Over 19 years, I've learned grief has no ending except your own death. I don't advocate that, of course! So in the mean time, I learn to wear my grief like a sweater. Some days it is too hot to wear it, and I try to shrug it off. Other days, I'm freezing without it and it's the only thing that makes me feel comfortable.
The good news is after 19 years, it doesn't scratch and cut me nearly as much as it used to. The itch has worn off, the snags have given my garment personality, and I am comforted by the pilling and nubbies that have developed from wear and tear.
But then I remember his smile, and I lose my breath. And I hear his voice still echoing my nickname in my memories. I think of all the things we missed out on: the births, weddings, and celebrations as well as the deep valleys. Today, the sweater itches a little more. But after 19 years, I've grown to expect that on October 26.
Here's one thing I hope none of you ever say to someone else again: "It's time to just get over it." After all this time, I know there is no such thing as "just getting over" devastating loss. When you love someone deeply, love creates a hole when that person is gone. I've been living with a hole for 19 years, ever since my brother Jackson died.