Homecoming Part 2: Remembering.

Remembering. I miss her. This morning I actually rolled over and went to send her a text. It's been 8 months: somedays my heart understands and sometimes it has to be reminded once again of the whole disgusting tragedy. Being here, walking through and around the stage that our friendship was played out upon makes the hole all the more noticeable. My most vivid memories of her are in the summer months, so now that the air is once again warm and fragrant her absence seems even more incongruous. I found a bunch of messages with flight details on last night - I'd completely forgotten about our American road-trip. We were going to church-hop across the states, ending up in L.A to attend Mosaic. We were going to drive a Lorelai-inspired jeep, by college hoodies and take super hot photos of ourselves on a californian beach.

I know I can still do these things. Her death doesn't restrict or limit my experiences, nor does it limit the person I can become, but I know that when I stand on that beach with my toes all grainy with sand, I'll be sad. I'll want her there with me. I will feel bitter. It will seem so unfair not to share that moment with her. I still can't believe she's gone. I'm still waiting on a text,still anticipating her laugh, still expecting her to walk through my door any minute. The cycles/stages of grief are so no linear, they're like a big knot or a spirally doodle: confusing, frustrating and unexpected.

Yet one thing I have noticed about grief, is how it can bring communities closer together. I look at us, Annie's friends, and how we value our friendships so much more: we belong to each other. When she died our world's were shaken and a hole was shovelled into our lives and our friendship group, but instead of falling into it, we reach across it. When one of us is slipping over the edge, we hold on tighter, we send more texts, make more calls, hop on trains and pray harder. There is a quiet understanding, a silent yet reassuring acknowledgement of our shared pain whenever we come together. But with this shared anguish, there is also a shared hope for our faith tells us that we will see her again. What a day that will be. What a glorious, beautiful day that will be.

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