The thing that I was completely not expecting after Jackie’s death was to feel like Maddie died all over again. I told a friend that I have a compartment in my head that I keep all my sadness in, and it’s been ripped open. All of the emotions are flooding me, and I am surprisingly unprepared.

At Jackie’s service I told her sister Stephanie how appreciative I was that they’d included Maddie in Jackie’s tribute. I said that it had made Mike and me both cry, and what a feat that was since we were both “dead inside.” I was joking, of course, but since Maddie died I really don’t cry much anymore…it was almost as though I used up an entire lifetime’s worth of tears and I didn’t have any left. But since Jackie died 20 days ago, the tears have come much easier. I walked into a well-decorated child’s room last weekend and my eyes filled up. It’s a little ridiculous.

I just wasn’t expecting to so closely associate Maddie and Jackie’s deaths. I’ve lost other important people in my life and it wasn’t such a trigger for past losses. But I guess it makes sense – both so young, and both so important to me, and to each other. It’s so wildly unfair that they are gone. They had so much to do, and see, and I had big plans for both of them.

I lately get no comfort from imagining them together. It makes me feel left out and more alone than ever. I don’t know if I’m thankful that my sadness compartment was ripped open…the release was good at first but now I feel so emotionally out of control that I wonder if it’s even beneficial anymore.

I want them back. I want to laugh at new memories, not cling to old ones. I want to grow old with Jackie, and watch our kids get older with Maddie leading the way. I want this to not be real and yet, with every passing day reality rears its ugly head. I am so tired of the bad stuff. So, so tired.