Alright, here it goes…
I’ve never written about this, never tried to explain how it feels to lose someone you love. Especially in the most brutal of ways; murder. Senseless murder. But I am going to try. Because this year I have already lost too many people I care about, and I feel the need to write it down.
Losing someone you love is hard. No matter how it happens. I’ve lost several people I love over the years. I’ve lost friends, acquaintances, co-workers and various other colleagues over the years. I don’t have children, so I can’t comment on the type of grief that must cause a person, but I can speak about my experiences with loss.
Here is the point where I wish I could say you get used to people dying. But you don’t. I never have. And I don’t ever want to.
The day I can hold a dying person in my arms and listen to their last words and not feel anything, just see it as another death, that is the day I am leaving this world. I don’t ever want to be accustomed to people dying. People getting murdered is something you should never become numb to.
I’ve seen a lot of people die. I’ve held a lot of mortally injured people in my arms. I’ve been there for a lot of people’s last moments on earth. It’s an incredibly humbling, emotionally intense thing. I carry their last words with me everywhere I go. And I always will. I will never forget any of those beautifully brave men and women who have died in my arms.
It still tears a hole through me. Especially when it is somebody I know, someone that I love, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to ever ‘not matter’. I don’t want it to be something that I can just ‘deal with’.
The scars that I carry on my body and my soul, they are a testament to the love and the relationship I shared with that person, no matter how brief.
The deeper the scar, the deeper the love. That’s how I see it. Scars are proof that I lived, that I loved. They are proof that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or broken and that I can heal and continue to love. And each scar makes me a little bit stronger, a little bit braver, a little bit more determined to live each day to the full. Scars are proof of my life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
As for grief, it can be overwhelming to begin with. Like you are drowning in a sea of pain, with no land in sight. Like you can’t breathe. Like there is a physical weight upon your chest, preventing you from doing so. It’s painful. It’s all consuming. Everything you do reminds you of them. Of what you shared. Of the fact that they are now gone. All you can do is struggle to the surface and cling onto their memory, float in that ocean of pain and try and breathe. All you can do is stay alive.
In the beginning the waves of grief are a mile high. They crash over you constantly. No room to breathe. To think. To feel anything but pain. All you can do is hang on. Float. Stay alive.
After a while, maybe it’s weeks or months down the line, you will find that the sea is a little calmer. You can breathe a little easier. The waves of grief aren’t as high. They come a little further apart. But when they do come, they still crash over you and leave you helpless, struggling to breathe once again.
You never know what is going to trigger the waves of grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street, a certain smell or even a colour. It can be just about anything. And then, suddenly, the wave comes crashing. But in between these waves, you can breathe, you can live.
For me, it’s almost always a place. There are certain places in the world I try and avoid because of the people I have lost in that city, in that country.
Later still, and once again, this varies from person to person, you can see the waves coming. An anniversary, a birthday or Christmas, whatever it may be. You can see them coming. You are given time to prepare as best as you can. And when that wave crashes over you, you know that somehow, at some point, you will come out the other side, alive. Struggling to breathe, struggling to find a way to carry on, but you know you will.
For me, the waves have never stopped coming. And I never want them to. I never want to forget those I’ve lost. Forget those I’ve loved. They are proof that I have lived, that I have loved. I never want to become used to the pain of losing loved ones, I never want to become use to death.