Missing In Action

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.

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2 thoughts on “Missing In Action

  1. Hey Kathleen, a beautiful piece. The hardest part I found about losing people, is the world carries on, it feels like it shouldn’t, it feels like an immense betrayal that the sun comes up, the traffic goes past your house, the retail employees are disgruntled with their day, and your world has stopped. Every single day I tell myself to value my time with loved ones. 2012 was a truly horrendous year, I lost 4 people close to me in 3 months, I never thought I would get through. I did, somehow. There is no quick fix, no solace in lonely moments, the only quote I found that was helpful was “if you’re going through hell, keep going” by Winston Churchill. But then I came across two books that helped me, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and of course, the Alcheimst by Paulo Coelho. These two beautiful books helped me put one foot in front of the other, and I am glad I did, it led me to wonderful people like you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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