It's been one year today since Isaiah died.

It's hard to judge the passage of time during a pandemic. The months all merge into one long period of isolation. Then again, that's what happens during grief, regardless of the lockdown orders. Or rather, that's what it felt like when Isaiah's dad died. He died slowly then quickly and the grief just went on and on and on. My friend and yoga teacher Margarita reminded me of this last week when she cautioned me against withdrawing from my friends, from the world as I did after Anthony died. And yet, here we all are — or the sensible ones among us, at least: withdrawn from the world; many of us, alone.

I received the second dose of the vaccine on Tuesday, and so soon enough I'll be able to drive north to scatter Isaiah's ashes the same place he and I scattered Anthony's fifteen years ago. It took us almost a year to accomplish that task back then, and there was no lockdown preventing us from traveling — just that dread of the rituals that are supposed to bring closure. "Closure." Ha. As if one's life isn't completely torn apart forever.

I'm not sure how I will step back into the world this time around, if I'm honest. I still feel so fragile. I know I'm not alone in this after the past twelve plus months that all of us — loss or no loss — have experienced. I can't imagine being in crowded places — conferences, concerts, airports, for example. And while I have long been accustomed to working from home, that work now feels inconsequential and unfulfilling. Step back into what exactly?

Everything has changed.

People tell me again and again that one day, I'll be able to think of the good things about my son, rather than simply reliving the trauma of his death. I know from experience that to be both deeply true and utterly false. I already do think of the good all the time. I dream of him nightly, as that precocious three year old. But there is no escaping the trauma. I can't stop thinking of the agony of his addiction, the times I thought he'd overdosed. The time he did. Contrary to the cliche, time does not heal all wounds. One year never possibly could.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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