Life, Loss, And The Importance Of Remembering


“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ― A.A. Milne

I know the world is unyielding and cold, and it can hurt you beyond measure. I also know it doesn’t mean to hurt you anymore then we mean to hurt an ant who wandered under our boot. It’s not personal. I also know it is beyond hard not to take it personally. How easy it would be to have the universe take the blame for everything. Tomorrow, I will try to be a better version of myself. I will try to remind myself that you are no longer in pain, that you fought a long and hard fight, and that all the shit you had to endure is over. But I don’t think that’s how today will go. I think today I’m going to be pissed. Anger has always been the longest and most intense stage of grief for me. I’m going to be sad, I’ll cry. I’m going to miss you and feel let down by medicine and hate that somehow you got dealt the hand you did.

Tomorrow, I will try to push the tears from my eyes and act sensible. As I ache to cut the ties between my brain waves and the beating of my heart, the impossibility of it will find me. Though it may be an exercise in futility, I will search for meaning. I will hope to find rationality and sense in a world that is unreasonable. And when the tears swell my eyes, and my bones feel too weak to stand I will find a way to get through it, because that is what you do. This is a familiar pain, and yet each time it crushes me anew. I can’t help but wonder if I am being built up as slowly and surely as the mountains that now stand so high? Or is this pain an ocean, slowly wearing me down until I will be a fraction what I was. Sand being thrust across the shore as the waves crash against it with no way to fend off the attack, left to simply allow the waves to take me where they will. Do I stand tall or fall short? I hope it is the former.

I feel selfish for focusing on my pain now. No matter how much you think you’re ready for it, when the big moments come, they don’t hit you like you would expect. I’ve long been convinced that life doesn’t change in the big bangs people think it does. It changes in ordinary instants, no different from every other ordinary instant that passes. One ordinary instant gone unimaginably, horribly, unbearably wrong. The first time I experienced visceral, true grief, beyond what I thought was possible, like a good scientist I read up on it. I took in everything I could on the subject, because knowledge is power and all that. It turns out there are no answers for situations like this. Mostly what I’ve learned is it doesn’t get better necessarily, it just gets….less. There are days it hits you the same as the moment you heard it, and days you can think of them and smile. I look forward to the days that I think of you and smile.

There’s not always a reason things happen. Sometimes, they just do. No one can ever convince me certain things happened for a reason. I can find meaning around the situation. How it made me stronger than I ever wanted to be. How it gave me the courage to leave home, because there didn’t seem to be a reason to stay. How some of my friendships were strengthened from it. But the actual events themselves…I can’t find any meaning for them. They have just become these horrible things I live with. A person can get used to anything, given enough time. It doesn’t mean I like it or that it is easy. And while it is straightforward that we mourn death we also mourn for ourselves. Because we don’t ever get to be quite the same again. I have often, perhaps selfishly, thought it is harder to be left behind. Losing someone doesn’t just take part of you with them, but it makes you realize how fragile everyone is. And who wants to be fragile?

I know why I yearn to breathe life into the dead. Why I talk about them and write about them, when most people might prefer to stay silent. But when you keep them alive, you keep them with you. It helps bring about the clarity that is the fact they weren’t a dream, that they were very much real and live on in your memory. It gives a whisper of life to the co-rememberer, and makes the memories more tangible. I always feel like when I stop talking, they stop being real. To be forgotten, to have those who love you become mute, that is worse than dying. No matter how much it may hurt to speak, to write, to remember, it is all I have.

One day, as unthinkable as it is now, this won’t hurt as much. We must take care of ourselves as best we can. Live, since we have so fortunately been given the change to. Mourn when our heavy hearts can no longer bear the weight of grief. And we must remember, in spite of the pain in remembering, so the ones we love are never forgotten.

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