I woke up thinking of Becky and Fran today. A general missing them turned into reliving the horrors of what April 13 must have been like for them. How they went to bed not knowing it would be the last time. How Becky (thankfully) never woke up. How Fran was faced with a choice, and chose to walk into the smoke blinded by the hope of saving her daughter. How I woke up to numerous text messages and missed calls, and how I returned that call to my mother knowing that nothing good was waiting on the other end of the line. I remembered how I went to the conference I was supposed to attend that day anyway, because I didn’t know what else to do. How I remember nothing from that day, except telling my coworker what had happened, and then sitting by the fire in the hotel reading news reports and facebook posts. It was a long morning.
Eventually though I came to realize how foreign this feeling of the pain was for me now. How in traveling this path of grief, distance has given me a pleasant numbness so that when I think of Fran and Becky I mostly only think of the good memories. I miss them still, of course, but not in the same guttural way I did in the beginning. Time does not heal all wounds, but it does soften the blow a little.
It was with some sadness that I came upon this realization though. I remember that first year wanting so badly to go back to that first day. Somehow knowing that I can’t change what happened, it seemed better to live in that first day, where nobody believed it, where nobody comprehended what had happened. I remember getting through that first year, the anxiety over every holiday, over every family vacation, the sadness in the knowledge that two someones were missing and would be forever. This second year has been different, and for that I am grateful. I no longer wish to go back to that day, although in a minute I would go back to the day before. I feel the pain still, but it comes in small, soft waves, the kinds that lap on your feet as the tide recedes instead of the kinds that knock you over. It’s different too because having walked this far down the road, I know that God has not abandoned me, even when times were unbelievably tough. I knew that He would not on the morning of the 13th, but there were some dark days in there when I feared that He had. In the way that only time can show, I know that truth now in a different and more real way. It’s not the way I would have chosen to learn that lesson, but in the midst of the grief, I am grateful that I have.