If I had to pinpoint a moment when my official adult life started, I’d say it was a little more than seven years ago. In August 2008, I moved to a town where I, for the first time ever, didn’t share a zip code with any relative or friend.
Since then, I’ve started and completed a college degree. I’ve worked several jobs. I’ve built relationships with some awesome people whom I love dearly. I’ve started a career. I’ve married a man with a heart of gold and we have a happy baby boy.
From a blank slate, I’ve made a very successful life in this place. I still have my loving family, but life has scattered us in such a way that I do not see them routinely. I’m sure that there are countless others my age who share a similar story.
Now, I’ll rewind a bit further. As ambitious a teenager as I was, I was never planning to start my “grown-up adventure” solo. My very dear friend that had been my co-pilot through years of awkward adolescence and embarassing shenanigans had been accepted to the same university as me. It was the perfect plan. The girl who laced most every memory from elementary school on, would be by my side for our next big adventure. Except, I lost Rosie that spring in a car accident.
Fast forward to present. I still get sad. Sad in ways I had never anticipated. Sad for reasons that I would have never been able to wrap my head around when the wounds were fresh and I was trying to build some semblance of a routine with what felt like my half-self. Nearly a decade later, I no longer feel the gaping void in my day. I don’t reach for the phone to call her, or put my face in clothes she left at my place, hoping for a shadow of her scent. But I do get sad. I get sad that I can’t reminisce with my new friends and family about her. That when I bring up her name, I feel crazy, speaking about an imaginary friend that they have never seen. I rarely go places where we spent time, or see people that we saw, and as a result, I lose her more each year. Things I was certain I’d never forget are getting fuzzy. Some days, she doesn’t even cross my mind. I grieve the loss of details, of inside jokes, of a look, or a sound. I grieve the loss of the grieving. This is a journey that I’m still traveling. And, as life moves forward, I’ll experience more loss. Time heals broken hearts, but the price is a clouded memory and a guilty concience. I have comfort in knowing that we shared a lot of love and a hundred years can never erase that.