When a close friend is in mourning of someone dear to them, we console them. We feel their pain, or at least try to and we give them time to heal, because that’s all we really can do. But after a while has gone by and we see them still frozen in time and living with grief, a little voice inside our heads says something. Something we feel terrible about, but can’t help but think: It has been so long since they passed away. Isn’t it time that they stopped grieving? We think to ourselves that maybe this is going too far. It has been quite a while since the incident and it’s about time they picked themselves up and kept walking. We tell them that they should move forward and live in the present instead of the past. We refer to the one who’s passed away and say that, they have moved on and they would expect the same from you. It makes perfect sense. It’s not healthy to grieve for too long and also, we just want to see them happy again. Ah yes, we want them to smile like they did before it happened. We want them to talk with the same enthusiasm and energy as they did prior to it. Although it feels like a horrible thought, to push someone to move on, we do it with clean intentions. We do it just to see some happiness and joy in their lives, and we think that they can’t have that if they keep living in the embrace of their loss, and keep reliving the past. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s okay to want to see the sun shine on your friend.
When people tell us to ‘move on and keep going and be happy’, we sometimes feel pressured. Though we haven’t gotten over the loss yet, we can sense that we have made it uneasy for our friends and family. They are running out of words to sooth our grief, and they are starting to feel that all the hugs and moments of silence aren’t helping anymore and the advice they give us, is picking up that ‘clichéd’ effect. They desperately want to see us smile, so we smile. They want to see clear bright eyes, so we cry on the inside. They want us to keep walking so we put on our shoes. When they talk about the ones who have left, we clench on the corner of the chair but we don’t cry. When they look back at some of those moments that bring with them a flood of memories, we brace ourselves and stretch the corner of our lips upwards as much as we possibly can. And when we drive by that one place where we spent hours of the evening just laughing and talking about nothing and everything, we make a U-turn and take the other route. We feel that for the sake of the loved ones who are still alive, we have to put a pause on the grieving of the ones who have left. Because, the ones who we are with now deserve our smile just as much as the ones who have passed away deserve our tears.
‘Time goes on and time heals all wounds’, and most of the time the wounds are healed when we are not paying attention. We don’t realise that putting a pause on the grieving process is not going to pause the time. Time will go on, and when we’re too busy trying to fake a proper smile we eventually begin to smile truly. On one of the days, instead of just saying, “I’m okay” we’ll feel okay as well. The next time we come across one of those memories we will be able to laugh and remember the good ol’ days. On one of the days we won’t have to signal a U-turn. On one of the days we’ll let go of that corner on the chair and realise that we are far from the grief and now all we hold in our hearts the memories of a time well spent…It’s change isn’t it? Experience. Patience. Losses. Gains. It all comes together in the end to make us who we are. A learned person. A patient person. A person who has lost and a person who has gained. A person who has just stepped into a new year with hopes. dreams. memories. healing scars. laughter. pain. And everything else that makes us…human. And we step into a new year, with a thought in mind, a kind of a promise or a ‘resolution’ you may call it. We promise and we hope that this year will turn out better than the last. This year will bring out the best in us. This year we’ll be more experienced. This year we’ll be more patient. This year we’ll be more human.
In the beginning of December, 2010 I read a book called, The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. Phenomenal book! I recommend it to all of you lovely people who read this post. There is a quote in that book, which brings it all together in the end and really hits the nerve.
These are the words of a man who has experienced a great loss, the death of his only son, Ethan. Take a look…
“And if dead people aged, wouldn't it be a comfort? To think of Ethan growing up in heaven -- fourteen years old now instead of twelve -- eased the grief a little. Oh, it was their immunity to time that made the dead so heartbreaking. (Look at the husband who dies young, the wife aging on without him; how sad to imagine the husband coming back to find her so changed.) Macon gazed out of the cab window, considering the notion in his mind. He felt a kind of inner rush, a racing forward. The real adventure, he thought, is the flow of time; it's as much adventure as anyone could wish. And if he pictured Ethan still part of that flow -- in some other place, however unreachable -- he believed he might be able to bear it after all.”- The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Yours Truly x