Life goes on.
A simple three-word phrase that seems so innocuous and yet means so much. But only to those who get it.
Like everyone else, I too often came across this saying. But just like everyone else, I never quite understood the depth of it. Until recently.
The loss of a loved one is something that can hit you like a ton of bricks. The sudden shock, crippling pain and the unbearable helplessness can paralyse the best of us. An oft-ignored facet of mental health and wellness, losing a loved one can push you over the edge.
When you lose a dear one, a part of you wants to hold on to that moment. That moment when your grief is at its peak. That moment when you have not yet internalized the loss. When you are still trying to grasp it. When it hurts the most. Not because you are sadistic. But because that is the only time you remember them in technicolor. And you want to hold onto it.
You want Life to pause. But it is just then, that it decides to “go on”.
Irrespective of how much you want things to be still, they progress. And then there is this other part of you, which welcomes this, in a bid to fill the void and because others tell you how important it is to ‘move on’.
Days turn into weeks, which turn into months. Life goes back to ‘normal’ of whatever that word means now. On the surface, you function as before. You wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, deliberate over what to order for lunch, wondering what to wear, or what to gift your friend on her birthday.
Frivolous as these things are, they take up precious space in your mind. You breathe, eat and drink, the same as before. The first part of you hates it, ‘coz at some level, it means you are losing touch with that special someone.
You want to move on, and yet, you don’t.
Everyday, your memories become hazier and recede further back into the dark recesses of your mind. You want to go back to that initial moment of grief, to drown yourself in sadness and pain, and yet, you’ve come too far now to go back to the start. Too far ahead to slide back.
And there’s nothing you can do about it. Because Life doesn’t listen to either part of you. It does what it does best. It goes on. And so you do what you do best. You numb the pain and carry on. So, while on the inside you are screaming in pain, to others you look the same.
Because no matter how big your loss might be, Life goes on.
And the worst part? The harder you try to recall and relive that last kiss, the last time you heard that tinkling laughter in that sweet voice, and the very last time you touched, the tougher it is to hold on to those fleeting memories.
The harder you try to hold on, the faster it slips away. They say time heals. No, it doesn’t. The only thing time does is it makes it tougher to remember (or easier to forget, if you may). But oh, if only the heart would understand. It only tries harder to hold on, to cling on to those precious remnants.
Time is not a medicine. Time is a double-edged sword.
So what do you do?
You can choose to let yourself get carried away by the strong currents of push and pull, trying to hold on to the remnant of memories stuck in the recesses of your mind.
Or you can do what I did when I started writing my book, and take charge of your own mental wellness. You can channelise all your energy into doing something that reminds you of them – something that you know they’d be proud of – something that you hope would someday make you feel whole again.
It doesn’t help you forget. But it does ease the pain. And best of all, it makes you feel closer to them.
Because, believe it or not, you do have a choice.
I dedicate my debut book ‘From Stressed to Sorted’ to my mom Everything I am today is because of her.
If you know anyone who is dealing with loss or grief, I request you to share this post with them, so they know they are not the only ones feeling this way, and so they know that they too, have a choice.