New.

by Amy

I haven’t had too much to say lately. I have had a rough holiday season. I couldn’t wait to take the tree down and move on from Christmas, and Christmas music, and lights, and the word Christmas.

An old friend of mine passed away on Christmas Eve, and I heard the news on Christmas day. Since then, and, honestly, since June, because I knew this was coming, I have cried a lot.

I met Anthony when we were just kids, barely out of high school. On some level, I feel like I still am a kid, because when I looked at his obituary in the paper and I saw the number 35 after his name, I just couldn’t read past it. Too young. We are too young to die and to lose dear friends like this.

His calling hours were two weeks ago, and I remember feeling embarrassed because I could not will myself to stop crying. The moment I composed myself, tears would just start welling up again. I had to sit and drink some water after hugging Anthony’s family and other friends. And then I just had to leave. I had to walk home and I was already almost out of energy.

Grief is so strange. I don’t have much experience with it. Most of the important people in my life who have passed away so far died when I was a small kid, ten or younger. I don’t really remember what happened “after.” After: sitting on the couch, crying, walking from room to room, staring at the floor, wondering if there is any way on earth I will make it to or through the funeral the next day.

It was snowing hard on the morning of Anthony’s funeral. It had been snowing for a while, and because it was early on a Saturday, the roads weren’t really plowed yet, and I spun and slid my way across town in the Camry, nearly getting stuck twice while I was driving up the hill to the church.

I can’t talk about the funeral here. All I can say is that when I got out the most beautiful snow was falling. The huge puffy snow, the snow that makes everything seem so quiet and still, the snow that looks like a painting came to life right here outside this old stone church. And I cried, and cried, and cried, and all I could say was, “It’s so beautiful out here.”

When I got home, I didn’t know what to do. That was it, that was my closure, that was the societal door that closes that says “now you have mourned.” But I still wasn’t OK. I just turned to my husband and said, “I just don’t know what I am supposed to do now.”

He suggested that we take a walk. In the deep, crazy, still-falling snow. We did, and we stayed out for almost two hours. We ate Chinese food, and cupcakes, and when my husband asked what my goal for eating was that day,  I said that I didn’t have one. My only goal that day was to make it to the next day. And it seemed like, every 5 minutes, a Dodge Ram drove past us. Anthony drove the mother of all Dodge Rams, and every time we met up for a walk this past summer, I would just shake my head in amazement at how bad-ass that truck was.

I still see Dodge Rams everywhere I go, two weeks later. I am not sure if there has been a recent proliferation of them in the area, or if my subconscious is just more aware of their existence. Sometimes I joke that Anthony is pestering me not to forget him (as if I ever could).

Yesterday was a hard day, a sad day, and as I drove east on the highway just before 5 pm, I just blurted out, “I miss you.” In that instant I checked my rear-view mirror, which was completely filled with a hot pink sunset just under a huge layer of clouds, a beautiful sunset like I have not seen in some time.

I take signs when I get them. I steal comfort from Dodge Rams and sunsets. I don’t know what else to do.

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