I suppose I shouldn’t do this, but I am going to anyway.
This time two years ago, I was mourning my beautiful cousin, who had died of cancer the month before. I was thinking negative thoughts about valentine’s day. I was looking after my mother and quietly running the house – I had no idea she was going to die a few weeks later. Not one GP picked up anything on blood tests, ECG blah blah blah – either in England or South Africa. No need to worry, look further, or see a specialist … according to them. The local guy gave her alzam/xanax … then she saw a homeopath (it’s not my thing), who was incredibly astute and kind and helpful – and also the first fucking medic to ring alarm bells.
Too late, obviously.
Okay I can’t do any more of this right now. So, back to the present. 2015. Nextofkin is sad and struggling as much as I am, but we are six thousand miles apart. Nextofkin sees signs and omens in things, I stare balefully at reality. Neither one of us finds any solace, but life goes on, time passes, water flows and the road goes ever on and on. The grief is quieter right now. It sleeps and snores so that I know it’s there and from time to time it wakes, startled, roaring and flailing.
As Big Tiger said, “it can’t be helped.”
I asked an old friend of my mother, who had lost her parents young, how she coped. She said, “I didn’t really, it doesn’t go away, but if you accept that it will always be there, you can carry on with your life.” The most intensely powerful and profound concepts often arrive, soft footed and whispering. You have to listen carefully, you have to let it wander around your mind and consciousness. Words like cogitate and ruminate apply too. It’ll all unfurl in a rather lovely way. Eureka without the exclamation mark.
I guess every loss erodes us a bit more. Important losses … well, they take more (wrenched heart, torn soul). Suddenly you realise that you have lost a witness to your life and your dreams. You’ve lost someone who kept your secrets safe, who knew you and loved you anyway. You are left with their secrets and perhaps a decision to make about them. Their smell fades and disappears, their voice becomes less audible, it’s harder to see them – and that is exactly how it ought to be, but it still rips you apart. And you realise that everything you thought you knew about love, loss, heartbreak changed, took a step sideways and … and nothing. I don’t know.
We’ve all lost something or someone and the loss shook the foundations of our existence, so we all know how it feels, how it fades and progresses and ebbs and flows. This is the human condition and we are human. Humans. We share the same pain, even if we experience it alone.
One thing that surprises me every time, but makes me feel a little better about myself, is that I still love other people’s loves and dreams and happiness just as much as mine. I wish on stars for the people I love and the people they love.