April 19, 2017

A close family friend of the Pearlman’s lost her mother last week–she lived to be ninety years old. What a celebration of life, and she didn’t suffer when she left this world.

I was looking at her obituary online, and on an impulse, searched for yours.

Age 39 of Murrysville died peacefully at her home surrounded by her loving family on Thursday, August 14, 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born April 10, 1969 in Pittsburgh a daughter of Cynthia (Jenny) Sopher of North Hills and the late Joseph Sopher. Jenifer is survived by her beloved husband of 17 years Jason Norris, four children Hayley, Allison, Cole and Tatum Norris; devoted sister Jessica Davis and her husband Todd of Lancaster County, VA, grandfather Joseph Sopher of Pittsburgh, aunts and uncles Jim Sopher and his wife Marcia, Terry Sopher and his wife Kathy, Bill Jenny and his wife Joanne, Sue Channer and her husband Brian, Ryan Norris and his wife Katie, Sara Kamerer and her husband Jared and Adam Norris; father and mother in-law Wayne and Jackie Norris, Grandmother in-law Algie Norris. Also survived by several nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceded in death by maternal grandparents Carl and Dorothy Jenny, paternal grandmother Virginia Sopher and grandfather in-law J.M. “Buster” Norris. Friends will be received Sunday from 2-9 p.m. at the WOLFE-von GEIS FUNERAL HOME, INC where services will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m. 

How. How?

I’ve had a heavy bugging feeling lately, as if there’s a brick just sitting in the pit of my stomach, weighing everything down. This usually happens around my menstrual cycle–I know I’ve told you all about my hormone shifts before, but they just feel so real. 

I never used to get this “bugging” feeling before you died. I never really knew what that weighted feeling in my gut felt like, until that August 14th night.

I’ll always remember laying with you, in your bed with Allison right beside me and Dad kneeling beside you. Your eyes were closed and your breathing was slowing with every breath; you tried so hard, for so long to just keep breathing until finally, your body stopped and you were no longer in it.

We sobbed. Papap looked like he had just witnessed the biggest tragedy of his life. I’ve never seen him emotional, and the way his face looked is imprinted in my mind, still.

I don’t remember what Dad did. I don’t remember what me or Allison did. I don’t remember who else was in your bedroom when it happened. I don’t remember leaving your side, but know at one point, I did.

The next thing I remember is being downstairs in the family room, talking with Grandma and Allison. There were paramedics walking through the kitchen and up the stairs with a stretcher. I said aloud, I feel like all of my insides have been scooped out. And to some degree, I swear to god that feeling has never left.

Most days I forget it’s there. Most days I feel used to that one tiny thing in the back of my mind that always feels like it’s just missing. And when I say your name or tell a story about you out loud, it disappears for a few seconds.

But on days like these, it’s the only thing I can think about; the weight is so heavy, and it anchors me down in the feeling of your absolute absence. It feels so shitty.

Grief is a terrible thing.

It comes, it goes. It hides, it seeks. It goes up, it goes down. It leaves, it returns. It weakens, it strengthens. It destroys, it teaches.

Once you’ve gone down to the depths of it, you’re forever changed. And you must overcome it, in your own way and in your own time, or else it will destroy–not teach.

I know that I have “overcome” your death. What I don’t know is, will the random days of random crying, (like in the middle of brushing my teeth) because I miss you ever leave?

Because that’s what happened this morning. I was in front of the bathroom sink and mirror, scrubbing away at my teeth, and when I leaned over to spit out toothpaste, I thought of you and lost control. I just started to cry and kept crying, hunched over and helpless.

I put Everett down for his nap, and came to sit on my computer, where I found your obituary and then everything spiraled, bringing me here to write to you.

I know that it’s healthy to feel this way sometimes. This isn’t like in the years before, when I would get stuck in this feeling. I know that today will pass, and I’ll be fine tomorrow or even this afternoon when Everett and I go out and do our errands.

I’m just extra sensitive right now. And my body remembers what it feels like to grieve you–it will never forget. So when I’m weak or on an extra rainy day, the grief creeps inward, into that one spot in my gut, reminding me of what I went through, what I overcame, and where I am now.



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