“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, White Nights and Other Stories
Loss colors the endearing moments of the past with a shade of grey and labels them as ‘last’ – the last conversation, the last dinner outside, the last movie, the last books read, the last holiday .. All these common vistages of daily life become enshrined.
We cradle these moments within our grieving hearts for they are our treasures of a lifetime. This is all we got left with. Loss is irreversible, a one way journey, there’s no turning back to embrace these moments one more time, to feel life as it was was once more.
Last evening my little boy proudly showed me how he could ride his bike now without the support wheels. It made me smile but instantaneously tears welled up as I realized it was yet another moment which his mom wasn’t there to witness.
And yet I could see her right there with that beautiful smile, clapping her hands and egging him on. I know she’s always with us but we are humans tethered by emotional chains and we long for the physical presence of the ones we have loved and lost.
It is a testimony to the strength of her character that the last evening she spent outside the hospital was watching our son perform at a school event. It was the same day we got the news that the cancer had relapsed. Yet, she was there as if nothing had happened, smiling and clapping in the audience.
I remember everything of those last months vividly – the last holiday we took, the last few outings, the last few weekends. My mind goes back to the weeks and months before diagnosis when we were still enjoying our innocent lives together.
From the vantage point of the present, I can see clearly how dream like our life was. Without realizing all those moments have become one of the many lasts – the last weekends when life was normal, the last movies watched together, the last few dinners ordered in.
I don’t look back at all this with only gloom and sadness because I also feel immense gratitude for having her in my life. Without experiencing the happiness that we shared, I wouldn’t be surrounded by so much grief. If it’s a price I have to pay for our wonderful years together, I would gladly take all the pain.
Of course I have regrets that I will never experience those moments and that life again. Yet these lasts are part of who I am today, they will forever be my guiding lights in this life and beyond.
Whenever I’m seized by sorrow on empty evenings and nights, I revisit those moments and those places. They hold my hand and walk me through the maze of grief and pain till they bring me to the calmer waters where the pain has numbed.
I have come to realize that to continue on this path and come to a place of healing, it’s important to keep these moments close. My salvation lies in not discarding these moments but rather embracing these and finding peace and acceptance with the fact that as long as I live there will always be a part of me that will be missing and that’s just the way it is now.
Happiness can’t always be found only through laughter and gaiety. Sometimes the sadness that lurks behind is also a part of life. Embracing loss and finding a way to live in spite of it is the real challenge to overcome. There’s no getting over or overcoming loss as people would like you to believe. Loss is a part of us just like love is, now and forever.