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About fzald

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    January 2017

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  1. I will check it out. I know the feeling, of fighting sadness. At first, when she first died, I was nothing but sad. I had no ability to feel anything but immense depression. Yes, I had suicidal ideation and thoughts. Yes, I still wonder today why I'm here and she's not. I still wonder why she had to die, why her life had to be taken so mercilessly, so suddenly, no warning or even any time for her or anyone else to prepare. For the dying, though, honestly that's the best way. That's how I want to go, I don't want to know it's coming honestly. She had the bittersweet gift of never having knowledge her death was coming. I can only hope that will be the case for me. Now though, I'm at least not constantly sad. I am not happy. I am not joyful. I do not look forward to most things. But I am not crying all day anymore, I am not sitting staring at the ceiling or the wall and thinking of her and shaking in panic attacks. I don't know though if I'm being avoidant of my grief. I have deliberately not looked at photos of her lately, listened to her voice in recordings and videos I have, or read our conversations. I haven't been able to do any of that, because the few times I tried to even look at a photo, all the pain and depression spilled out all over again and it took me a while to "come back". So for now I have simply stopped looking at the physical reminders I have left of her. I still think of her every single day, every single hour, every single minute even. She is always only a single thought away. I still constantly think I need to tell her something, then remember she's gone and she's not coming back. I still struggle with the "never" part, the fact that this isn't just a temporary separation at least in this world. She's gone from this world forever, and I still struggle with that, and in turn my own feelings. I'll check the book out, hopefully it'll help. Like you said though, I WANT to be happy again. I don't like being sad. It's not who I am, it's not my core personality. I've always been a happy, funny, laughing, high-spirited person. That is honestly one of the things that attracted my girl to me, she even said so, the fact that I conducted myself so smoothly and could find the humor in any situation, even a bad one. Those parts of my personality are still largely on vacation. I'm friendly, I talk to people, sometimes I even laugh at something someone said, but without my girl here, it's all empty. Do you guys think me "avoiding" the pain, by not looking at pictures etc. is actually a bad thing? Like, would it be better to do it on purpose and allow myself to feel the sadness? I don't want it to just pop back up someday. I already do have days where that consistent pain is a little stronger than usual. Days where it's a lot harder to force myself to focus and not dwell on her death. I try to take those days in stride. But, I wonder if it'd eventually help in the long run to embrace those days, maybe choose those times to look at our photos or listen to her voice, even if it does make me intensely sad? Some seem to think grief is like a bad medicine, you have to take the whole thing, you can take it now or later but somehow you will take the whole thing, so allowing yourself to be sad, even encouraging it now, will help you move through it. What do you guys think?
  2. Hello everyone, I haven't posted in a while. I honestly just have not really know what to say. I feel like anything I say is just repeating myself from what I've already said countless times on this thread and on this forum. My performance at work has improved. I'm now more able to focus than I used to be back in February. I'm able to get actual work done. As long as I have something to keep my mind active, I seem to be marginally OK. The sadness is always there, it's like a pain I can't get rid of or an itch I can't scratch, but it does seem I'm learning to "tolerate" it just a little. I'm not profoundly sad and depressed 24/7 anymore, but I still am very sad. I still think of all the things in my life now, and how I wish I could still share them with her. I think of all that her life was supposed to be, and now isn't and never will be. Many times a day I think "I need to tell her/show her that next time I see her!" and then quickly realize that's never going to happen. I'm definitely moving into a new phase. The problem I'm still having is a "preoccupation" with the idea of death, and the finality of it. I'm in my 30s, so realistically I have more than half a lifetime left. But, of course, my girl would have thought she had much more life left too. The fact is we can all go at any time for any reason. I'm not afraid of my own death. I guess I'm afraid of life not having any meaning. It already feels like that every day. I work hard, I get things done, and I ask "why did I bother?" I wonder what the point is. It doesn't matter how much we desire to live or how much we love life. We all die someday, and for some, like our loved ones, that death comes far too soon and far too unexpectedly. I find myself asking "why bother?" Why put in all the effort to build a great life, when it's all going to be destroyed someday anyway? A few people in the world are lucky to leave lasting legacies, people who will be talked of for decades and centuries to come. Shakespeare. George Washington. Abraham Lincoln. King Tut. Pocahontas. The Beatles, Elvis, many other famous entertainers. These folks left a mark on the world that will continue to be seen, felt and thought about practically forever. But for the "regular" folk, like me, or my girlfriend, our "marks" fade with time. Already the talk of my