We find comfort wherever we can. In the “stuff” of our loved ones, in the memories we fight to hold onto, in the smiles of strangers. I wear my friend Don’s windbreaker every chance I get, even when it’s below freezing and I clearly should have on a heavier coat. In the pocket, there’s a pack of his cigarettes I’ll never throw away. I finger the smooth cellophane when I need to touch him and even though he had no business smoking, I’m glad he left these pieces of him behind. Because of these weird things, I am an official member of the coo coo club. I don’t mind. Grief has brought me tremendous pain but something else has happened to me. I’ve loosened up, discarded some of the self-consciousness I used to wrap around me like a sweater. I don’t care as much about what people think when they see me sporting a dirty windbreaker in the dead of winter. (Oh, I forgot to mention, I don’t wash Donald’s jacket. Why would I want to rinse his smell or the last of his touch from the coat?) So I am soothed, for now. Almost warm in this artifact of friendship. I know this sounds desperate, but that’s okay too. I loved him desperately and I have thoroughly convinced myself that I’ll see him again. Soon. And he’ll ask for his coat and a smoke. And we’ll be together.
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