I am no stranger to loss, I am well acquainted with death and the gaping hole it leaves. I know all too well what the faceplant feels like when death suddenly pulls the rug out under your feet. The fall is almost slow motion and the impact lingers, pain resonating through you as you try to wrap your thoughts around what just happened. Not to mention the hole that suddenly opens underneath you as you try to collect your bearings… the big, black hole that swallows you as you try to claw your way back to the surface. But you sink and sink and sink… it becomes darker and darker, more and more alone…
Death – the one definite thing we can all be sure of in life, yet it is the one thing that catches us the most off-guard… when we least expect it…
The loss of a loved one – spouse/family member/friend/ yes, even animal, can be an unbearable pain to face, a suffocating pain that leaves you surrounded by people yet feeling so very, very alone – asking why. Screaming to the heavens with pulsating soul as the face cracks a smile and whispers – “I am fine”
“I am fine” … I have learned that these three words are empty shells covering a bleeding being, sheltering it from the expectations of the world to be just that – fine. It’s been months, you should be getting over it by now, right?
Really? Should you? Says who?
I always say the heart is a living organ with a will of its own, the heart chooses when it is ready to “let go”, accept, “move on” … but does it really?
For many of us life is divided into chapters – before death and after death. Before I lost you and after I lost you. This is how we define the “Major” events in our lives. Which basically just comes back to the longing for the person you lost… doesn’t it?
With important events we tend to wish that person was there, a bride wishes her father could have walked her down the aisle, a mother takes it hard on what would have been her sons 21st birthday. A man/woman finds specific times of the year difficult to deal with – anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays… big things, important things, and the little things we usually just take for granted, the things we only realize are important once they are no longer there.
“I am fine” / “I am doing okay” because that is what the world expects of me…
In reality “me time” has turned into a torture session, moments of thinking back, crying, screaming, moments of anger. Being alone has never been so’ lonely… so’ empty… so’ quiet. And the word “me” has an entirely new meaning, a new identity if you will.
The me (before losing you) was different, stronger, happier, more … complete. The me (after losing you) is angrier, lost, emptier – like half of me is lost, ripped out. This me is alone, feels alone… hates the alone-ness I am surrounded with.
No – I have never lost a spouse to death, I am grateful that my amazing better half is still well and breathing. But I have lost friends, I have lost family, I have lost father(s). And with each there is that defining divide. Before you and after you… with every… single… one…
I cannot imagine the pain of losing a spouse, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child! But I know both are things that would completely shatter me!
I see what those around me have to go through, a friend who lost her sister, a wife who lost her husband, a father who lost his daughter – the heartache, the pain, the “I am fine” replies to messages. Their lives as they knew it crashed and fell apart, but the world kept turning… life went on around them, without even as much as a pause in which they could just fall apart and really mourn the loved ones they lost. The sun kept rising and setting and the days kept drifting by…
Shouldn’t the world have come to a standstill, even just for a second or two?
But it didn’t, it never does… the world kept turning as they tried to collect the shattered pieces from off the floor.
Death – in some way we spend our entire lives preparing for it, we prepare for growing old, we prepare so that should we die – our kids are taken care of, our spouses are financially stable. We prepare for the day when we are no longer there… but we cannot truly prepare for the devastation we leave our loved ones behind in.
We can only try to love them in such a way that they are strong enough to keep going without us… that our love will carry them through, long after we are no longer there…
For love is the only thing that outlives us on this earth, it is the only thing that remains long after we are gone. A life that was loved is a life that was lived and a heart that is broken is a heart that was loved.
Let us leave a legacy of love, let our loved ones be sad because the love we leave behind is irreplaceable, with them always, and strong enough to remind them of us, pushing them forward – reminding them not to give up.
“I may be gone my darling, but my love will light the way in the darkness, guiding your feet on the pathway – always”