12 Days In

*trigger warning: grief, death and violence *

Dana,

It’s been 12 days since you left us. I’m not sure what time is like on the other side, where you are. Is it fluid? Linear? Is it counted in beats of a heart, or in the whisper of a star? Or is it not counted, is it simply felt, through the song of the universe?

I close my eyes and I can see you. All the ‘you’s that have been there in the past month. Sitting next to you on your bench swing and laughing, talking. Feeling the deliciously bright joy of just hanging out with you, my best friend, my favorite person*. Nothing ever made me  happier than being with you, Dana. I know you know that, because you have always known me so well.

I think of the you that I saw in the hospital over 3 weeks. With your eyes closed the entire time, you were in another place. One that I hoped was a healing one. I held your hand and even though your eyes were closed and you were not talking, it made me so happy to just feel your heart beat in your palm, know that you were with me, know that you were alive, there was hope.

meriah-nichols-1-2I think of the you that we all held as your heart stopped and your last breath was silently taken. Your beautiful face in repose, your body so broken. I knew then that you had fought to live, that it was simply a fight that for once, you could not win.

I think of you, my brother.

My only brother, half of my heart, my rock. The person I have always counted on to be there for me, and who always was.

I couldn’t sleep the other night. Hour after hour passed, all I could think of was the doctor talking about your shattered bones and the infections that had spread through your marrow. The bullet holes in your flesh. Every bit of them an insult to love, to justice, to what you deserve. Every bit of them a wound to the hearts of those that are connected to you.

I don’t want to think about it; I can’t help but think of it.

***

I went for a walk yesterday, Dana.

I walked on and on and on through our hills, beyond familiar slopes.

I was listening to music and sometimes something would come on that made me happy and I’d dance, crazy lady in the trees. I noticed that when I was happy and dancing, I could feel you clearly, and see your bright self in my mind’s eye with ease. And when I wasn’t, I couldn’t.

When I am numb and shrouded with this grief, I can’t connect with you. I can’t see you, I can’t feel you, it’s this grey-ness that simply consumes.

I know I need my brother still. I can’t imagine my life without you; it is incomprehensible.

The only thing that I can think to do is to rise to where I feel you best in this time and space. I need to try and get to that point of happy, that place of stillness. I need to be in that space in which I can sense you best, and feel you with me still.

It’s really hard, Dana.

It’s hard because while I know that I need to get to a place of stillness and happiness in order to connect with you, my mind wanders back to your shattered body, to your extinguished light. My mind goes back to your children, so full of grief. And Mom.

Dana, Mom.

meriah-nichols-1-4

It makes me want to shake you, scream: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????

How could you get shot and die with Mom having just lost Grandma and Grandpa? How could you do that to your kids? To me? With so much unresolved, not done, in disarray???!!

HOW COULD YOU DO THIS???

But you didn’t do it, did you. It wasn’t yours to decide.

I’ll still kick your ass when I die though.

***

God, but I miss you.

meriah

_____

*(that I’m not married, born, or given birth to)

PS

Anyone reading this who knew Dana? Please visit Dana in Our Hearts. Share your story too. If you need help uploading, holla.

Meriah
Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.
Meriah

@meriahnichols

#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
A comprehensive collection of resources for new parents of children with Down syndrome - https://t.co/WfzGfpmWm6 - 2 days ago
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