I’ve gotten into the habit of journaling before yoga class. I find journaling to be incredibly cathartic and therapeutic. It’s been especially great before yoga class because I found that it allows me to clear my head and get rid of some of my pent up emotions before participating in class, thus giving a bit more mental peace and space before engaging in my practice.

Today, I went up to the yoga studio without my journal. I thought I was running a bit late, but when I got there, I was the only one in the room. I considered going back down to my locker to get my journal, but then I decided against it. I figured it would be nice to take some time to just sit in silence, breathe, and meditate. I hadn’t just sat still on my own for a while.

I laid out my mat and grabbed a cushion, sat down and closed my eyes. As soon as I did, it started to rain outside. The rain was loud — and the only person I think of when it rains is my brother. He loved the rain, particularly this type of forceful rain.

I don’t know what it was that I felt while sitting on that cushion and listening to the rain. I just know I was thinking of him.

Over the past several months many people have said to me – he’s with you … but I don’t feel that.

I still feel incredibly connected by our memories and the love we shared, but I don’t feel like he is with me.

He is dead.

The only thing I feel is that emptiness.

During those 10 minutes of solitude and silence – except for the rain and my breath, I could really feel the weight of that emptiness.

I have decided that it is not an emptiness that I want to fill. That space is for him.

I can’t remember if I cried while sitting there. I just know that I was very still and I was very present in that moment of time.

After about 10 minutes, the rain stopped and as soon as it did, people started to enter the room. I was brought back to the present – but this time I was more aware of the physical presence of other people and other things around me.

After class I sat down to journal. This is something I wrote:

I was glad to have had that time to just sit still.

I did that a lot right after my brother had died, but I hadn’t done that so much since moving back to Kuwait. It was a great reminder that stillness and silence are still what I need to heal. I do not want to get through each day feeling distracted and busy. I want to be present, even if the present is painful. I want silence and stillness to allow myself to miss my brother and continue to grieve.

It’ll be 11 months on May 5th … and then in June I will be getting on a plane once again to fly to Dhaka to be with my parents to mark the completion of 1 year since he died. How awful is that? There are no words to adequately express what this loss has done to me. It has changed everything in me.

Today’s journaling made me acknowledge that change. I think my move back to Kuwait was accompanied by the expectation that things would go back to the way they were … but they didn’t. How could they? Things are different. I am different.

I came to realize that I need to respect this change in myself. When I was on my own, it was easy. I didn’t have to worry about or even consider others. After moving back here – being with D, restarting work, socializing once again with old friends, as well as some new – I lost that space. While I do not plan on staying in complete isolation (though, if I’m totally honest, it is very tempting), I think I need to take more time for myself to just be. I’m not ready yet to be around others. I don’t want to be. Not yet. Not yet. For now, I need more silence. I need more stillness. I still need to grieve.