love is fading. I'm sure nobody has "forgotten" her, but people have stopped thinking of her. Those who weren't as close to her have "finished" grieving and have moved on. Myself, a select few of her close friends, and her family are likely the only ones left who are still thinking about her on a daily basis, on an hourly, minutely, secondly basis. Once the few of us who keep her alive in our hearts are gone, what then? Her life only matters because of those who remember her, but a time will come when her memory will be gone. The word that comes to mind is futility. It's so strange. We humans have such unique, incredible experiences. We have the ability to feel and experience things that don't even make sense. We can interpret the world around us and we can experience emotions of all kinds. It's all about feeling. But in the end, every single one of us will die. Every single human being that lives today is going to die, unless some super medical miracle happens that can actually r I'm hoping this is just a grieving phase. Because it's horrible. I think about my life, and I think about her "ended" life. And I think "That'll be me someday. Why wait?" The only answer I've ever truly felt has meaning for "why are we here" is "to love and be loved." I had that. My girl had that from me. We shared love. We shared life. We didn't have kids. I still have a "biological" purpose. But my emotional, spiritual, existential purpose? That was to love, and she was the one I chose to love. I feel like that part of life has been fulfilled. I find it hard to look forward to anything now, because I feel like I've already had it all. You can't go any higher than the highest peak. I was there. I saw the world in a whole new way with her. Now she's gone. Nothing will ever compare. So I ask "what's the point?" I'll take some time to read other threads on here later on. I hope everyone is doing as well as they can.
  3. Spring doesn't help

    Marcel, I think one of the problems that we have in the world is that very belief - that people can simply "choose" to be happy. Yes, we can choose to focus on certain memories, thoughts, feelings, but we can't just discard or eliminate those we don't want to focus on. Those feelings still exist, they still invade our thoughts and our minds, and in hard times they will come forward and force themselves upon us. People who have not lived through paralyzing grief will often tell you to just "think of the good times" and "remember them", as if doing that will take away all of the sad. People act like you are choosing to cry, choosing to struggle to get through every day, choosing to be sad. People say that if you would just get up and do something fun you wouldn't feel so bad. People don't understand. Our world is so fast these days. The pace of the world is immensely faster than it was even 30 years ago. The world moves so fast that there's no "time" for feelings that are undesired. Businesses sometimes offer only three days off for bereavement. Who exactly can get over someone they loved so dearly in only three days? Some people will take "advantage" of the three days for a short break from work when a relatively distant relative passes. But when the person who passed is your soulmate, your best friend, the love of your life, then three days is a joke. It can take three YEARS to get back to "normal" and even then that "normal" will be a new normal. Some people are able to find the routine again, but not truly be happy. That's where I am. I'm functioning better at work, actually getting things done, but I'm not happy. I'm able to have some periods of time where I am not immensely, profoundly, paralyzingly sad, but that sadness is still there and I must allow it to be there. I don't have a choice. Would I like to dispense with my sadness and just BE HAPPY AGAIN? Of course. It's almost certainly what my girl would say she would want - for me to be happy again. But it's not that simple. You can't choose not to feel. You may be able to muster will power and go through motions, but it's exhausting. You cannot, however, will yourself to just be happy in the midst of such pain and sadness. Any more than a person who was just paralyzed from the waist down in an accident can will themselves to stand up and walk. A grief book I read said that our grief is very much like being in the ICU, and we should treat it as such. We need to take care of ourselves, take things gently, allow whatever feelings to happen, feel the pain, sometimes try to dull the pain but never eliminate it, and be easy on ourselves. If only the rest of society could see that point. Too often, after grief, people other than those closest to the one who died just move on and even get sick of hearing about it. Eventually, you're expected to just be normal again, and often that expectation is far too quick. If only we could understand that grieving people are horribly injured, just not visibly. If only society could understand and comprehend just how much pain we suffer. If only they could grasp the magnitude of the losses we're suffering. There are teams of people all over the world who take care of people with physical illnesses, but people who have emotional and invisible pain are often just labeled as mentally ill, depressed, or something else, and the true nature of the pain is never addressed properly. It's sad. Spring is bittersweet for me too. My love would have been so happy. Spring was our favorite season. Finally we could walk together, spend time outside together, sit on a bench and breathe in the fresh air while we talked and talked into the evening. If she were still here, we'd already be making lots of plans for our summer, and for these days of beautiful weather. I love the spring, but it saddens me at the same time, because I should be sharing it with her.
