A song came on and suddenly I was that 19 year old girl who was infatuated with that 19 year old boy. I was that college student who thought she had everything figured out. I was a daughter who loved the taste of freedom but hated the guilt of it. I close my eyes and I am her. I close my eyes and bob my head, tap my foot to the rhythm of the ukuleles like I did in my dorm room. The worst thing in my life was being infatuated with that boy and not knowing if he was infatuated with me. Sickness was long in the past. Forgotten. I was figuring life out and loving it. L-O-V-I-N-G I-T. I had cool friends who made me feel cool too. I could flirt and feel like a real girl. My heart was light. My soul was deepening. I could be in love any day now. I could be loved any day now.

I envy that 19 year old. I curse her sometimes for her innocence and completeness. Her ignorance. Her freedom. Her hope. Her easy faith. Her life. Her energy and enthusiasm. Sure, she was insecure and low-key depressed, but high level functional.

I love escaping into her life again when I hear those songs that she listened to on repeat, that I forgot about in the darkness. She was sad a lot because of that boy, but still had so much hope. She didn’t think about death every day. She didn’t think about what would happen if she died. She would live forever.

But she died. The day Mom died, she died too. When she sat on that hospital floor, alone, sobbing, watching the nurses and doctors on duty laughing and drinking their coffee and having a normal day at work, contempt slithered in. Envy. Rage. Absolute rage. When she saw the lifeless body, separated from its soul and spirit, the hunger for her own separation of body and soul overwhelmed. That desire became insatiable. Death colored everything now. Loneliness, abandonment, and betrayal became her companions.

These songs eventually send me into a dull, achy sadness. I want to rebel against my current reality and move into hers. I know I’m young. I’m told that all the time. But she feels young. She hasn’t lived through what I have. She makes me feel old, weathered, calloused. She is free, she doesn’t monitor her thoughts for inklings of suicide creeping back in. She is soft. She doesn’t look at her loved ones and picture their dead bodies, emptied of their souls, lying on a hospital bed. She doesn’t wish for the kind of loneliness that protects you from pain and loss. She doesn’t feel the weight I feel every day. She sees light all around her.

She doesn’t know yet.