by Alicia Napierkowski

8:47 am marks the moment my father passed away on November 19, 2015. Yesterday at 11 pm, I finally remembered that moment. I forgot what that week had felt like until I found myself at my cousin’s services with clear flashbacks of what it had been like to stand above my dad and wish that wouldn’t be the last time I would see him. My cousin had been diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma last year, and passed away this month. It was a devastating recollection of all that stuff I unknowingly tucked away in my subconscious and an immediate need to give back all of the love Iso graciously accepted during that period of time. I wish I could have gotten to know my cousin better but realizing the impact he had on so many other people gave me the understanding that I had known him at his best. I can’t speak to what it’s like to lose a son, or a brother, but I can speak to what it’s like to lose. Dealing with those feelings is still a harsh process for me, as expected. Figuring out how to accept it is going to be something I work towards daily. There is no answer to any of it.

I feel like at a certain point, people expect you to be over it. Everyone returns to their routines which are mostly unchanged and navigate their days as before. Unless you live in a house where the piece is missing. That is the hardest part. That is what’s hiding behind a wake and a funeral, a burial and a gravestone.

That’s where we are no longer strangers.

Alicia Napierkowski is a freelance writer and designer. She has been published in The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and across Medium. You can find a complete list of her work at
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