Bear with me here. I’m allowed to put my English major to use and draw melodramatic symbolism from the weather every once in a while, and I’m getting it out of my system now. (Creative Writing professors basically get paid their entire salary to slash out weather metaphors with red pen. And to quote a lot of dead people/sometimes wear berets.)

One thing I can really appreciate about summer in Florida is the way its skies are permanently beautiful even though it rains at least 62 times a day. You don’t have to worry about grey overcast. If you can power through the sticky swampiness of our daily flash floods, you’ll be rewarded by a heavenly Jimmy-Buffet-inspired-rainbow-colored-Trix-yogurt-troposphere. As long as you bring an umbrella and an oversized inflatable life raft with you everywhere you go, you can step outside to bright, blinding sunshine and a jacket-free temperature.

My 2012 was a wonderful year full of ridiculously fun, light-as-a-feather memories and friendship and new opportunities and personal growth and everything else it was supposed to be, right up until the last two weeks of the school year. I accepted the distressing news and lived my grief to its fullest for as long as possible, unwilling to let go of the sentiment attached to it. But exactly three years later, I feel so disconnected. I have been tempted to ignore it in the areas of my life that is possible, to pretend it has passed, to compartmentalize. But then I felt that May 29th sunshine and I am 16 again.

It’s really amazing how, when horrible news comes at you like a poison-coated butcher knife to the stomach, you can feel so immersed in sadness and worry that a year’s worth of happiness can be wiped from your memory in one fluid motion. You’re checked out, you’re miserable, just gone for a day or two. The clock ticks on but nothing feels different at all. But the thing is, life moves on whether you’re willing to participate or not. The old year ends and the new year starts and the clouds move in the sky and the sun comes out in the morning.

That low feeling is never erased over time, but something about a warm, bright new day reminds you that life will always continue to regenerate itself. Just like my bad news came out of nowhere amidst a previously great year, a sky of rich color and warmth can still exist in the thick of showering rainfall. There’s always hope, even when you’re not looking for it.

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