After Aaron’s death, I pretty much became a hermit, retreating to my tiny, one-bedroom apartment for the next three years. I slowly withdrew from his family as their daily pain in losing a son and a brother was too painful to witness. The only thing I accomplished during this period was graduate with a B.S. in Physical Education which, as I’ve said earlier, I had no intentions of using.
I spent my days watching romance-comedy movies, and cried. I didn’t give up on my running or biking though. I bought a mountain bike and rode that all around the town. Other times I’d ride eight miles to the nearby walking/running trail and ran three miles, and then bike back home. Exercise was pretty much my only outlet.
At least, it was something.
By the end of the three years, I decided that I had enough of being alone. I felt ready to return to the “world.” I’d been living in an apartment complex for the elderly where they accepted me because of my disabilities, charging me only a small percentage of what I received in my monthly social security benefits. But at the age of 27, I felt that I still had enough of my vision remaining to go back to work, and not rely solely on them.
So, I took a big leap of faith and moved out, and into a regular apartment in the nearby city of Ithaca. I got two part-time jobs; one as a clerk at a video rental store, and the other as a fitness trainer at the local YMCA. I struggled financially, but the bills still got paid and I had some food in the pantries. I slowly weaned myself off of social security. I regained my independence as I now was in a place where I could either take a bus or walk to pretty much anyplace I needed.
For the first time in a long time, I felt content. Happiness still eluded me though. I still had the gaping hole in my heart, and my chest would ache so, especially at nights as I lied in my bed. I couldn’t escape the loneliness. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was missing something.