My grandpa died the day after my mom's birthday, so we'll always be at a party and a cemetery in the same week of January. One of my most vivid memories of my freshman year at Towson was sitting outside of my dorm, on the phone with my mom, trying not to cry in the courtyard as my mom told me my papa was dead. I remember when I first met my partner cause I had to go to Rosalie's funeral. Loss is something that seems to decorate major events in my life. I was pretty young when I experienced my first major loss. I knew my grandpa was sick but I didn't know he was dying, I guess. I remember asking my mom if I had to go to the hospital again. When he died it knocked the wind out of me - it felt so sudden. I don't know if I've felt steady since. My uncle died when I was in high school. They found him on the couch in the basement. Same thing that killed my grandpa. My uncle and I used to watch the show 24 back in the day and we were never necessarily close but I still feel queasy on Christmas when we gather in my grandma's basement. In college, my papa. Just old, I think. But when his wife, my granny, quickly developed dementia, which too quickly claimed her, it felt like a cruel joke. Last September a matriarch of my family passed shortly after we found out she had been hiding an aggressive form of lung cancer. Whenever I walk my family dog, my eyes wander to her stoop where she used to sit and smoke cigarettes for as long as I can remember. I can assure you I'll never feel numb to the sudden, heart wrenching, f*cked up thing that is death, but I can also promise you that it does get easier. Being able to lean on loved ones and being honest about those feelings makes all the difference. Loss will always suck, but the best thing you can keep doing for those you've lost is keep living.