I didn’t really know how things were hitting me yesterday. I was really busy, and I seemed to be okay. Then I came home and after a while I just started crying and eventually I went to bed. It seemed easier to cry cuddled up in blankets with the lights off.

Yesterday was a different kind of anniversary for me, and it seemed to have raised a whole new kind of grief. I don’t know what the connection is between that particular anniversary and loss is, but I know the loss I’m grieving has to do with the loss of feeling known an understood.

When Natalya died, the person who automatically knew a lot about me without having to have everything explained died also. My connection to the good bits of my childhood died. A shared history died. The person who saw me grow up died.

I lived in such a constricted, particular world, that no one outside that world knew much of use about me. I don’t have a shared history that is meaningful with anyone else. I don’t even any shared sense of culture with anyone. It’s not that I can’t be understood, but I have to be prepared to explain everything in order to do that. There are a lot of very ordinary things about other people I don’t get either.

I’m not even entirely sure what I mean. I can think of some examples—they are things I didn’t realize myself until recently, but they are my childhood. I have mentioned the buttons. When Ruthie is upset, she likes to hold onto a button or something with a kind of raised texture. Or a strap. A bra strap will do.

Natalya would have remembered this: You always used to hold onto something—my cross or a button or a tank top strap. That’s one small thing, but it’s as though after she died there was no one who remembered me. No one knew who I was or who I had been.

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