Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

I am still grieving for Jim, of course. I know this will go on; it will come, it will go. I am so grateful for everyone’s kindness to me and to the many other people who loved him and respected him. I know there are going to be so many moments in the future when something brings the loss back anew. I can’t imagine what so many things in the future will look like without him — but at the moment, I don’t have to. My job is to mourn and get through.

Every loss contains every previous loss. I grieve for Jim, who was like a dad in some ways, and that brings back losing my own dad some years ago. They were similar in many ways: gentle, emotionally shuttered but tender-hearted men I was lucky enough to connect with. I loved them both, and I believe they loved me, though neither of them ever used that language with me.

The night after he died, I was dozing but I bolted wide awake at the sound of someone rapping on the wall of my second-floor bedroom, four brisk knocks. Not a woodpecker, not a bat or an owl hitting a window, not someone throwing stones to wake me up. At the time I said, That can’t be Jim, because Jim would never knock so hard. But now I wonder if he was saying goodbye on his way out. How I will miss him.

It’s been a weird week, because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went by as though they didn’t even happen. I ate Christmas dinner (brought in from Merchants), I opened presents, I answered emails and ate Christmas cookies and talked on the phone and laptop, and none of it felt remotely like a holiday, though it was pleasant enough.

I haven’t really been able to write for long, or to walk or listen to music. Distraction is the order of the day, but only some sorts of distraction work: mystery novels, some movies but not others. I am bingeing through Bruce Alexander’s Sir John Fielding mysteries, which I read more than a decade ago but hadn’t returned to. I don’t know what I’ll read after that, but since Jim’s death I have been randomly ordering so many books from Abebooks.com that I can’t actually remember what I ordered. I’ll try and read them all, I expect, and at some point soon(ish) I’ll go back to listing the close calls in my 1000 books. I am currently at 520.

Mostly I am just exhausted. Loss is hard, even expected loss. It’s like hauling a heavy blanket everywhere, just…so heavy. I can do most of the things I normally can do, showers and coffeemaking and cooking and the like, but it’s all clumsy and off-gait, if that makes sense. It will get better, in fact already has (I couldn’t have written this two days ago, for instance); but meanwhile I stumble and drop my way through the day, skipping things, ignoring things, distracting myself from things. Thank you for being kind and bearing with me.