At first, I wasn’t even able to think. I don’t know how long that lasted; probably not very long. Then I reached for my words, to help me understand, but my words weren’t there. I fell back on wisdom earned at a dreadful cost: “Do the next right thing.” And for a long, long time, so long that Vanessa wondered what was wrong with me, the next right thing was to sit, and be silent. And then, it was time to make a small donation to the fund established for the burial expenses for Brandon. So I did that, and then I was quiet again. I faced that mountain of grief, that represented all of the pain and loss ShadowDancer and the people who loved her were experiencing, and I had no idea of how to deal with it.
Last time, Shadow was mostly alone– her support was narrowed down dangerously low even before that loss, for reasons born of good and bad.
Since Damien’s loss, she’s managed to rebuild it, at least in part; this time, I think she knows she’s not alone. Their iron has been tempered; she and her family are hurt, injured, but I’m not as afraid that someone will break. Losing Brandon is… unspeakable, but this time I’m not as afraid of her sinking away after.