I’d always taken denial somewhat literally. When I’d think of denial, I’d think of someone consciously rejecting the truth. Someone making a concerted effort to pretend something.
The thing about death, though, (especially the death of someone close to you) is that it’s the loss of someone very close to you. Someone you got used to having around. The sun rises in the East, sets in the West, and they’ll always be there. Those things were true. And so when they finally go, you sometimes … forget .. that they’re gone.
Maybe that’s a form of denial, the forgetting. I suppose it’s what people mean when they say things like “Oh god, he’s really gone.” That’s them remembering.
I’ve never really lost someone close to me. I’ve lost three grandparents, all of whom I loved and deeply cared about, but none of which were daily (or even monthly) fixtures in my life. I don’t know what it’ll be like when I finally lose someone truly close to me.
Hopefully I’ll remember. Because the biggest problem with all these forgettings is that when you remember, it’s almost like losing them all over again.