Waking up is a trigger. Going to bed at night is a trigger too. Going to bed has gotten easier, but mornings are still very hard. I have to deal with that every day before I go off to school. A few days last week, I got up very early just to make sure I had enough time for it, and that helped. I got up at three in the morning, but by 8 a.m. I was okay.

It helps that I know exactly why it is a trigger—beyond all the general stuff, beyond Oh, another day, she’s still dead—I fell asleep with Natalya, I woke up, and then she was murdered. So waking up triggers the memory of her murder. It’s what happened just before. It’s going to remind me.

What I am reliving now is my very first reaction to her death. I am reliving the first stages of grief. I wanted her to not be dead. And then I wanted to be dead. Denial, then bargaining. Okay, if she’s going to be dead, then maybe we can be dead together. I can’t fathom life without her—I can’t fathom being able to cope. And I am reliving feeling abandoned by her.

I am in parts though, so I don’t necessarily relive this in a straightforward, coherent way. I relive it sometimes like I am a toddler, and I hear in my head some days the litany of the things I do not want.

I do not want her to be dead.

I do not want her to have no body.

I do not want her to have only a soul.

I do not want any other comfort. I only want her comfort.

I do not want to be brave.

The little ones are struggling to understand that no one can make some things happen no matter how badly you want them. There is a limit on what human beings can do. Bringing the dead to life is one of them. No one can bring her back.

I know this, but they don’t know, and they can’t know what I know until the wall comes down, until the emotions are not so intense that they bring up the wall inside me. Or until they come to understand on their own.