Loss creeps up, attacking the unsuspecting and the worn down. Sneaking in at inopportune and unexpected moments, claiming victims for an afternoon, a weekend, a few years.

We manage demons, live life. Schedule. Organize. Conquer. Seize.

It hits as we rebuild. Cloaked differently now. No more train trips for wine, patio iced coffees. No more dentist, hairdresser, weekly dinners, causal run-ins, flights to the familiar and the safe. A second year missing Christmas lasagna from home.

Loss is lonely. It ambles in on different schedules. People are on the train, but you miss the ride. They fade, or struggle, or disappear. “I didn’t know.” “I don’t understand.” Nothing right or wrong. Simply an unnoticed, heavy, carried shadow. A winter coat when you yearn for the carelessness of spring.

The end seems close this time, a clearing in the bramble, but the last few steps are always the most impatient, the most urgent, the ones that leave scratches from the thorns.

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