The Difference of a Year

If you had asked me last year, or even 6 months ago, what I thought this Christmas would look like you might think it was an alternate universe.

If you had asked me prior to the middle of July I would have told you about my plans to attend Christmas Eve mass, I would have told you about the amazing time I thought I would have with my future in-laws, I would tell you how amazing it is to wake up with the woman I loved in my arms, I would tell you about opening presents with them, I would tell you about the fun we had going back and forth as we opened presents and the easy banter. If you had asked me a year ago about this Christmas I would have told you of my excitement around celebrating the holiday, my last holiday as a federally defined single and all the emotions that came with that. If you had asked me, I would have told you how I would spend the day just trying to make her smile and laugh just because that was enough of a gift to me. I’d have told you about our lazy day before we had to split from everyone and be with my family. I’d have told you about our first official Christmas living together. I’d have told you a lot of things.

And if I had told you those things you would never believe me when I spoke of this year’s Christmas instead.

This year, this year for Christmas I no longer had her, I couldn’t hear her laugh, I couldn’t see her smile, and I didn’t wake up with her or spend it with her family while trying to avoid my own for as long as possible. No, instead I would tell you about being irritated, I would tell you that I was crushed by grief, so much so I spent most of the day reminding myself that I needed to breath and that I couldn’t break down crying, no matter how much I wanted to. No, I would tell you how I went to a Methodist Christmas Eve service and as nice as it was I just wanted to be at mass. I would tell you how I spent it with my own family, and while it’s nice, my heart longs for a different place, for different people. I’d tell you how I couldn’t even button my own shirt at first, I’d tell you about the pain that comes with wearing this vest and this watch. I’d tell you that I’m thankful my scars have healed well enough that I no longer look like the bride of Frankenstein. I’d tell you how much I miss the way things used to be, I’d tell you that my only wish for this Christmas was to have Kelsie back in any way that was possible.

I’d tell you how much difference a year makes.


The thing about neurology, that they don’t tell you about, is that they don’t always know what or how much of something can be impacted by trauma. They can guess based on what is presented to them, but they also don’t always know how to fix something that is “mental” as opposed to physical. I mean how can they understand that while I’m missing 10 days of my life following the accident, I can remember some people, I can remember some events, but there are so many more that I just can’t. So many more people and events that go back further than the 10 days that I’m missing. It was supposed to be “just” retrograde amnesia. It was only supposed to be those 10 days while my brain was trying to protect me from the hurt that was losing my soulmate, my other half, my future wife, the mother to our future children, the person I was supposed to grow old with, the only person in my life who was able to show me a life past the 27 years I had always envisioned for myself.

I can’t always comprehend what I’m missing and when. I don’t remember those I dated before Kelsie. It’s almost like my brain has rewired itself to protect me from more than just the pain of losing Kelsie. I know there were three people before Kelsie. I’m sure there were more, but I’ve only discovered three and yet I can’t remember anything about them, I barely recall their names, my emotions, my anything to do with them. Sometimes I wish I could. Not because I want the pain of the memories, but because I crave the normalcy. The normalcy that was my life with Kelsie.

To anyone who reads this, I am sorry. I am sorry that I can’t give you more than the nothing I have in my brain when it comes to memories. I’m sorry that I can’t remember you. I’m sorry for who I was and for what you thought I would become. I’m sorry that, probably by my own hand, you are not allowed to see the person who I have become. I’m sorry that I’ve grown enough to want to apologize for who I was and what I did. I can’t blame it on anything other than where I was at in my life and now I have changed, a lot. Maybe for better, maybe for worse, but I can’t judge myself.

You know, I played soccer for nearly 20 years of my life. I don’t remember it. I know I did because of the memories on my Facebook, I know I did because I can imagine it being true whenever I watch a match. I know deep in my heart I miss it, but I don’t remember the feeling of actually playing and I unfortunately never will again. I watch matches on tv and those where I graduated from. I can’t help but want to move on reflex when I see something happen and I know I could have made the save, I could have been better, but I will never have that chance again. I don’t know what hurts worse: not remembering people and events, or knowing that I’ll never have that adrenaline rush again, the adrenaline rush that can only come from making a post to post save, or saving a PK. I think they both suck. I miss the friendships, I miss the sense of serenity of being able to play and just block everything out for 90 minutes.

I miss the life I used to have. I miss not having a care in the world, I miss waking up with her in my arms, I miss eating dinner together every day, I miss having someone to talk to, someone who didn’t judge or force decisions, but rather having someone who would listen and understand that while in the moment nothing is okay, but the reassurance that in the end it would be. That we would work it out together and that I would come out stronger on the other side.

I’m sorry….