I’m sure many people would assume immediately that I would be devastated– I mean a childhood friend just passed out of my life forever, I will never see her again and there’s nothing I can do about it – but frankly I don’t know what I am. There’s this part of me, the part that understands empathy and knows it is okay to feel, that knows that I can be sad and express my emotions, but then there’s a stronger part of me that doesn’t want to feel anything. A stoic part of me, which hearkens back to Marcus Aurelius perhaps, that says emotion should be held back, that life is pain and this is just some more to add to the heaping pile that resides corrodes the bottom of my heart. I don’t know which person is me though. All I know is I have no idea what to do with myself.
This isn’t the first person I have lost who was close to me in some way, and this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this, had to go through this tearing of my personality into the person I am and the person I show others. The emotional part wants desperately to free itself, but I won’t let it. It’s a struggle that exhausts me, and leaves me empty most nights. I have very few friends and even fewer people with whom I confide in, and losing any of those people is impossibly difficult.
My Grandfather, for whom I am named after, passed last year right after Christmas. I didn’t cry then either, I didn’t feel anything frankly. But there is still something that eats at me to this day; possibly it is the guilt of knowing that I should have cried and didn’t, the pain of knowing that I continued to act the stoic in a time when I was most vulnerable. He was one of the few men I have known in my life who was so kind and so wise that I would gladly live in squalor and destitution if only I could live as he did. And losing him killed a part of me that I don’t know will ever grow back fully. But still, here I am. I have to keep living, and I know that he would want me to.
And now with the loss of my friend, I don’t know where to look, who to go to, what to feel, what to think. I am a boat adrift in harbor, waiting for a line to be cast which will anchor it, but it never comes. Only bigger and stronger waves come, and push me further from land, and soon I fear that I will lose all sight of land, left adrift in an endlessly empty and endlessly deep sea.
I don’t write this for sympathy, in fact if you want to leave sympathetic words I ask that you keep them to yourself; I have no need nor room for them in my heart. I do this simply for myself, because I am human and in the end we all care for ourselves more than anything in this world.
To quote EE Cummings: "in time of daffodils (who know the goal of living is to grow) forgetting why, remember how."
Maybe I just need to remember how.
Rest in peace, to all my loved ones and yours. I may not be religious, but for the sake of those who have passed, I truly and deeply hope they are in a better place.