“If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light, If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.” Henry Rollins
It’s almost the end of the year and like the years gone by I am on vacation at home. I always wait eagerly for the break and then when it comes I don’t know what to do. I generally read a lot, go on long solo walks listening to audio books. I’m a loner and a recluse.
The other thing I have indulged in lately is watching west wing. It’s a good distraction as I follow the lives of the characters many of whom I feel like I know intimately. Perhaps that is testimony to the absolutely fantastic script writing by Aaron Sorkin. I just finished season three and I’m glad that there are so many more to keep me company.
But in the midst of this all, its hard not to be reminded of the memories of yesteryears. My late wife reveled in planing vacations and this time of the year we would be either vacationing somewhere exotic or at my in law’s place enjoying family time. She was the center of all the festivities, conducting everything with the familiar warmth that all of us had become accustomed too.
There was no burden of grief to carry, no wistful looking over your shoulder, no emotional pain to deal with at the most unexpected of places.People often talk of healing and closure but after close to five years of walking down this path, I don’t know if any such thing exists. The pain is as real as it ever was and I’m beginning to realize that there’s no getting around that.
Holidays can be hard on people who have lost their loved ones because it reminds them of what was and what can never be again and that hurts. But then we are supposed to celebrate and live the moment and be happy when with others but grieve in private. I wonder why that is but it’s just the way it is.
We are often told to be grateful for what we have and to look ahead, not back. But then feelings and emotions defy commonsense and logic. We miss our loved ones dearly and have an emotional need to talk about them, to have the assurance and the safety to rekindle old memories without being judged or being sentenced as people who are stuck in their past.
And yet, none of this actually happens as the world goes on in its wake. No one mentions them anymore, you look at social media filled with holidays, anniversaries and birthdays but no one writes about them anymore. Its like they never existed, so not only we lost them and our shared history but also their place in our current social structures.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this but it did. I guess all of us who have lost someone so close struggle with the duality of our lives. On one hand we live ‘normal’ lives filled with responsibilities, trying our best to make it count, to bring back the happiness for our kids to whom life was so grossly unfair at such a tender age, we work as hard as before or perhaps harder, we try to fit in with people our age who are still fortunately unaware of what losing your soulmate feels like.. we do all these things and more in building a new life.
And yet when we catch a breath and find ourselves alone, there’s nobody around who understands, we are all by ourselves in our agony and our grief. We wait for that one message of understanding and compassion which now comes from a very select few and almost never from most. Birthdays, anniversaries come and go by mostly unnoticed. We soldier through all these alone because that’s the way it is. I wonder how it got this way though..
It hasn’t been easy all these years but I guess I’m a survivor and somehow I have found a way to keep moving forward even though many times it feels like one step forward and two steps back. So this holiday, I will continue to read, write and do the things that still bring me joy. But I wish I didn’t feel so lonely doing all of this. I realize, I’ve been trying all these years to come to terms with this loneliness and it still feels as hard.
As the seasons change, the old gives way to the new and the wheels of life keep moving in their perpetual cycles, erasing our footprints in the sand,I intend to keep writing here because there are things inside us that no one can take away and its in those places that our loved ones continue to live on through us.