Yes, everyone changes over time. If you could look at your past self through a magic mirror, you'd probably be shocked at how different you have become. You would think to yourself, "I'm not even the same person!" And, you'd be right. You're not. And you won't be the same person in ten years that you are today. But there is a huge difference in changing with growth and time - and having who you are just cut off at the knees swiftly and without warning.
Think of two trees growing side by side. Saplings, bending in the breeze, reaching for the sun. Over the years, the saplings grow. Their branches thicken, their leaves become full, their trunk grows strong and hearty. Then, one day, a woodsman comes by and chops down one of these trees with his shiny axe. Just takes that heavy steel blade and chops through the soft, fleshy trunk. Then, he drags the tree behind him to chop up for his winter firewood. Now, both trees are vastly different from the original sapling they once were. One tree will continue to grow and change as normal. It will get taller and thicker. Its branches will spread even more. It will be different, but still the same. The other tree, the victim of the axe, has a long way to go before it even begins to resemble a tree again. Right now, it is just a stump. The majestic tree it once was is now keeping the feet of the woodsman warm. The only part of that tree that still exists is its roots, which, fortunately, are strong and unyielding. Over the course of many years, if the conditions are right, the tree will begin to grow again. But, it won't ever grow like it did before, in one, thick trunk. Tiny leafy shoots will sprout up from the stump. The new tree will grow in several different directions. Each offshoot will be less stable than the original tree, and they won't grow nearly as tall, but they will grow.
The person I was less than two months ago is just as dead as Kenley is, and neither one is coming back. I can forge ahead. I can pick up the pieces of my shattered self and try to put them back together again, but Humptey Dumptey was never the same again, and I won't be either. And that is just as hard to deal with as everything else. I will never be who I was. I will never fully return to who I used to be. And that is frustrating. I worked very hard to become that person, and I was finally the person I always knew I was meant to be, after so many years struggling. I already lost my child, to lose myself as well is too much. I have to start all over. From square one, I have to rebuild who I am. It is exhausting. I don't want to do it. I really just want to throw in the towel and be a stump. Some days, I just want to roll over and let the river of grief wash me away. I'm tired of fighting. Of always fighting. I have fought for everything I am my entire life. No part of who I am came easy. I had to put up my fists and defend myself against my demons day in and day out for as long as I can remember. Only in the last few years has it gotten any easier. Only very recently, have I been able to finally sit on the porch with a glass of lemonade and mop my brow. And now, this. How will I win this battle when I am already so weary? How does a stump manage to regrow it's leaves? This is grief. With a few quick chops of its axe, grief cuts you down where you stand, and part of you dies. Just dies. And what regrows in its place isn't the same at all.