Autumn's death had hit my heart like a grenade, and I was completely without shelter. The whole world blinked out, and my body seemed to physically ache for days on end. I cried at night, all alone in my small bedroom. My dad didn't go to work for a few weeks. When I saw even my mother cry, I knew that something was terribly wrong, because she's the toughest person I know.

Suddenly, nothing matters anymore. My school guidance counselor (who Mom made me see) told me that Autumn would want me to keep living my life, even if it hurts. That, just because she's gone physically doesn't mean that she's not in my heart, and more junk like that. I know Autumn, and she wouldn't want to have been forgotten. And I'm not going to let her be.

Each night, after dinner, I would sit on my old, dusty bedspread and remember things about Autumn. I would run facts about her through my head like I was studying for a hard test. Sometimes, I'd try to draw her on notebook paper, the way I used to whenever I could get her to stay still. It was a few months after her death before I began to forget things like what her favorite fruit was, or how she had held her pencil. Once, I had a mini-meltdown because my brain couldn't remember the exact color of her eyes, and I cried for hours.

"What's up, Park?" my friend Greg had said to me one day, a few weeks after Autumn passed. I just stared at him with confusion and a little disgust. It wasn't his fault, I knew. He had no conceivable idea of what was going on in my heart. But I was just repulsed by his normality. Later I felt bad, because he was my buddy, and he knew Autumn too. But sometimes I hate myself and my thoughts, and I guess that's just the way it is.

But life went on, somehow. My dad mowed the grass every Saturday; my English teacher assigned homework; we got phone bills. Autumn was still constantly around my family, though. Her memory was hanging above us, and everything felt so, so wrong without her. Once, my mom tried to hug me, but it was just really awkward and so we felt bad, gave each other a sad look, and walked away from one another.

Autumn was my sister, and I didn't realize how much I loved her. Some people cope by never talking about their loss, and some cope by always talking about it. Me? I don't cope at all.