I know I suffer from denial. I can easily forget for hours at a time that she is gone. I don't live with them anymore. I can think that she is home with dad. At their house, I can make myself believe she is at camp without me. But at camp, the one place I thought I would be ok at, at camp she is haunting me. I am the only one of my siblings who ever stayed there for long periods of time without her. I am the one who begged them not to sell it when she first got sick, because they thought no one would want it. They gave the camp to me. And I thought I would be the only one who would be ok there, because I have always loved it there.
Yet, there, in her beloved camp, she is EVERYWHERE. Her laughing, her joking, her singing, it's there. The little nick-knacks I helped them collect there, the things my brother's hated and called excessive- the singing bears and the stuffed moose- "over-the-top" they complained, each of those things she delighted in and I loved to buy them. She is in each of those things. Her ashes are there.
She wanted them there. The one place she truly loved and felt happy. There is where the grief becomes real, oppressive, it sits on my chest and presses down on me. There is where I know for sure that she is gone, even when I see her there reading on the deck, kayaking on the lake, or stoking the fire picking on me because somehow I am unable to get a fire going or keep it going.