It's strange to miss someone you hadn't even spoken to in two years, but I think what I miss is the levity with which I used to think of her. My mind would wander idly, from time to random time, to her or her family, to wonder how she was doing, to make some half attempt at mental math to figure out how old her kids were now, giving up after two seconds. I miss the way that stuff didn't matter. I didn't have to know, I could just assume things were fine, that she was living her life, doing her thing, and her family was doing its thing, just as I was out and doing mine. I miss the way that assumption made remembering her light and easy.
Now, remembering her is weight-heavy, requires greater strength, takes a heftier toll. What's more, I can't stop remembering her now, of course, so I can hardly set the heaviness aside. It makes me tired. It's not that remembering her is in itself a sad thing. The memories are good, they were always good. They still make me smile. It's that the act of remembering her requires that I also acknowledge the heaviness of losing her. So it's strange to miss someone you hadn't even spoken to in years, someone you might not have seen for another year or more, but whose disappearance you still somehow feel. There was levity in not seeing her, but there is pain in being denied the opportunity.
Then, there is the fact that her death was not an accident, or the result of some illness: it was caused by a person, it was a single violent act. It should not have happened. That man should not have committed this act. Failing that, someone should have stopped him. But no one stopped him, and he did not stop himself, and that adds a dark heat to the weightiness of the feeling; it's like holding something hot that doesn't burn you right away, but which you slowly confirm is too hot to hold. It's not an uncomfortable kind, it's an unnoticed-dangerous kind.
I just liked the world better with her in it.
So there is a disquieting weight to be carried around, and maybe now and then some of it sorted out, or set down, some dispersed, the rest picked back up. And we grow strong enough to carry what we have not learned to let go.