Grief has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. It's insidious, like a toothache that announces itself with a first bite of ice cream but then lies dormant until you find you need an emergency root canal. When it comes, full-force and not hiding anymore, the surprise you feel is almost as jarring as the sadness.
After 5 years of loss, I've come to the point where at a party I can even joke about it. I've laughed about my loss. I've moved on to the point where it's another part of my DNA, like having brown eyes and wide hips. But then something will happen. Something Big or something not even large enough to be noticed in any obvious way and it is crushing. Anger, pain, deep gut-wrenching sadness, and a complete feeling of Life Not Being Fair washes over me. Logic and good manners have no place in these feelings. There is a lot of me feeling, fair or not, that the wrong person was taken. There is no mercy in these feelings and I make no apologies. It makes me into a person I almost don't recognize, so unlike how I am on an average day.
And then, just like that, the tears stop, the anger subsides, and all that is left is the routine of loss. An understanding that the phone can't be used. That there will be an empty seat at a bar mitzvah. That I must remember to make happy/silly/lasting memories last for my children and for me.
That I am, in fact, privileged to have loved and been loved by such a person in the first place.