  4. Numb, perhaps your dream was a premonition much like mine. Premonitions of bad things are horrible, they scare you but then when you realize it's not (yet) true you feel relieved. Like a calm before the storm. Then the storm hits, the thing you foresaw or dreamt about or thought about suddenly becomes real. In almost 6 years with my girl I never had an imminent thought of her death until that last day we saw each other. We discussed death philosophically but I never actually felt that it was near until that day. I discarded the thought. Like you, I just reminded myself that she was alive and well and everything was fine. I went home that night and thought about the next time I would see her. That time never came. There has to be more to the world than we can observe. Science has proven through the years many many things that we can't observe directly. But science still has tons of unknowns. We don't know what we can't observe and we tend to reject what we can't RELIABLY observe. A lot of faith is simply based on accepting that we can't know everything. That's hard to do. The thing is, as humans we have "faith" in things every day. We have faith that farmers, food plant operators, chefs, etc. will know how to prepare delicious foods for us. We have faith that computer programmers have the knowledge to write games, business programs etc. We have faith that the mechanic will properly fix our cars. We have faith that the electrician, plumber, carpenter, cable guy, whoever will do their job well. Many of us know little to nothing about what is really going on, and often we don't even care, we just want it done. What happens in death, however, is something that NO human can know. We have to have faith beyond ourselves and our kind. We have to have faith that whatever deity we worship, whatever beliefs we have about the afterlife, will be taken care of for us, just like we have to believe the doctor will cure us. Sometimes things don't work, and faith is challenged. But we don't give up usually. I guess all we can do is have the same attitude when it comes to death. Trust that it'll all work out, and if it doesn't, hopefully we'll have a chance to complain. I wonder if the afterlife has a suggestion box!
  5. The only thing that truly "doesn't matter now" is the what-if's, the guilt, the useless hoping that they will return or that, if we'd just done one or two things differently, it wouldn't be this way. Sometimes when I catch myself running over and over and over her last few days or weeks here and trying to find any tiny thing I could have done to change the outcome, I do have to remind myself that it doesn't matter. Nothing can bring her back. Even if I could write up an elaborate plan for every single thing I would do differently, at what time and place and exactly what, to save her life, it wouldn't matter. She can't come back to this Earth no matter how much I, or even she herself, wishes it. But it's true, that it DOES matter that our loved ones lived. IT's foolish to try to pretend they didn't, or that we didn't share a relationship or love or whatever emotions we did share. It's foolish to try to avoid guild by downplaying the absence. "But at least you..." is among the most useless phrases in this grief. We are all living, hopefully healthy physically despite sometimes not treating ourselves the best, and we all still have a lot of things to be thankful for. But that doesn't erase the empty feeling, it doesn't change the facts that we lost someone very dear to us. It does matter how people feel because we want to know that the person we lost had value in the world. We want to know the impact they had on the world around them, the ways in which they will live on in spirit in our world. Talking to others who remember them is one way we can try to feel that. Sometimes when people try so hard to avoid talking about it, I feel that maybe it's their own grieving that is making them hesitant to talk. I have even been guilty of that for a couple days, I've tried to avoid talking about her because of all the complicated feelings I'm having, but it's pointless. I will write out what is going on when I can get it down in words. But I tried to put her out of mind, and sometimes it even works for a short time, but she's always there with me, just a thought away. The pain is still fresh as ever. The absence is still as strong as ever. The longing for her to come back is still there. The wishing for a different reality or even the wish to die in my sleep still remains. None of these are things I can "cast off". One of the other new songs in Beauty and the Beast also spoke so strongly to me. The scene after Belle leaves the Beast's castle, he sings a new song:
  6. I haven't posted for a couple of days, I've had a lot of things going around in my head that I'll post about when I am able to articulate it properly. But I've had a really rough past couple of days. There have been some moments of calm, and moments of despair like always, but some new feelings have crept in, things I can't even truly describe at this point but nonetheless not pleasant. But I thought I'd check in. A friend of mine invited me to see the new Beauty and the Beast film (the remake of the original cartoon) this week. There is a new song in it, the lyrics of which really, really resonate with me and probably will speak to all of us here: The song is sung by (among others at different points) Belle's father, singing of his wife and Belle's mother who had passed on. (Hope this isn't a spoiler, because the story basically follows the same as the original 1990s version) (It's also the "pop" song for the film, performed by Celine Dion over the credits)
