After a loss, everything changes.
The air is different. No longer are familiar surroundings the same. That tree is now growing in a world that contains a vacant spot that wasn’t there just days before.
Tears stream down faces that are typically smiling, happy to see you again.
Relationships change. Cousins who see only each other once a year now hug with a ferocity and strength that you’ve never felt before. Voices that you have never heard say the words “I love you” speak these words to you over and over and over again. You hang onto these affirmations as if they had healing powers.
Old photos take on a different light. You love them now for different reasons; the people in them are no longer within arms’ reach, and the photos are the closest thing to them besides your own memories.
You come home to a house that you have filled with love and warmth, and it seems cold in places that weren’t before. It feels off.
Soon, the warmth and comfort will be back. The memories will help, and so will the mundane. When this load of wash is finished, when those pictures go back into the album, when the last excuse for absence is turned into the teacher – the everyday will smooth the rough, eventually.
Life will go back to normal.
Or a semblance of what that was.