I’ve talked about the technical challenge of drawing this comic, and the emotional difficulty of sitting down to make it. But the hardest part was completing it.

That’s because it meant taking the message I’d written into it, the message that I knew in my head had to be said, and accepting it.

It wasn’t easy to be a “widow” at an age when most of my peers hadn’t even lost a parent yet. When I lost Jay, I was just wise enough to reassure myself that, “My life isn’t over…” but already bitter and cynical enough to follow that with, “…only the good part is.”

There’s a scene in the worst Star Trek movie ever, where Kirk says, “I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!” And he’s right. We can try to cover it up with booze and drugs and sex and launching a quixotic career making comics, but the pain remains a part of us. As Anne Bancroft’s character says about it in Harvey Fierstein’s (much better) film Torch Song Trilogy, “It becomes a part of you, like learning to wear a ring or a pair of eyeglasses. You get used to it. And that’s good. It’s good, because it makes sure you don’t forget.”

Remembering is difficult. But moving on with that memory is the really hard part.

NEXT: A sexy pin-up!