Somehow, four weeks have gone by. The only proof that time is not standing still is that Tyler has put on two pounds and looks more like an infant than the newborn he was at the start of the New Year. Without my babies’ growth as a benchmark for the passage of time, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between today and yesterday.

We are all making it through each day. We are sleeping, breathing, eating, smiling. We are even dappling in living a bit. But that’s when it hits. The sudden reminder that Stephanie is gone. And it hurts in a way I can’t describe. It’s like a sledgehammer. Hard, fast, heavy, leaving my head pounding and body crippled by the blow. Like a wave. Crashing over me, knocking me off my feet, throwing me around under the water until I can’t tell which way is up.  But a sledgehammer leaves a bruise, while this is an invisible blow from the inside. And a wave can be seen growing on the water, while this comes on without a tidal warning…

Death by its very nature marks an end. It finishes life. Forever. I can tell myself this a million times and yet the finality of it is still unfathomable. In this life as I know it, I will never see my littlest sister again. I will never have the chance to hug her, my nose tickled by her curly colorful hair. I will never step on the back deck to see her practicing new hoop tricks in her underwear. I will never say something to bring on her trademark laugh. That deep chortle that, except for its’ authenticity, was completely unsuited to her petite adorable self. 

I can’t believe, if I called her, she wouldn’t answer. Not because she’d lost her phone, again. Not because she missed the call, per usual. But because she’s not there. And never will be in the way she was a month ago.

I don’t know when I’ll come to understand this concept of “never”. I’m not sure that I ever want to. For now, I’ll keep looking for life in the midst of missing Steph. The waves will come. The sledgehammer will strike. But I’ll try not to be consumed by the never-ness of it all. I’ll try to align my living with her memory, instead of living around it.