Ache.

“I go before you always, come follow me, and I will lead you home”

This tune still replays in my head when I think about that day. The organist playing, the choir singing. The most somber red carpet you could imagine. Staring into a crowd of sympathetic faces. I would forever be the unlucky girl.

Walking, hand in hand with my mother and siblings. Walking to say goodbye like we were Jackie Kennedy, Jack Jr., and Caroline. I can still feel it, my face void of color. A sinking feeling as I choke back tears. Screaming on the inside, like a stone on the outside.

You grow up quickly when you lose a parent. You learn to understand what it means to lose someone. You are forced to mature, be strong.

I can’t show pain. When something hurts I shut down. I can’t see people cry. I can’t cry. I can’t talk about the hurt. When I lose someone I turn to stone. I’m instantly transported back to that carpet. Listening to the organ play. Feeling the painful looks from others as they watch a widow and her 3 girls walk down the church isle for one last goodbye.

Objection.

I don’t write much about love.

Well I do, but not the good kind.

Or, maybe I don’t. Maybe none of this is love anyway.

If people are consistently breaking you down, could that be what the movies are all about?

I think love is finding that person. The one who makes you realize your mess has made sense all along. A person who makes your flaws feel safe. You don’t have to spend so much time worrying about if you are doing things right or saying the wrong thing.

But you spend so much time worrying. Worrying if they are okay, can I be more, can we do more? Love is finding the person who makes you want to throw away every mistake you’ve ever made and turn into the best version of yourself.

Love is about never being told loving you is settling.

If any of this is love, the butterflies are cool but all the bullshit that comes next is just really not for me.