In Memory Of...
by Lydia Nolan
© August 4, 2012

In Memory Of..
by Lydia Nolan
© August 4, 2012
The loss of a family member, or a friend or lover, hits me like an arrow to the heart: arrows that strike violently, the impact, which signifies a momentary loss of time and space: disorientation, slowed motion, matter what the dynamics of the relationship, no matter what the distance was between us, or the last issue, or any unresolved, or perhaps the sweetest of memory to the contrary... It is nonetheless devastating. I am hit with an emotion that catches me off guard and is strangely surreal.
It is so hard to lose someone--anyone. It's not easy to say inside ourselves, "goodbye....forever, my..." A last instant of possession, knowing full well- they have slipped through our virtual fingers, out of the gilded cage of life, and they are no more instances of the human reality to experience together.
An in-depth realization perhaps in levels of significance: a mother, father, a brother, a sister, a cousin, a friend; a spouse, a child... They let go the hand of time and fly to somewhere I cannot go, nor fathom; not until I go there myself. So--I am left at the door of the living, watching them in my mind's eye, disappear into the unknown realm of afterlife...wherever that may be...and now, all I can do is try not to forget what they looked like, sounded like, what I felt when I was with them or spoke to them. It is eerily surreal not to be able to visit with them ever again, on earth.
It is NEVER easy, NEVER...though it may be experienced through levels, the pain sharpest at the onset then comes and goes intermittently, then there is the slow-growing chronic pain in the heart--missing them.
Sometimes, I stand there and say to myself: I don't feel anything, and I think I've dodged the pain. Then, I may be hard at labor on a project or sleeping soundly, or even talking with friends, and suddenly the wave of pain, the torrent of tears, the exasperation, the choking tightness in the throat...comes all at once, and I think for a moment...I can't handle this, it hurts too much, I can't go on with this loss--I want to die, too... and finally it subsides and I made it through.
Initially, the pain is like a fiery dart that seers through the chest and causes the heart to buckle...being bit by the news and finding difficulty to catch a consistency in one's breath....or sometimes, it sneaks up on you, like poison. I think I'm okay, once the news has passed my ears, and I whisper to myself: "everything will be alright; this is the way of things; life comes and life goes for all of us..." and suddenly a torrent of rain, in the form of tears, befalls me like a storm that grows gradually than heightens to a climactic hurricane of reality. And then, I cry non-stop for a long while. And then, I get angry for some things that seem almost ridiculous to admit. And then, I cry again. And then, I go through memory lane, or I keep seeing their face in my mind: when we were children, or when we had our last holiday together, or when we laughed together, and there they were: full of life. And now I know, they won't be there anymore, ever.
All this. I wonder about these grave stages of grieving, why is it and why must it occur as it does?
The pain is real, it is evident by the tears that flow through eyes suddenly, and we wonder often: "how could I have so many tears, where do they come from?" The onslaught of memories that suddenly surprise me: memories I'd forgotten, but no...they return from some lost destination that I thought I'd hidden away or lost; they have been stored somewhere--long ago, in my brain, waiting for such an occasion as this, seemingly, to torment me.
And I tell myself: I should've gone and visited more, or I shouldn't have yelled the last time we had our family discussion, or I should've taken that book I wanted them to read... So many regrets, so many anxious thoughts of unintended missteps or fallacies or gestures...all useless now, forever.
They cannot be your mother, your father, your brother, sister, cousin, friend, anymore...They will never sleep beside you again, or you will never be able to stroke a hair on the head when she or he cried at night. They will not ever come back for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Hanukkah, or any more holidays...They no longer play that part in your reality. There was one shot at that role, and it's done now. We move on without them.
I'm not trying to be morbid. I'm trying to get over those I've lost as well. And you want to know something funny? You probably know this already, if you've lost more than one person...
When someone dies, you remember them all. I remember all those I've lost: all the parties, the holidays, the times when everyone suffered a tragedy... I remember all of those faces that are no more... and all those I loved and longed to tell that I loved them, but didn't tell them...
what was really going on inside me that last time? And longing for one moment to bring them all back, and say or do all the things I wanted to say or do, to or for them.
And the storm rises, and the clouds darken, and life seems to stand still again, for a very deep, bleeding moment. And then the heart whimpers and a seeping despair--just for a moment--and then you're okay again--for a while....
They say: Time heals all wounds. That isn't true--not completely--time does at least give you moments of reprieve, in between the memories of loss, seeing your own reality, the flowers, the sunny days, the smiles, the music you hear, and all the functions and the exciting moments going on before your eyes in real time...
And you are with and for those who are still here with you, those who you can still laugh with, call or text on the phone, watch a movie with, and smile and hug, and say "I love you," still.
Do that.
Tell them

Do that.

                               Don't miss the opportunity to say...


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