There comes a point, when crying is not enough. An outward expression cannot serve as an outlet for a pain so deep, and so harrowing. The loss of a loved one, especially one you spent almost every day with, and one whom you always think and speak of, leaves an excruciating void that grows increasingly hollow. It seems a lot easier when time is spent being preoccupied with distractions, because they drown out the pain that is eating you inside. At the end when you have to come back to that place again to face yourself, no amount of tears, screaming, or companionship, can make the experience less painful. You glance at the wound and realize you have to watch it bleed through the layers and layers of bandage strips you thought were supposed to help it heal.
This heartache, which makes you bury your face in your hands, pushes you to your knees and immobilizes you, is a journey of grief. You crumble into a fragile figure and clutch at your heart, think of nothing and weep intensely, ceaselessly. This darkness, where you need someone to hold you silently and carry your grief, is the road of recovery.
Walk the same path that leads to the familiar place called home, latch the door, turn around, and listen. There used to be a familiar voice, often taken for granted, gently asking about how the day has been. Everything – the furniture, cupboards, wardrobes, and dressing table – is positioned almost in the same manner. But every spot feels devoid. Devoid of a certain presence, a certain weight, a certain breath, and a certain warmth. The warmth that meant blood was running, that meant the life that is now invisible.
Close your eyes, and you return to moments: precious moments when you were doing nothing special but had the company of each other, when you had a good laugh at the silliest of things and found joy that could be simple, and when you unexpectedly receive gifts that reminded you to be thankful; regrettable moments when you could have simply chosen love instead of pride, when you forgot the things you promised because you were too tired to be concerned, and when you chose to put yourself above everything else.
In life, we want many things. And in after-life, in the sense of living the life of coping with loss, we regret the many things we wanted. Living with regret, is probably one of the worst feelings. What if there was a second chance to re-live those moments, and amend the wrongs? What if there was a way for me to find out, just where you are right now, so I could compensate for all I had failed to give you?
There is no answer, because this, is what regret is. We hope for redemption, to right the mistakes, to be good again. Had I known this would happen, I would never have chosen to walk out on you when you needed me most. I would never have chosen to withhold the apology you deserved to hear. I would never have chosen those scathing remarks to prove myself right. I would never have.
But truth is, don’t we all know, that this very being we are choosing to prize other things over will one day no longer be around? Don’t we already know that? Yet at the particular point in time, this soul couldn’t be more important than many other things – my pride, my time, and my issues – all of which I center. We still choose to hurt the ones we love, in anger and in pride, because the love we have sometimes just becomes so selfishly reserved for only ourselves.
Being in after-life means we have run out of life’s second chances, to do what we wished we could have done for the one whose loss we are grieving. But as with life, after-life means living. It is a process, a journey, of recognizing which broken relationships we need to mend, and being well aware that every choice made carries consequences that exist beyond the here and now.
It takes little to realize life is about relationships, but much to know, and learn how to live relationships right.