I don’t know how to describe these last few weeks. Ji finally finished uni like a boss and now she’s entering the proper adult world – going to interviews, packing up her uni housing and figuring out where she’ll live – thank goodness IKEA has just opened up in Canberra.
As for me? I found out on the third of November my Grandma passed away. It wasn’t unexpected, she was battling breast cancer – the incurable beast. But it was a bit of a shock, and a huge prompt to start prepping for my journey to Adelaide, where Grandma lived – and also Jani.
Originally I’d planned to be there mid December for the day of Jani’s birth. Having to go earlier than I expected was really hard. I didn’t want to face the world Jani was no longer a part of. I wanted to cling to a fantasy that she could still exist there. Although deep down I knew this wasn’t the truth.
It is so unhealthy to partially pretend, but it’s daunting to step into reality as well. I’m really glad I finally opened that door all the way up. Last week I flew out, and stayed for a bit. I got to visit some special Jani places and a few of the people she loved and cared about.
I spent a day with Jani’s mum embracing the grief and the heartache of it all. I sat in Jani’s room and let the happy memories sink into my soul. And I hung out with Ally – a very close friend of Jani’s – contemplating how to continue living in a world without our best friend. Along with so many other people, we’ve both found it really difficult.
There’s so much I want to talk to Jani about. Deep things happening in my life, interesting news that pops up, and mundane everyday tid bits that I notice. I wish I could just call her up and leave a silly voice mail message on her phone.
And I want to listen to her speak again. I want to hear her voice in person instead of through old clips – hear her crazy laugh, and the passionate way she spoke about the things that really mattered to her.
I knew going back to Adelaide wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t expect it to be peaceful as well. In fact, I was taken aback by how comforting it was. Grief has become a part of my everyday life and forever will be. But on this trip I learned I’m not going to drown in it – and I guess that was my worst fear. Instead I’m going to swim with it, let its waves wash over me – big or small – and forever remember Jani and the beautiful imprint she left on my life.