I think what hits us the hardest in any type of loss is the emptiness all around us.
The empty desk. The empty locker. The empty car in the driveway. The empty bed. The empty spot on the church pew. The empty chair at the dinner table.
All of the empty spaces that were not willfully given up or vacated.
Over the years I have found that grief hits people differently and in often strange ways. It really does not matter how someone leaves us, because the emptiness gets us all.
People stay with you, you see.
They tag along with you in that small corner of your heart where you keep them tucked away. The place you do not visit often, but when you do, you feel the pain of ten thousand yesterdays all over again. Time is funny that way. Time moves on and you cannot stop it, even though some days you wish for nothing more than a pause button. Time moves on and eventually, you do, too.
Until a certain smell stops you right in your tracks. Or a certain color. A certain sound. A certain word that your ear picks up. Any little thing that forcibly brings you back to that moment. That moment of gut-wrenching pain you felt when you heard the news for the first time. The bile that rose in your throat when you refused to believe the words you were hearing. The sheer chill that engulfed your entire body as you saw the effects the news had on others around you. The first time you smelled their perfume or cologne after they died. You caught the scent in a dream or on a passerby’s shirt and you felt time stand still. You momentarily forgot the past. Sadly, those moments linger for only an instant, so fleeting that it is gone before you know it.
The only possible way of survival is to again tuck them back into that small, dusty corner of your heart. The place you do not visit often, but when you do, the emptiness hits you all over again.