March 21, 2010


It occurred to me, quite out of nowhere, that at some point, life permitting, my life will be thrown out of balance. In my mid forties I will suddenly wake up and realize that Laura has been dead for more years of my life than she has been alive. I am bothered by this. It unnerves me. Because right now, as I am about to turn twenty-four, Laura's effect on my life can still be accurately quantified. She has been present for all but five or so years of my life. It seems silly to get upset about something that is really only a measurement--a symptom of the much greater grief that is her loss. Once, about a year after that September, I called my parents' house and left a voicemail. I said, Hi parents, it's Carolyn. After I hung up the phone I realized something new. I realized that there was no longer any earthly reason for me to identify myself. They are my parents, and I am the daughter. No confusion. I catch myself sometimes, still about to differentiate myself from a person who doesn't exist. It is unfair, grief. You get a handle on it and you learn to live with a certain level of daily pain, but every once and a while something comes flying forth and shakes you. Reminds you that while you may have learned to live with the knowledge of a death, and no longer wake having forgotten, it is still wrong. It is still not the way things were supposed to be. Your life has been irreparably altered, and no amount of practice makes perfect.

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