Wednesday, May 17, 2017

They say goldfish have no memory

Grief is a strange beast. Suddenly, Facebook showed me an event, back in Toronto, for queer night at the aquarium. Nel would have loved that. Really and truly loved that. And with no warning, I'm a puddle on the living room floor. Drowning in what-ifs. She's been gone for more than two years now, but sometimes my fingers jump to text her something that would make her smile. What-ifs aren't how historians think, but it's too easy to default, to wonder: what if we could have done something differently? What if she'd found the way to survive? The rational historian brain doesn't help with the sinking sadness that sometimes, even if I can push those doubts aside, I still miss her.

Five years after that spring where so much went wrong, all my fears and feelings are circling around again. It's happened before, and I know what's brought my memories back to this place. I'll leave that part unwritten, because it's not my story. Yet the strength with which the grief and guilt still hurt me - it's a surprise, every time.

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