Grief after 12 Years

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Yesterday was the twelfth anniversary of Erbie’s death. 12 years have passed without my best friend. His anniversary isn’t a sad day for me anymore. It’s awareness of a hole, for sure, but this awareness isn’t necessarily sad.

Mainly I try to imagine what he’d be like now. Which is very difficult. I, for example, am a very different person now to the one Erbie knew. I wasn’t writing back then, and I didn’t have much time for things related to mental health. Instead, I just obsessed over basketball, just like he did, and tried to fit in as a teenager. If Erbie entered my life right now, I’d hardly be recognisable to him.

And so I wonder what he’d be like. Would he still be playing ball? What would he be doing for work. Would he have a family? Would he be travelling the world? There are so much possibilities, and I imagine these things on his anniversary, which is actually more fun than anything else.

Grief isn’t a sad feeling forever. It changes over time, it becomes this awareness of something missing. It becomes concrete memories of someone lost. And it reminds us every day of the people who are no longer here. But this isn’t always sad. Often, like yesterday, it is a happy experience. It’s an ‘imagine if Erbie was here now’ remark, or the retelling of stories he’s in just because you want to talk about him.

It’s not always sad, living with grief. There are so many negative sentiments tangled in that word. But really, grief describes caring enough about someone to never let their memory die, despite how much time has passed. And that’s quite a lovely thing to be able to do, to be able to feel.

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