“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”
“I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroken. When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind. Some people don’t know grief from garlic grits. There are some things a body ain’t meant to get over. No, I’m not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away. A death in the family is like having a pile of rocks dumped in your front yard. Every day you walk out and see those rocks. They’re sharp and ugly and heavy. You just learn to live around them the best way you can. Some people plant moss or ivy; some leave it be. Some folks take the rocks one by one, and build a wall.”
87,655 hours. That’s how long it has been since I saw my dad alive.
3652 days. That’s how many days I relive the horrors of that night, something I probably will until I stop breathing.
23/08/2005. That’s the day I changed. For better or worse? I have no idea. I can’t even remember who I was before then. It all seems like a dream. When I try to remember the pre-2005 years, I have a hard time picturing how I really was. It all seems like I’m seeing someone else’s memories.
Back to that night, how to describe it. I have never told anybody what really happened that night. The official story was He died of cardiac arrest, but that’s just what it is – Official. To understand how horrible that night was for me, one would need to know how close I was to him. And how much I looked up to him, I used to think my dad would live forever. Okay, maybe I didn’t think it like that but I just didn’t believe death would come knocking soon, I thought he would live into his 90s, maybe 100s but I got a reality blow that night – Things end and death represents the finality of all ends.
Crazy thing is, I couldn’t really cry. I was too numb and unable to think. I walked up to the car where he sat limp and lifeless in the front passenger seat held only by my elder brother who sat in the back seat. I kept thinking he would wake up and play an April fool’s joke on us but this was August and I was the only fool. I had never felt such despair and hopelessness before, I just wanted to wake up and discover it had all been a bad dream. And I slept and woke up but it wasn’t a dream, daddy wasn’t at home and he wouldn’t be coming back ever again. How was I supposed to move on? I had no idea. Even writing this, I see that I can’t ever move on. You can’t ever move on when there is finality to the loss of a loved one. You just find a way to live around the loss.
So what changed in me? I learnt to deflect attention from me, I couldn’t let anyone see how badly I was suffering, I got wittier, withdrew, learnt to put a smile on my face even when there a class-5 storm inside of me, I learnt to pretend that everything was alright. Sometimes, I failed and the pain leaks out but for the past 10 years, I have been doing a pretty good job, I plan to. I just don’t want to be saved. It’s like the pain has become my own identity, it’s the only way I know I can still feel. Every emotion or feeling I have had since then has been built on that pain. Hate, Joy, love, sadness, happiness, anger. The pain became the very foundation of which I am, add the other pains I have accumulated over the years and deep inside me, something only I can see is a big ball of pain which makes up the core of who I am. So saving me form the pain will feel like who I am is being erased and re-written at a core level. Who wants that?
I couldn’t sleep last night; I went to bed by 10pm, woke up around midnight and lay in bed with my eyes open for till the sky cleared. The following week after the 23rd of August, for the past 5 years has been my week of pain, it is the only time in the year where I let go and allow the pain consume me. I become a total mess, I stay in bed all day, lazy to get up and eat or do anything, I cry and think and cry and think and repeat until I feel drained. I never wake up with a dry pillow. I’ve come to embrace and dread it at the same time. And this year may be worse; I’ve never been in a relationship during these periods until now. And it has been the happiest I have ever been in 10 years, I smile for real but before I could tell my girlfriend about it, she hit me with the “She needs space (In her words; lots and lots of space)”, I have no idea where that came from and the only meaning I gave to it was that I was choking her and being overbearing. So I don’t think she will be there for me and listen to me when I feel like rambling, I don’t even know if I want to tell her anymore (I eventually may), but in the meantime, my hurt is double and I don’t know if I will come out of this with my mind in one piece. So I am, or am not, looking forward to going through hell alone.
So my nights are going to be the worst, and my days are going to be lifeless. Imagine having someone in your life and not being able to tell them what you are going through because they seem to not want to care. If you can imagine it, well, you have my support too.
But Life goes on. And we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even though we have no idea where the dark road leads.