I visited the hospital this afternoon with a couple friends who met me up there. The hospital really is beginning to feel lonely and empty. There are plenty of people still there but something about it feels different. For a while, I’d become a welcomed visitor to everyone. I’d sit and chat and the whole section would joke and laugh and chat together. But now when I arrive, I often feel like a stranger; I feel looked upon as an outsider. I don’t know that I am, but I feel that way at times. And yet as I visit with my friends, I can’t help but meet the new patients moving in. They’re sweet and wonderful as well. I feel guilty at times because I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in them the same way I have been with the others for the last two months, though. There are times when literally, someone will come and find me in another part of the hospital and jokingly (in all seriousness) ask me why I haven’t yet visited them. I now make a point to at least walk up and down the aisles and at least say hello to everyone. Some of them, whom I have never even officially stopped and chatted with greet me by name. While I miss those who have left terribly, I haven’t called them. I feel guilty for that as well. Many of them, I have grown to love dearly and yet, I haven’t the time to call them. But really, the reality is I need to make some time and just do it. I know they would be happy to hear from me and I would be happy to talk with them as well. Hopefully I can make some time to do that soon.
Life continues to move forward and January 12 sometimes feels like the distant past. We haven’t forgotten the tragedy as we are in one way or another reminded of it daily. Yet, it still feels so long ago. It will have been two months ago on Friday.