At first everyone asks if you’re okay. You realize that this is what they should be asking and that you yourself don’t know the answer to that question. So you say ‘”I think so.” They keep asking if you’re okay until they stop. As the days go by, they expect your hurt to fade away with the seasons, as it naturally seems like it should. Except it doesn’t. The hurt does not fade, as much as it evolves. It evolves into different, new types of hurt. From the bitter cocktail of anger, guilt, and grief; to the dull, numb throbbing of devastation; the sporadic appearances of the “what-ifs” and the “why-me’s”, until the hurt eventually becomes a constant buzzing noise in the background of your existence. Sometimes you become accustomed to the buzzing and forget why it’s there. Until you remember. And when you remember, it is the slice of a knife into your heart, as fresh as it was the day he slipped away. Sometimes you catch yourself having a fond memory of the past. But the fondness flickers to sorrow in an instant, when you realize that he’s gone. Sometimes you think about how he would have reacted to something, but the affectionate musing surprises you with how quickly it can transform to bitter heartache. “He would have been proud of you.” Yes, but he’s not here, is he. So people check up on you, all the while you have the buzzing noise, and you say “I’m okay”. But you’re not okay. You eventually realize that this is what people want to hear, and that telling them the truth would be uncomfortable. “I get physically sick when I realize that my Dad is dead.” That wouldn’t go over well. “My heart has a gaping hole in it and I will never be who I once was.” Awkward. “I’m afraid to acknowledge what happened because if I fall apart I will never be able to put myself together again.” So I’ll just stick with “I’m okay.” I’ll say it because that’s what you’re searching for and it might lessen the amount of time that you give me the same look that you would give a lost puppy stuck in a drain somewhere. I’m okay, really I’ll be fine down here, just keep walking and I’ll keep staring at the walls, trying to begin to find a way out.