  7. Sometimes I still stop on the sidewalk outside of work and look down the street, thinking she'll be coming up the road towards the office like she always used to. Sometimes I stop out in the hall by the restroom, because sometimes we would walk together and we'd wait for the other. I stand there waiting, thinking she's coming out in a moment. Of course she isn't. Sometimes I sit at the snack bar and wait for her to join me. Sometimes I stop at the snack bar on my way into work and grab her favorite drink from the cooler. And then I remember she's not here anymore. And then I cry in front of the cashier. She likes me and liked her a lot so she's pretty understanding, but it's still just so painful. I go by her house and think she's in there. There's so many things in the world that are "the same" as if she were just gone temporarily. Like she was gone for the week when she passed out. I didn't expect to see her that week because I knew where she was. But she never came back. I still feel sometimes like she is, even though I know she's not. It's horrible. It hurts all over again every single time. It's just unfair.
  8. They say it evolves. I don't know, but for me it's evolving for the worse. At first, my pain was very acute. Painful. Stabs of agony. Sometimes a short period of calm, like after the funeral on the way home. But still intense, agonizing pain. Now the intensity is a bit less, but the chronic nature is unrelenting. Everything I do has a dark cloud over it. I have nothing to look forward to. No happiness. Nothing left in life. People at work talk about future projects and plans. I can't get into it. My heart's not in it at all. I am just doing what I have to do today. Thinking about a project that will go on for "weeks" or "months" is impossible for me. Something that's going to happen "tomorrow" is even hard. If it's not happening right now, it doesn't matter to me. Even if it is happening right now, I'm not with it totally. I am masking my pain with work. I already can tell this is where I'm heading, and I know that's bad, but what choice do I have? "It's what you do with the time that makes the difference." What else can I do? What else can I possibly do to make anything any better? When she was alive but away, the knowledge of her return was what I needed. It's what gave me the strength to continue. But now I have to face the "forever". Never again. No matter what, she will never again walk the Earth. Never again laugh her cute laugh. Never again light up a room as she enters. Never again give me her absolutely insightful advice on things. Never again hug me, kiss me, make love to me. Never again fill my life with everything any man could ever ask for. If the evolution of grief is going to keep going downward like it is right now, I don't know I'll be able to handle it.
  9. Time worsens the grief

    Chasisdope, You reminded me of something my girlfriend said early on in our relationship. She asked me once, "How will I ever live without you? I love you!" There was another time, a year or so later, that she was under tremendous stress from school, family, friends, everything basically. She cried on my shoulder, hot and heavy, and said to me "I can't lose you. I just can't. You're all I have keeping me going. Don't leave me." I know how you feel. I am living out her fear. She had a fear of me being gone from her life. But she is the one who left my life, even though she didn't intend to. I am the one living out her worst fear. I feel the same. I feel like I have lived my life now. I don't have anything else to give. I had the best love I could ever want, and now it's gone forever. There's nothing I could ever do that would live up or even come close to what I had. Once you've had the best, what's the point? It's kind of like rich people becoming depressed. Once you live on top of the world, how do you ever feel anything again?
  10. The last time I hugged and kissed my love was 60 days ago. 60 days. Sounds like an eternity, and at the same time it still feels like yesterday that I saw her last. I can still picture her, imagine her walking down the hall at work, I can stil picture her in my house, I can picture her walking around outside at our office and the places nearby. I pass by her house and still imagine she's in there. Simple common phrases like "the rest of my life" have taken on a strange meaning for me. The rest of my life... could be 50 years, or it could be 10 minutes. "Tomorrow" may not happen. "Next week" is an eternity away. People at work ask if I can meet with them "in April." I feel strange answering "Yes I can". My girl said the same thing to people, the week before she left she told people she would meet with them on January 30th. January 30th was two days after she passed away. That was the day we suspended most work in our department and had a celebration/memorial for her. But it was so wrong. Even in the midst of all of that I expected her to walk in and say "I'm here for the meeting." That was only a week after I'd seen her last, and now we're over 8 weeks since then, but I still don't feel like much time has passed. I feel absolutely miserable again. It's when I'm at home, alone, with nothing to keep me occupied, that I remember so many things about her. I find things that remind me of her as I idly touch things on my bookshelves or tables. It's still impossible to believe she is gone forever. She intended to come back and see me. She intended to keep living. It's still so wrong. So out of place. So empty.
