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Sometimes it aches. Like when I spend time with couple friends and feel lonely. Or when the kids are being awesome, and Adam isn't there to see it.
Sometimes it burns. Like when people ask "how are you" more for their own benefit than for mine. I know they are trying to be compassionate and helpful, but this is not compassion.
My closest and best friends, the ones with whom I actually want to talk about Things and Stuff and Feels, rarely ask. Instead, they wait for me, knowing that when I have something I need to say, I will find them, and they will make themselves available.
Because here's the thing, asking is an implicit command for me to perform my grief, and that is not helpful. I refuse to access my vulnerability on command. I refuse to perform my grief so that someone else can feel more comfortable with theirs.
There's been an uptick in these interactions as the one-year mark approaches, and it pisses me off.
I get it. If you are grieving Adam's death, this week is hard. But I refuse to occupy the hole he left in your life. I refuse to be sucked into your stage of grief, because it's yours, not mine. And I'm not sorry for protecting myself this way.