I’ve written one of these letters before, but honestly I was drunk when I wrote it and I don’t remember what it said, and I haven’t been able to go back to it yet, because I don’t think I’m ready to face it. Today it’s exactly a year since you died. Everyone always tries to make it sound nicer, they use phrases like ‘passed away,’ and ‘he’s not with us anymore.’ I don’t. I can’t. I just say that you’re dead. It’s the truth. It’s harsh, it’s blunt, and it’s numb. It’s how I feel about it. It’s raw, it hurts. They say the grieving process is supposed to last a year, sometimes I don’t even feel like I’ve started. Sometimes I just feel like I’ve shut it all down. I don’t feel strong enough to deal with it all yet. I don’t feel ready. So I joke about it, I make it funny. Because if I don’t try make it funny I’ll have to deal with the sadness instead.
You know people always do the same thing when you tell them. They always tell you that they’re so sorry to hear it. They tell you that in this really soft, sweet voice. Like somehow that makes it better? Honestly most of the time it just makes me want to punch them in the face. It makes my insides churn. I think they only do it because they don’t know what else to say, they don’t know how to deal with it, maybe it makes them feel better about themselves. I don’t know. I’m sure if you were here you’d agree with how annoying it is. You always hated being pitied, and that’s what it feels like. I don’t want other people’s pity, their apologies that it happened. It doesn’t change anything. It’s not their fault. It doesn’t make me feel better. It just makes me want to drown it all out.
It’s been a year. Most of the time I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, bouncing from one thing to the next. Never stopping, never staying still, never being alone with my thoughts for too long. A lot of the time I just don’t care, I feel like I say that a lot. I don’t care. Right now I feel like I’m floating. I feel like I’m keeping afloat, but I’m not really going anywhere. I’m surviving, I’m getting by, I’m existing. But I’m not living. Some days I just don’t want to function, I sleep as long as possible, then I try to distract myself from reality, until it’s an acceptable time to go back to sleep again. It’s how I’ve started to know when things are getting bad, when I start trying to distract myself from reality again, when I get drunk just to try and feel. Because I want it to hurt, I want to cry, and rage, and get angry. I want to stop feeling so damn numb. I’m not okay, Dad. I know I’m not okay. But I promise I am going to be okay. I’ve taken that very first step. Now all I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how long I’m walking for.