Losing someone you love is hard. It is certainly the most painful thing I have ever endured. Agony is the word that come to mind. But over the years I have found that the people generally misunderstand what it is that hurts so much.
For me, watching someone I loved suffer through excruciatingly painful illness was awful, but it wasn't the hardest part.
Cradling him as the light faded from his eyes felt like having by heart torn from my chest and my soul ripped apart by wolves, but even that wasn't the hardest part.
Seeing the fresh patch of dirt over his body that would keep us apart forever felt like warm sunshine compared to what came next, because what came next was and still is the hardest part.
The thing is, in those awful moments of seeing him hurt and watching him die there was pain, so much pain, but it was just the pain of that moment. When he was sick I wasn't thinking of watching him die. When he died I didn't think of how it hurt when he was sick. However, once that immediate pain was over I was able to feel every moment of pain and happiness and love in an overwhelming rush.
The hardest part of losing someone that I love, the part that hurt the most, was the knife being plunged into my chest every moment of every day afterwards when I realised that he was gone. It was the pain of loving him and seeing him suffer and watching him die and kneeling in the dirt of his grave all rolled into one split second of realisation that tore me apart over and over and over again a million times each day.
I was haunted by him and every moment that we shared together. Every place we went punched me in the stomach, and every face that reminded me of him made me smile for a second before it killed me.
New places were just as painful. Every new experience or place was tarnished by the fact that he wasn't there with me. I am still tortured by all the places he should have been and all the things we should have done together.
Then there are all the times I forget for an instant that he is gone. When I wake up in the morning and my mind tricks me into believing that he will be waiting for me where we used to meet. Then I open my eyes and the truth rushes in and the pain of it all leaves me curled in a ball and shivering.
When he died the world became much smaller and much colder. Each day I had to try and live my life while navigating a minefield. Every step risked an explosion that would destroy me, every glance risked seeing something that would kill me all over again.
About a year after he died I thought I was doing better. I felt stronger and more relaxed because I felt that after a year I had set off all the landmines because I had been all the places and seen all the things that were going to hurt me. I could once again walk comfortably through the world. Then I went camping for a week with a bunch of friends and someone got sick with the same illness that had destroyed my life nearly a year previously. In an instant the pain flooded back and I found myself blown to smithereens just when I thought I was safe.
It's been years since the initial loss, but I still feel it every day and although things are definitely better now I still step on the occasional landmine and fall to pieces as all that pain rushes back in on me.
What makes it even harder is that I am often completely alone. No one seems to understand that I am still dealing with the worst part of the whole experience. They think that because he died so long ago I should be starting to feel better, and in some ways that's true, but time means nothing when it comes to pain and loss and love. When I breakdown for no apparent reason, no one wants to hear that it's because of him. Everyone else has moved on so they seem to think I should too.
Sometimes I wish someone else understood what it is like to be fine one moment and then reliving all the best and worst moments of your life in the next. I wish someone could tell me that they too have totally lost it over the most seemingly innocent thing because it brought all the memories crashing back. Sometimes I wish someone would tell me that it's okay to still fall to ruins after seven years. No one seems to understand that it still isn't over for me, and it probably never will be...