Decompressing after family visit and scrutinizing my brother’s nose

I think that by today, my body has fully adjusted to being back in New York on Eastern time. I always adjust right away, but with the baby sleeping on me plus the red-eye, this last flight was a real doozy for me. But more so, I think I am still mentally decompressing from my visit to my family. I was chatting with my therapist today, and she said that I need to work on a plan for myself where I can enter the family visit like it’s just any other day, and leave the family visit without any need to decompress. I told her that I thought that would be nearly impossible. Everything there is such a trigger for me — the hoarding, the clutter, the mess everywhere, the excessive amount of food that I know will inevitably rot or get thrown away; the dilapidation; the weedy backyard; even my brother’s old belongings that still sit around in the bedroom.

Before I put Kaia to bed last night, I was staring at the photo of Ed and me on my bedside table, scrutinizing his nose against mine and trying to figure out if we had the same nose… because if we do have the same nose, then that means Kaia also has Ed’s nose. But the more I stared at it, the more I realized that Ed’s nose was more like our dad’s, whereas mine was more like our mom’s. But Ed and I do share the same eyes. Kaia’s eyes seem to morph, and while sometimes they look like mine, other times they look ambiguous. I then tried to remember his voice, and for a split second I failed, and this deep feeling emptiness came over me. And then out of nowhere, I heard it again. I tried to remember his laugh and could not hear it, though. This is what time does. It’s been over nine years since he’s died, and now I suddenly cannot remember the sound of his laugh. That just felt so heartbreaking to me. Everything seems to fade away over time.

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