It's funny the associations the mind makes between things. How you can be going along about your day, and then out of the blue you come across something. Something that stirs up a remembrance, stirs up memories, and suddenly the years strip away. They say time heals all wounds but I don't think that's true - I think time just dulls the nerves. The wounds never go away.
Loss is an odd thing. It creates a blank spot inside, a place where you used to fill that blank with someone's presence, only they're not there anymore. Yet the space remains. You get used to it, over time, and it never feels as badly as it did that first time you knew that person was gone. It couldn't, I suppose, because that first time, even when it comes as something expected, is always still a moment of shock. Of realizing that this is it, they're gone, and that you are not. After that, it's just a question of getting used to it as much as you can.
Only with the big losses, I don't think we ever really do get used to it. We push it to the background, we deal with it (if we can and we're smart) or we don't (often with unpleasant repercussions), and our lives go on. You don't ever get rid of it, no matter how long you manage to go on. It's always there, sometimes stronger, sometimes not, but it never ever quite leaves. And it comes back in unexpected moments, with unexpected triggers.
Sometimes I think those moments are harder than the initial moment. They aren't, really, having been through them I know from experience the first is always the most difficult. Especially the kind of losses than can take you off your feet, either literally or figuratively, and leave you wandering around in a bit of a daze. But, because those later moments can come at you unexpectedly, and always when you aren't prepared for them, it can be almost as difficult. The only saving grace about them is that they are almost always shorter in duration. A moment's pause, a moment's reflection, and then they pass until the next time.
But they never really go away.