Tsunami: A Word on Death

January 29, 2011
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It’s your worst nightmare and your greatest fear. It’s the scene you automatically conjure up when you have a feeling something bad is about to happen. But it’s always just a vision; it’s not real. It’s something distant, something imaginary; something that can’t touch you. Or so you think. Until one day, it doesn’t just touch you… It slaps you, it punches you in the face, it shoves you onto your knees and kicks you in the stomach. It rips your heart out and leaves you curled up in a ball. It’s the moment you just found out someone has died. And the imaginary just became your reality. Your own personal hell, the one you thought would never come true. The one you thought of only when you were feeling down. It’s here and it’s now. Someone just died, what are you going to do about it? I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. You’re going to react in a way even more dramatic than what you pictured in your visions. You’re going to remain curled up for what will seem like forever. You will stay on the ground. When you feel you’re starting to get up, you WILL get knocked down again somehow. Why? Because it comes in waves. Everything comes in waves –the feelings, the thoughts, the pain, the memories. They gather up, travel a distance, then crash and break on the shores of your bruised heart. And then they recede, only for a little while, before the waters rise and another wave is heading your way.

The thoughts go something like this: first, you’ll constantly go back and forth, beginning with “He’s gone,” and then, “No he isn’t.” “Yeah he is…no he can’t be,” and finally, you might get a little stable and understand that he truly is gone. You’ll think of the way he’s just buried in the dirt. He’s just a body. That happy, cheerful and free person, is now beneath your feet when you’re standing at his grave. You’re up here and he’s down there, you’ll think about that one a lot. Most of all, however, you’ll go crazy over thinking about how he was here just last week. You idiots, are you all crazy? He was laughing with me just last week, he kissed me on the cheek! Yes, this cheek right here (you point to your cheek where he last kissed you). So how do you expect to tell me now he actually doesn’t EXIST? It was just last week! And this chain of destructive thinking will eat away at your mind, because you absolutely cannot absorb or grasp the idea that he was more than alive a week ago and now he’s something that’s the total opposite, but you can’t exactly understand what it is. Sure, you know it’s called death, but you have no clue what that really means. At some point down the road, you’ll realize you’ll never see him again (unless you’re a strong believer and think you’re going to see him when you die) and this is the thought that will break you the most. Because of it, now everything that seemed so silly is now so important. All the little things are the world to you now because they’re all you have left.

The memories, now that’s the most bittersweet one of them all. You love them, you’re so unbelievably grateful for every moment you can remember. But at the same time, it’s a two-edged knife. The memories will haunt you, infest every little area of your brain and take over every thought you have. Same as before, all the things you can remember which once upon a time seemed silly are now your everything. You cling to every shred of him you can remember, from his smile to his hair to the things he used to say. You try to remember everything, you close your eyes really tight and try to focus so hard in attempt of saving them forever. You try to really imprint them, engrave them and etch them into your mind so that you never forget.

The feelings… This is where the real pain lies. Your feelings are torturous. War techniques don’t compare because you would prefer physical torture any day. You would choose anything over this, over longing for someone in such a way but knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. They tell you to visit his grave, but you wonder what good that would do because it’s a paradox within itself. The entire cemetery represents things that are the total opposite of everything he used to be. He isn’t there! Maybe physically he is, even though you might sometimes doubt that he’s down there. You might think up small conspiracy theories in your head that say they took his body and shipped it off to Mars for the aliens, because there is no way people just stood around and watched his body be lowered into the dirt. You can’t even imagine him laying still, so un-alive. Before you know it, the aching will reflect itself physically. You won’t sleep or you’ll sleep too much. You’ll become anorexia itself or you’ll eat like there’s no tomorrow. Ring a bell? Yes, these are some of the symptoms of depression. That’s a hint for you, because you probably will develop some form of depression. Every time you miss him, your heart will literally ache. It will long for his conversations, his sweet heart, and his hugs.

No, I don’t have a magic cure. I don’t even have advice. I won’t lie and say it made me a better person. I will say one thing though. Sometimes, between the raging waves of Monos, there are peaceful moments when you’re accepting of what has happened and you feel a great sense of love and warmth for this person. But that’s all there is, that’s the only comfort you will get. It’s the single pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone, no matter what. So when they say live every moment like it’s your last, do it. Don’t always believe that death can happen to everyone but it will never happen to you, or someone you know. Appreciate people, love them, and let them know how special they are. I don’t blame you though, because even after all this, there’s a part of me that can’t picture someone dying again. It’s just too abstract, too out of the question and I’m just too afraid to imagine going through that again. So I refuse to believe death happens, even though it already did. Illogical, but sometimes in order to cope with the things we can’t control, we’ll make use with anything.

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