I didn’t wait for you to die before I mourned you. Because, in my mind, you were already gone. In my mind, everything was gone, and I was only left with myself, helpless in every way, unable to do anything on my own. You had been my anchor, the one stable presence in my life. You had been heroic in your loving of me. You were; and you are. But I didn’t wait for you to die before I pictured it, saw it all unfolding in a vast and broken future, saw my life without you, which was unbearable. Sometimes the fear is more terrible than the sadness.
You weren’t the only one who died. My family members; my friends—one by one the images of their demise tormented me. It was all I could think about. It was all I could do not to believe it was true.
And I could no longer drive at night; it was too dark and it was not safe, and I would crash. And I could no longer leave the house; it was too crowded, and too dangerous, and too painful, out in the world. And I could no longer breathe, because it was not safe. Because if I kept breathing, I would keep being alive, and it simply hurt too much.
I have lived with the sadness but never the fear. And now I am afraid of everything.