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I miss my mom. I miss my dad too. Both of them gone in less than one year. I learned in this past year, and more acutely, in the past month, that to grieve is to isolate yourself. We are each alone in our grief.

It’s a cliche but I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt from missing someone so much. Wishing so much.

It’s the wishing that hurts. Wishing so hard that your entire being start to contract, to collapse upon itself. A hole forms. The wishing does not stop and you are turned inside out. 

You have no control over when the fact hits you: when you’re waiting for the red light to turn; when you are standing on the checkout line at the store; when you’re walking to the subway station. When the waves of profound sadness hits you, you need to pause to take a breath. It’s a different kind of sadness, different from the kind that makes you cry. It’s deep like the ocean.

No, let me try again.

It’s like when you get hit by a giant wave and you go under the water. For a split second, it feels like you’re enveloped in a vacuum. Your descent soundless. The absolute quietness around you almost calming. For that split second, your eyes are wide open and you can see clearly. And you think to yourself, “I’m ok.” Then, you gasp for air.