In the night, there is a dynamic that I seem to replay in my own mind. The dynamic made it worse. It seems to be an old habit.

The dynamic is this: I miss Natalya. Then I shove the longing away and along with it everything about her. I panic after that, because then I lose even the comfort of her memory. I miss her more and not less.

It is a conflict among the parts and how they have coped with her absence and then with her death. On the one hand, there is the instinct to reach for her, to immerse myself in her memory at least. On the other, there is the impulse to force it all down again. What works best now isn’t what worked best then, and it was better when I was a child and living at home not to open up that box that part of my life was in. It was better not to remember. It helps to remember now.

I keep thinking, in these moments of inner conflict, that I cannot live without her. I am telling myself this. I am telling myself not to keep taking the memory of her away.

It’s true. I cannot live without her. I must live with fact of having had her in my life. I must also live with the fact of having lost her. I must live with both her life and her death, and I must live with the person I am because of both of those.

But some of me keeps trying to avoid doing that. Some of me keeps trying to revert to amnesia. Some of me does not know there is any other way of doing things or that it is possible to find some other way to hurt less.

Some of me does not believe, even now, that she existed at all, that she loved me, that she altered my life immensely and permanently. Some of me still falters at this, and this faltering is because of the habit of denial. It is a habit borne out of pain. The pain is something I can live with now, but the habit remains. The habit makes things worse now.

Gently, I have to get myself to stop.

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