I felt a lump swell in the base of my throat yesterday.
I instantly knew what it was.
I’ve felt it a couple of times this year already; in the days leading up to my birthday, and Father’s Day, and his birthday.
It’s unmistakable – a sharp bulge, that intensifies the more I try to quash it.
But it remains.
I wonder if it’ll be like this forever.
I suspect it might still be too early to know.
There’s been a lot of ‘firsts’ this year.
First without this, and first without that.
People say it gets easier with the seconds and thirds.
I’m not convinced.
Time passes, time heals. Maybe. But it doesn’t erase.
And I wouldn’t want it to.
So many years of saturated memories; tinsel flooded floorboards, and sunburn, tables overflowing with food, and cherry stained fingertips. Music permeating the walls. Laughter, over the crunch of wrapping paper.
For the most part, this Christmas won’t be all that different from any other.
There’ll just be one person missing.
It’s disconcerting how life ticks along, as though the people who once loomed so large were never there at all.
But of course they were.
I’ve got little interest in popping crackers or faking festivity over small talk with people I’ve no partiality to.
I just want to be around the people I love, that get it.
The ones that you don’t have to explain anything to, because they know.
It’s funny, what, and who, you’re drawn to after loss. The comfort you find in the familiar, the warmth in revisiting old memories, and with it, old feelings.
I like being close to that.
And as far away as possible from the rest of it.
It’s hard to describe – the immense sense of loss, the extensive gaping hole – because it is entirely at odds with – sublime happiness, genuine excitement – and here I am, occupied by all of them, at once.
It is both melancholic, and marvellous. Delicate, and misinterpreted. Complex, and cathartic. Light, and dark.
The lump comes.
But maybe instead of trying to quash it, I’ll just let it linger.
It’s a nice reminder, in some ways.
To stay near the people, and do the things, that feel like light.
Not just for a season.