  11. I lived the "Dream" of working side by side with my girlfriend. She was so excited about the new projects coming up at work. I have now been assigned to all the projects she wanted to be part of. It is so bittersweet, I'm doing everything she wanted to do, but like you said Solomon'sGirl, one thing is missing. I try to do things "in her honor", but it's still so raw and so sad. There's such an absence here. She should be here. She should be doing all the things she wanted.
  12. On the 5th week of his passing....

    You speak to me so much with these words Francine. I remember who I was a few months ago, when my lovely soulmate still walked the earth. I remember my always energetic, joyful, happy disposition. I remember being described in the same way she is remembered: someone who could light up a room just by being there. I remember feeling complete bliss and happiness just because I was alive. I remember waking up every day excited, ready to face the world head on, with my love by my side. The day she died, I changed forever. I don't know if I will ever be able to be that same happy, charming, joyful person I used to be. If I ever do become that again, it will be a long time from now. People will move on. Friends will drift away. People will come and go from work. By the time I have even a chance of having any of "me" back, my world will be different already. There was one constant in my life, that made all of the change bearable. A compass, a GPS, whatever. That was her. No matter who came or went in and out of my life, as long as she was there, I maintained my happiness. I cling to things now that I know will change. Some people at our work are leaving for "better" jobs in a few months. They're already working on finishing up their projects. This office will be different next year. Some of the people I have come to feel some comfort being around simply because it's "Normal" will be leaving. There is more ahead. More loss, more change. But when she was here, change was something to weather together. Without her, change is something I dread. Without her, I am stuck. I feel perpetually stuck in time while the rest of the world tries to pull me forward. It's like a cartoon, someone being stretched to string-thin because they're glued to something, and suddenly SNAP! But for me, that snap will be the smashing reality that NOTHING, not just her but the rest of my entire life, has changed too. We are different now. People need to accept that. Some people can't, or don't want to. It's almost like having to grieve for multiple losses. I grieve for her loss. I grieve also for the loss of the self I was, the me I loved being. My friends and family miss the "old" me too. But I'm not the old me anymore. I will never be that me again. Joy may return eventually, but it will be different. It won't be the same. I know that's hard for people, it's like I said, grieving her loss but also the loss of who I used to be. But it is what it is. Just like nobody can bring her back from the dead, nobody can bring the old me back from the past either. It's sad. It hurts. But it is what it is.
  13. Time worsens the grief

    All of our lost loves would want us to go on, to live life. But like you said KayC, it's true that none of them had to directly experience what we are experiencing right now. My girlfriend's family situation was pretty rough. I won't go into a ton of detail right here, but suffice it to say that there was a lot of conflict in her life. Me being in her life was a good counter-balance to that, but she said herself that there were times that she felt like she didn't matter in the world. When we first met, she showed me her happy, upbeat, cheerful side, but she would later admit that at the time it was more of a mask, to hide the pain she felt within. Even with me in her life, though, people often would do things to her that were hugely insensitive. She would come to me in tears at times, asking things like "Do I even matter in this world? Would anyone miss me if I died?" I always told her that a lot of people would miss her, and I would be one of them. I told her that I would miss her more than anything if she died. I would remind her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. Today, her words come back to me and haunt me. "Would anyone miss me if I died?" I miss her terribly. I miss her more than anyone I've ever missed. I weep now, thinking of how even with me in her life she was still sometimes tormented and felt so worthless. I wish I could have done something, ANYTHING to show her when she was here just how much she truly meant. If she can see me now, though, I hope she will realize just how painful this is, and that the reason for my pain is BECAUSE of how much she meant to me. The world is a darker, gloomier, sadder place without her. Many others may not feel it, but I feel it every second of every day. Every moment is a reminder that she is gone forever. Every second is a reason to mourn, to miss her, to wish she could still be here.
