Sometimes I wonder what’s the point of it all. We work, we eat, we live, we pray, we fight and we die.
We just die. We stop breathing and we cease to exist.
All that effort, every single drop of blood shed, whisked away in an instant. To be snuffed out like a candle, when everything seems to be going your way.
What is the point of it all?
There are days when nothing seems worthwhile and other days when everything makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. That’s life, though, isn’t it?
I lost a friend earlier this week and although it’s been five days, I can’t stop thinking about her every single day. Every morning begins with the sight of her face and a vision of her kids, wondering how they will now have to wake up to a life, every day without their mother. A husband will sit across from an empty chair, his eyes holding the tears of a lifetime.
Then, this evening, out on my walk, a chance conversation with a friend turned into a reliving of her personal story of loss- one that shook me to the core. To lose someone is bad enough, but to lose them and then be denied access to their remains is a whole new level of grief. I cannot share more details, out of respect for her and her privacy.
Because, no matter what I say, one’s grief is intensely personal. People walk up to me and say, ‘I am sorry for your loss. I know how it feels’. And a part of me wants to shake them hard and scream, ‘You don’t! You can’t know how it feels. You don’t know how it feels to feel the tears well up in your eyes right in the middle of a happy scene in a movie or feel a tugging of intense sadness amidst the crazy dance moves belted out by your nine-year-old. You don’t know!’
But I cannot say it. I must smile sadly and nod in agreement, because that’s what we do. We put on the masks of propriety and social decorum because who wants to see a grown woman cry with tears streaming down her face every time she walks past the badminton court and recalls the thrill of playing a sweaty, invigorating game with that best friend?
All those inspirational messages and happy posters on the wall about enjoying the journey are somehow wasted, utterly and completely wasted, when I think of a 41-year-old woman struck down without reason.
Yet (yes, of course there’s a yet), it’s not all in vain. We step out, you know, when this happens. We step out of our comfortable cocoons of mundane and pedestrian coffee-drinking and stand for a few minutes in the rain. Soaking up the warmth of the sun mitigates the cold hand of despair, albeit in a small way. We call up friends, reach out to them, hoping they will give us their hands.
Most often, they do. Sometimes, they don’t, because we have been too busy for them. We have been living our shells of lives, shutting out the noise of reality. And it hurts. It hurts like the dickens when you are misunderstood and friends turn away and a part of you stops explaining anymore.
But, the point of it all?
The point of it all is that although we are hurtling down the same track towards the inevitable, a part of us will always want to stay right here, in some way or the other. In my mind, I am hoping that it will be two things that I leave behind:
my words and my character.
Everything else will disappear with me.
That’s as it should be.