I was a sentence into a post about my wedding anniversary when his mom's name appeared on my phone.
"There's no helment law, a U-Haul, on his way to work. Did anyone call you about her? She went to look for him."
The phone app lives on page 2 of my iPhone for a reason.
Numbers like twenty-two years ago on a Saturday.
Would have been.
Six years ago.
One year ago, a wedding. Hers. His.
One truck, one morning.
My phone app now lives on page 3 of my iPhone.
What I want to tell her when she says it doesn't feel real is that it's not.
It becomes real in pieces—in the leftovers you made for the two of you that you can't bring yourself to eat; in the mountains of firsts yet to come, every Band-aid ripping one of them; in the years and the minutes. Tonight, when you inhale his smell on the pillow as you lie awake; six years from now as you mark time in missed anniversaries.
Real isn't the moment of your loss, it's in the experience of losing, and missing, and questioning all of the pieces staring at you.
There will forever be the You Before and the You After. And though you'll be okay, you will not be You Before. The hole stays, its raw edges heal, and you remain pierced by the loss.