I'm not handling grieving as well as I should. Katie is the first person I've ever cared about who has died. Everyone else I was too young to remember holding strong emotional ties with. I met Katie in the summer of 2008. I was moonlighting at registration as the Dean of Performing Arts' assistant. I signed her up for classes along with all the new registrants for the Art Department. I had just changed my major to Art the year before and as luck would have it - took several classes along side Katie as independent studies. Katie and I ran Art Club together for two years. We went on trips together. We shared details of our lives together. I understand that there are those who knew her better than I did. I understand that I was not her closest friend. But, being as closed off as I am - she was one of my closest friends. When I found out about this tragedy, I was on the phone with a clinic setting up a doctor's appointment. I was put on hold and decided to check Facebook. I was petrified. A lot of people mention experiencing a numbness, a sort of distance that allows you to function for however long you have to before reality hits you. I didn't get that.
I have never felt as sad as I do right now.
The way I usually cope with sadness is to turn it into anger and burn it all off... but try as I might - I can't stay angry. Or at least, any anger I have is squashed by this overwhelming sadness.
I think I understand now what so many people have tried to instill in me over years of psychology classes and counselling sessions. This is what it feels like when you are sad for a reason. On the lighter side, at least we know I'm not depressed.
For the last two days, I've been pushing aside my emotions, drinking large quantities of soda and forcing myself to go somewhere - anywhere to get away from myself. This game of running away from reality is fun for a very short while and then I get tired. I come home and, thanks to modern technology, I am confronted with the hard truth that I will never see my friend again. It's selfish to think of it that way. For some reason, typing the ways to think of it that aren't selfish seems so much worse.
So what can I do?
I send in comments to news stations that say her name wrong.
I read old Facebook posts, her webpage. I look at her photos. I think about taking a picture trying to hold the spoon at the Walker Sculpture Garden. I think about the squinty lemon face she'd make sometimes. I laugh and remember the strange musical beat boxing she and Amelia would do. I brag to Jared about how Katie could free-hand a drawing of any dinosaur.
And sometimes I get sad and think about all the things - all the things.... I don't even know.
We're all in this together now.
Edit: And, the world keeps spinning.
Edit again: And, I hate it.