milestone, one you were there to see. I had to finalize the heartbreaking process afterwards. I couldn’t believe that in 2 days, my world had imploded. I can’t think of one event without thinking of the other. I ache for both of you. But I know he is here, breathing, living while you are not.

I have learned many things about myself since you passed. I have learned that I am worthy of respect. I have learned that sometimes the filter I had glued to my mouth is best put aside. I have learned that it’s ok for me to still ache, yearn and hurt from losing you. I have found that crying in the car or at work to a song that reminds me of you is perfectly fine. Even more, it’s normal. I no longer care if the world loves Matilda. Right now, I love very little. I love the people that hug me day after day, the people that brought me food after my surgery, I love the people that listen to me say your name or tell a story about us countless times, I love the people that have touched me in ways they don’t even know about. I don’t love my clothes, my possessions, my jobs, my place. I have learned to only love people.

I have also learned numerous things about others. They don’t all have the capacity to love like I do. This isn’t a flaw, it’s in their wiring. It’s not my job to fix them, my job is to love them anyway. Most people cannot handle grief, in themselves or others, especially a deep heart and soul grief. Many people change the subject. Many pass over it. Many people just ignore me. I can’t lie and say these reactions don’t impact me. These are people that I had thought would never leave my side. But the truth is, I just make them uncomfortable. Their discomfort does not create a whole heart in my chest or heal my broken spirit. So we live side by side in an awkward silence filled with superficial conversations. Maybe even real and personal conversations, as long as they are not about you. I have also learned that it is ok to create boundaries for people that are too toxic. I can still love them but it must be done from afar.

So here I am. 4 months later. 25 pounds lost.  A good night’s sleep a distant friend I last saw 5 months ago. I haven’t washed the jeans I was wearing that night. They still have your blood on them. I can’t throw away the piece of tape you put on my thumb that night to save my nail from breaking off. Your picture is my phone wallpaper and several are taped to my walls, even in my walk in closet. I am lonely all the time. Even when I am surrounded or laughing with my friends. See, the adage that time heals all wounds is a misnomer. What happens with time is the ability to push aside the urges to cry all the time. At some point it did feel as if I had cried every last tear out of my body. They returned. But it becomes easier to hold them in. The overwhelming sadness underlies every other emotion that may cross my face. People see me smile, they think I am fine. They don’t see me lying in bed every night unable to sleep, crying into my pillow, begging God to rewind time and bring you back to me. He has yet to answer this prayer. I am beginning to think He won’t.

I still love you with all of my heart. I miss you every second of every day. I don’t know how long this thing called grieving will continue or if it will linger on forever. I don’t mind it too much. If I can’t have you here with me, I need you close by in my heart and mind and on the wall of my closet. I pray you are having fun in heaven. I know I will see you again one day. In the meantime, don’t be disappointed in me for crying over you. The impact you left in my world was deep and true.

Until we meet again, all my love,

Matilda

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