When your names are taken off the prayer chain, and the pity has melted out of everyone's eyes, that's when you're supposed to be okay. When you start appearing at things again, regularly, when people stop asking if you're doing alright, that's when you're supposed to be fine.
Because if you need prayer, three months later, if you need to talk three months later, if your heart is broken open and you feel the loss more deeply than you ever imagined you would, even when it happened, it's too late, you're supposed to be recovered. You had your time, and the world has kept going, so you need to catch up. There are other wounds to attend to.
Your family doesn't even ask you how you're doing, but, they didn't actually ask when it happened, anyway. But your breath catches in your chest and your lungs just don't fill up like they used to... like when she stopped breathing she took some of the precious oxygen with her.
Everything is at the verge of falling apart when everyone thinks its finally falling back into place. No, you can't walk up to even your closest friend and tell him, you are broken, and you need someone to watch you fall apart (but not tell anyone else because we're all pretending things are better now). You can't ask, because walking up and telling someone "I'm really, really, deeply sad." means that something is wrong with you, you're not grateful enough, or active enough, or faithful enough. It happened three months ago. You should be better.
Then you spend some time in the town where you both grew, expecting something magical and healthy and healing to happen, but instead the cool breeze breaks the desert night and you wonder what everyone who lives here does at night, and what you used to do at night. You go through the mental rolodex, your friends, moved, moved, moved, married, moved, here- but are we on good terms?, married, moved, then you get to her, you used to arrive late at her house when your nephew was asleep, and you would tell her everything. If she were in town now, you would drive over and tell her how broken your heart is. Then it stops and you remember she is gone.
You text someone, you say "I'm sad.", they reply "I know." and that's it. You can't tell them. No one, NO one, wants to hear, that you are pain. Because we're all in pain, and we're all supposed to understand that no one's is worse than anyone elses. We all lose, we all hurt, even REM said so.
But, my big sister is gone.... and I feel terrible. More terrible than I did when it happened. It's finally waking up inside of me. I had piled everything else in my life on top of the realization that my only sister is dead. She died unexpectedly, and no one knows how.
I find myself driving and wondering if she felt her time winding down. When she laid down for that mid-morning nap, was she aware she would not return from her sleep? Did she feel comfortable as she drifted off into the abyss that causes my stomach to turn over when I try to imagine it?
I need you to talk to me. I need you to ask me how I'm doing. I need you to ask me about my sister, and not just if I know how she died yet... because I don't... and if I did would it matter? She wouldn't be more alive for anyone of us if we knew she died of pneumonia or cancer or a drug overdose.
I need you to ask me, do you need to talk? And I need you to be okay with it when all of this spills out of me, like pus from a putrid infected wound.