A half of a year.
We should be celebrating a milestone today. Instead, I just miss him more than ever.
Such a short time, such a lifetime, such a timeless half of a year this has been.
It feels like recently I have been mourning all the losses that came in the aftermath of losing Otis.
I no longer practice yoga. Find my breath? Why? I don't believe it will do anything to steady my nerves, to calm me, to bring me peace or to help ease my suffering. My heart is not open. It is wrapped in layers of barbed wire and electrical fencing, cinderblock walls built up around it. I don't want it unwrapped, I don't want it out there vulnerable again. (I realize even as I write this that this is not true. I *do* want an open heart, I *do* want to feel the vulnerability of loving something so intensely. But I am so scared. So instead, I cower in corners rather than let my heart be open to the joys (and pains) of this world.)
I no longer go to the animal shelter to volunteer. This was a part of my life that was so important to me prior to Otis's death. I have volunteered there for three years. I continued to go there through my ninth month of pregnancy with Otis; I could no longer walk the big dogs but I would sit and snuggle with the little dogs and the puppies and bathe the little ones and bottle feed the uber-little puppies. I've tried to go back and I just feel lost there. All I see is the desperation and sadness there. I can no longer find hope in being there. I used to feel like I made a difference...that feeling is so gone.
I have lost friendships in these six months. Friendships that were near and dear to me, friendships that I thought could transcend anything. I don't have a lot of energy to put into my friendships right now. I am horribly ashamed of this fact. I don't return phone calls, I don't return emails, for the most part, I don't have room to hear about what's going on in my friends' lives. I am embarrassed to say that this is even more true when it's good news. I am so selfish. I don't want these friendships to wither away, but I am not able to tend to them right now, so I watch as they disappear.
I understand why this is happening. I do. Life goes on, whether we like it or not. In the moments that I feel like my life is going on, I am grateful. In the moments where I actually feel alive and not like a shell of my former self, I am thankful that time is passing and that life is returning towards some semblance of normal. So life is also going on for all of our friends. And we don't really fit into their lives, at least not very well these days.
And yet as I write that, I am mad. There are friends who stood up at Otis's funeral and promised to stand by us, who swore that they understood that we weren't suddenly going to be "fixed" in 4 months, who promised to do the hard work because they knew E and I wouldn't be able to. A friend who spoke at Otis's funeral spoke directly to this fact - that we needed AT LEAST a solid year of support, that we needed them to remember, to show up, to force us out of the house and to remind us again and again how important we are. People came up to me at the funeral or wrote me notes afterwards speaking specifically to this fact, "I will not forget. I will not go away. I will remember and I will be here through it all." And now, 6 months in, they have all but disappeared back into their lives, their regular lives of raising kids and going to work and laughing and dancing and paying taxes and Living. That is not to say that I think our friends don't think of me and E and Otis often, this is not to say that I don't think they care - I just think they don't know what to do or how to do it anymore.
6 months in and I feel so lost, so left behind. I feel like every day that passes I recognize more and more the multiple layers of loss that Otis's death has brought upon my life.
I miss you, sweet baby boy. I wish I could tell you in person how much I love you. I wish I could nuzzle into your neck and kiss you and smell you and whisper and tell you how you are my greatest joy, my greatest gift, my truest love. Instead, I will light candles for you today and tend to your garden and kiss the dogs and kiss your papa and remember you, with every single cell in my body and every single part of me.