  14. ATALL25, There are no words that will take your pain away. Your loss is so tragic, to have to have been the one to find her, that had to be so traumatic for you. First of all, please don't blame yourself for this. She may have had an alcohol problem, she may have just gone a bit too far this time. We don't know, and the toxicology report may help bring some answers, but the harsh, sad, painful truth is that she was taken from you far too soon. 30 is such a young age to die. My girlfriend died, she was only 22, and hers was from an undetected brain aneurysm which burst suddenly when she was on a trip with family. Like you, we had plans for the following week, she was excited to come back and see me again. We talked the morning of January 23rd, and only a couple hours after we spoke she passed out, went into a coma and never woke up. She died on the 28th. We do the best we can do with what we have at the time we have it. My girlfriend also showed some signs of slowing down, she had frequent headaches, vomited, and seemed to be generally not feeling well. I never encouraged her to go to the hospital, instead I just would tell her to go rest and call me later. Even if I had, though, the odds that the doctors would have checked her brain for aneurysms is pretty low, because that tends to be quite rare in young people to begin with. There are things she said that in hindsight should have been clear signs that something is wrong, but I believed she was young and invincible and even if she got sick, I did not believe she would die. She was a headstrong fighter and I believed her attitude and will to live would save her from anything, especially at her age. Nature has a way of showing us its indifference, the harsh truth that anyone can die at any time for any reason, regardless of age, health or quality of life. We here on this forum are changed forever, we have been forced to face the truth about death far too early. We can no longer live oblivious to the true pain of death, we can no longer exist with an "ignorance is bliss" attitude. We know the pain and hurt and empty feelings that a lost future brings. The only thing you can, and must, do right now is take care of yourself. Try to eat something. Drink fluids. Rest when you need to rest. Exercise lightly if you can. Don't try to "keep busy" and distract yourself too much. Let yourself feel the pain. The memories of good times will come, and they will hurt terribly. For a time everything will remind you of her, and so many things will be a symbol of the future you lost. You can only let these feelings happen, accept them for what they are, a sign of how deeply you loved her and how much you miss her. The stronger our pain, the more a sign of the love we shared it is. If we didn't love our lost ones, it would be easy to put the emotions aside. How much do we cry when the news reports on a tragic death of someone we didn't know? How much pain do we experience when we read an article about someone we don't know dying tragically at a young age? Not very much. The difference is that in our cases, the deaths were people we loved, cared about, felt very deeply for. That's why it hurts so much. Love and heartache are not opposites. They are the same emotion, just the positive and negative sides of it. Two sides of the same coin. There is nothing any one of us can do to bring back the ones we've lost, even though that will be our only true wish for the rest of our lives. All we can do now is try, ever so slowly, ever so painfully, to find a little purpose left in this empty, cold, meaningless world. Anger is normal. Depression is normal. Frustration is normal. Empty feelings, crying, are all normal. Fantasizing and wishing it wasn't true is normal. It's the only way we can work through the horrible tragedy we're faced with. Losing a loved one to death is quite possibly the most difficult emotional experience any human can have. Good luck and keep posting. We're here for you.
  15. I feel like I'm beginning to move in to a new phase. Not better, just new. Lately, I find myself thinking directly of her less. She is always a thought away, but if I am just sitting and thinking, I am not thinking of just her and nothing else. But that doesn't mean I'm not sad. The sadness is ever-present. It's a dark cloud. It never goes away. Regardless of whether I'm actively thinking about her, it doesn't matter. I could be thinking about things that had nothing to do with her whatsoever, and I still am sad. It's almost like some kind of emotion disassociation, everything is sad now, even if it shouldn't be. If I deliberately think about her, the sadness doesn't seem to change much, but I become more aware of it. I FEEL it more immensely. When I'm not thinking of her, it's still there, affecting my actions and my mood. An empty feeling is another way to say it. We've used that word a lot around here, but that's what it is. An empty feeling, that something is missing. And I sometimes still have that feeling of waiting. For what? I don't know. For her to come back? Obviously I know that's impossible, but when I walk around the office and go about my day, I still feel something is wrong because she's not here, and that "it will resolve itself" by her coming back. For me to be happy? I don't know when or even if that will truly happen.