I suppose the problem is that hit me harder than I thought. The funeral, those days sleeping on my nan's sofa, that was by far the hardest. But I suppose I thought it would get easier.
Sneaky feeling, sadness. The way it lurks, the way it hides, most of all how it persists. Far better a smack in the face, a bruise I can see. This has been the emotional equivalent of several broken bones, but at least a plaster cast would have come with a removal date.
I feel... old. Because every year is the same.
Summer is when everything is light. The heat gets into things and sends them skyward; thunderstorms to make you clean again. You forget everything in the summer, until it seems like there's nothing but barbecues and pub gardens to even remember. Festivals and the real resolutions.
Autumn, and the buying of the autumn jacket, the flimsy little thing that you use to pretend that you are still warm. Perhaps in leaf red or khaki, with flowers in the cuffs. Maybe a belt. November makes you cold but there's heat in the fireworks still. Autumn you can stand.
But winter is when people die. Those five anniversaries of family, acquaintances and friends swing by like traffic that hits you harder every time you try to get up.
So spring is when you grieve, until the flowers come out and that little gasp of surprise at the first hot day, when summer's back and you're too pissed to care.
Then autumn brings a sense of foreboding.
And I wonder if this is how it's always going to be, with the deaths. Will I spend my whole life in that moment of stomach plunge, the words that you should brace yourself because there's bad news.
It always seems like bad news.
So that's where I've been this term. That's what I've been doing. Shrinking, and shrinking some more, getting some grief done, some downright worry.
I won't pretend that I feel better because of some resolve inside myself, some healing underneath. I feel better because the sun's coming out in the least metaphorical sense - the seasons are changing and I have time to pass.