Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.
Have you had days when you didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning? Have there been days you just couldn’t bring yourself to look at the ever growing list of things that a living person just has to get to?
The holiday season of festivities, of Christmas, New Years, Valentines, Birthdays and Anniversaries are not a particularly favorite time with me. I squander most of such days by sleeping it away.
I dread being invited to gatherings where happy people congregate because I didn’t want to feel like I have to work extra hard to “blend in” so as not to ruin it for others or made to feel like I am a kill joy or a social misfit for others if I don’t.
I attended a local Community Grief Talk several weeks ago where people who have lost loved ones came because they realised they needed some help out of their own loss and grief. Some spoke of losing their children, some of spouses, and in all of these faces, etched a very deep pain that had scarred the heart for good that only another one of us will really understand.
If I had not felt a pain to such a degree as I had, I would not have understood more than what I need to know. I would have shrugged or turned off when the same topic is being raised again by the same person. I would have thought that such persons are merely attention seekers and I should not encourage it.
I did speak with one or two couples just briefly during the coffee break and just like them, I understood that none of us were really in any mode for a social chat. And the silent understanding, smiles, nods and courtesies suffices in putting us all in a very comfortable place of our own. It was as though each of us were living in an independent bubble of our own and we were all floating about day after day until the time is ready for us to break out from it and land our feet back on the ground once again.
It does get better, you know. I can never imagine the progress that I have made than when I was in the first year. I am entering into my 23rd month now and I think it’s a little like, as though someone had gone through a really bad accident, although survived but had all the permanent scars to remind them of that event over and over again.
You will never be the same. It is not possible to go through it and still not change anything. I still cry. I still feel pain in my chest every morning when I wake up and feel a lost void space when I chanced upon something beautiful throughout the day and realised that I could not share it with him.
I have cleaned out the Sick Room recently. When before, even breathing was painful to me. An exercise that dramatically rid the memories of the suffering which my beloved husband has to endure with Cancer seemed to loosen its grip on me. It allowed me to breathe a little easier and even managed to want to do something fun with the children or to be in the company of other adults on some days and actually enjoyed it afterwards.
I am still not able to clear out his clothes, his personal favorite items especially if those were the items he had used them daily before. I still have yet to lose the toothbrush.
I learnt that these are called the ‘linking objects’. As long as one has them, you will always be linked to the memories of the departed. Even this house which he had built for us. It's like a Memorial shrine to me. Should I just fanatically wipe out every memory of him in order to be free? So what if I want to carry a part of him forever in me? I am made better only because my life has crossed path with his and I don’t ever want to forget him. Even if I should move out of this house, I doubt that would hold the key to finding the secret elizir to cure the deep yearnings for someone whom you had and still love more than life itself.
I am learning how to live again. I am learning to look into a beautiful bloom and not feel the hurt cutting deep into me. I am learning to think that maybe it’s really okay if I did something today and actually enjoy it without feeling guilty about it.
I am working on drawing a personal checklist of things or places I want to see or do and really learn how to live again.