The pain of your absence has been heavy lately, but that is to be expected after a prolonged period of joy (hence the break in the journal weeks). I find it’s impossible to write when I’m feeling genuine happiness. I guess the most powerful literature comes from raw pain (if you can even call these emotion-driven rambles literature.) The pain has not been the all-encompassing and ubiquitous torture it has been in the past but has become a lighter load that only gets heavy enough to acknowledge every now and then.

The grief monster lets me deny him, sometimes. Other times, he demands to be seen and entertained for a while. His pressure for entertainment reminds me of all the times you’d throw my phone across the room to have my undivided attention. You two really know how to press my buttons. I only entertain the monster behind closed doors when I can cry in private, as I’ll never be the person to break down and demand comfort publically. Ironically, I like the pain that comes with him. I like having the grief monster around, every now and then. He reminds me that I have you to miss. He reminds me of the good times we shared. He reminds me of the love I have for you. He reminds me that you were once here and that I need to live in your honor. I want to feel his presence because he connects me to you. 

Your final autopsy was printed last week. Of course, it came out during the biggest week of the St. Andrews social calendar. We had no class and events all day every day. I had to turn away the pain and choose to be happy each morning, as I knew you wouldn’t want any trivial information on your death to impend on my ability to enjoy some of the last moments I’ll get to cause debauchery in this Scottish town I’ll soon leave behind. The pain of this new information was put on hold because it could be, because I know it will always be there. These priceless times with my friends won’t be. Nonetheless, the grief monster has been knocking and the lull in social requirements proves a sound time to let him in. 

Your final death certificate was printed suffocation next to the cause of death. We are still not satisfied with this claim but have come to terms with the fact that you are gone and, for one reason or another, you aren’t coming back. I wish I could see the reason why but I have faith that someday I’ll understand. It probably won’t be until you can tell me yourself. That’s okay. The additional pain of heartbreak from he-who-shall-not-be-named-anymore is a not so pleasant addition to my grief. Our breakup was for the best, but I still despise him for making my pain worse in my time of utter weakness. I do appreciate the self-reflection and growth that came along with it. There is something inside me telling me that everything will be okay and that all of this hardship is improving me as a person along the way.

It’s a constant hole in my heart, missing you. That hole is never to be filled. That hole is my space for you, your new home and the place where the best aspects of me will forever be rooted. My heart is still broken but it is beating. It is beating with joy and gratefulness. It’s growing stronger as it mends itself. I’m proud to be doing this on my own. I am not all on my own. I have our family, I have your friends who have become mine, and I have my own family of friends who have all surrounded me with unwavering love. 

I recently have come to realize that grief and heartbreak are the most beautiful kinds of pain. The presence of grief and heartbreak mean that you once had love that filled their space. The deeper you hurt, the deeper you once loved. And holy shit, do I love you a lot. Fucking hell, it hurts so badly to think of how deeply I love you. You were my favorite person in the world. Now, you’re my favorite person out of it. These conditions, heartbreak and grief, destroy a person. They cloud you with confusion. They change everything you know. They break you down completely. Since they are absolutely destructive, they require growth. Like a phoenix, you have to rise from the ashes and develop a new sense of self all on your own. You must build yourself up on your own. This is essential. Filling these holes with other people is like trying to fix a leak with duct tape: It just puts off an issue you’ll have to face later. Heartbreak is beautiful, once you’re finally strong enough to realize. I am finally strong enough to realize. This grief will never end because my love for you is forever. Relationship heartbreak is just a delightful side platter I didn’t order but got served anyway. I’ll pay the check and be done with it, eventually. The pain of losing Nico will fade away but, for now, it at least shows me that love was once true. My grief will exist as long as my love for you does. Forever. I am okay with that. What is life without pain? A life without growth. A life without love. And that would fucking suck. 

Love is something I have been focusing on a lot lately. Not the kind of romantic love that makes your heart skip a beat or forms butterflies in your stomach but an appreciative love for people and their unique individuality. Inspired by you, I let the people I love know how much they mean to me. I tell them often, in various fashions. I send letters to our loved ones. I call whenever I can. I am a vicious phone zombie nowadays because I want to know how my loved ones are, what they’re up to, how they’re feeling and why. I gift books or flowers just to brighten someone’s day. I verbally express my appreciation to people in a way I never have before. I actively try to bring light into any situation I am in. My darkness is saved for times when I can fall apart on my own.

Losing you has shown me that life could end at any moment and, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to leave behind a trail of light and love in my absence. Just like you have. The pain I have been feeling lately is always met with appreciation and a will to go on and persevere through whatever is thrown my way. Thank you for guiding me through this process. Thank you for being you and, even in death, showing me how to be me. I like the person I’m growing into in your absence. You make me so proud to look up to. I hope I make you proud to look down upon.