When death came to my family it was not a complete shock. She had been sick for years and no one was really taken off guard. After the funeral I returned home and everyone else returned home and I guess I thought things would return to normal. But of course they didn't, they couldn't.

I had thought that death would be "the big goodbye," instead it was "the big introduction." Hello to regrets: all the things we had never said and never done together. Hello to a new status as "person in grieving" to be greeted with solemn faces-averted eyes and quiet nods. And the worst, of course, the introduction to the twin sisters of adulthood: mortality, a real sense of the end of the line and brevity, the idea that every day, every moment was precious.

For months I chose not to deal with either. I didn't keep track, but it must have been months, because the anniversary came racing at me soonafter. I would think about the events of the past, where I was and basically refused to look at the future, making choices based on the last hour, not on the last few months of my life. Suspended animation, basically.

A year later, about the time I was planning another move, I took a cross country trip with a friend. During the trip I came to know many people and places that reminded me of my past and I realized that the memory was not painful, but warm. It was breezy and wistful, not cold and threatening. Something had changed.

I suppose I had reached a point where I could happily make everyday attachments to people and places that were gone. Gone forever.

Somehow, someway I had reached a point where 'gone' was acceptable, and not terrible. My past had significance, surely, but it was not a curse. It was time for me to get on with things. I can honestly say I have never looked back.

*The title is a lyric from Haunted, the title track of the CD, Poe.

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