Life is a fickle thing.
It’s capricious and unpredictable by nature, sometimes going away without the slightest warning. When this happens, it can feel like a gut punch, robing you of how little peace you have in your life. Life doesn’t hesitate to throw you into a spiral of confusion and suffering, making you a prisoner of your sorrow.
What’s more, going about your day and functioning as a human being can be incredibly hard when living in this prison. Your routine feels like an awful grind. There’s a sudden sense of meaninglessness in your actions. Things don’t make sense anymore, and, most importantly, there’s a piece of you that is missing. The scars of this forced dissection will forever live with you.
That is how I felt when I lost my dad some 16 years ago, and I can tell you, it’s not hard for me to get lost in a moment of sorrow and relive the harrowing experience in vivid detail. I was thrust into the storm of loss and distress without a warning or shelter, and I am, to this day, still dealing with scars and hauntings of the wreckage.
Sense in the Senseless
Making sense of the tragedies that befall us is, in my opinion, always a losing strategy. Unfortunately, however, we are pattern-seeking animals that thrive in labeling things and making sense of the world that surrounds us.
We are social individuals who have evolved to thrive in groups and depend on each other. Moreover, we got so good at coexisting that we ended up changing our internal programming and shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers and producers in the span of a few centuries. And in all that time, we crafter many cultures, myths, and traditions around life and community trying to make sense of the cycle of life.
Yet, believing that we can comprehend the incomprehensible, find meaning in the unpredictable, and avoid the unavoidable is just perpetuating our anguish.
We can scream, push, pull, throw, argue, demand, beg, even deny our fate —I know I did—, but to no avail.
Fighting or ignoring reality was nothing but a distraction. And I learned early on that distractions only prolonged the process of mourning and exacerbated the struggle.
Hastily accepting the loss did not spare me of the distress either. On the contrary, attempting to jump the shark and “be over with” my predicament only made me feel uncaring and dismissive of my lost loved one and disconnected from the ones grieving.
Ultimately there is no strategy, secret, or skill to prevent the journey you have been signed into, only patience and time.
Thankfully, time has been very kind to me and has helped me make sense of the tragedies of my past. Despite their ability to disturb my sleep and rock me out of my peace in moments of weakness, I have kept my past in the past; A remnant of the experiences that have made me who I am today.
Live We Must
If you have lost someone, or you feel the scars of a distant loss burning your skin lately, I want you to know that I feel for you. I feel for those who, like me, have learned to live in a world absent of their loved ones and were forced to mold themselves to fill in the gaps left behind. I feel for those who are reminded of the cruelty of life when realizing how time has passed and left their loved ones behind. Finally, I feel for those who find themselves living in the past in a desperate attempt to escape a present they can’t bear.
I feel for you, and I know nothing I or anybody can say can help you. This is our struggle to endure, and only we can find a way to live with it.
And live we must.
Despite the cruelty of the uncertainty of life, having the opportunity to live and love is a wonderful gift. Being on this journey, with its ups and downs, having the company of my loved ones is such a beautiful existence. Yes, some moments can be challenging, and even the people who love you can cause you pain with the best intentions. But those moments will pale in comparison with the human experience of connection, companionship, and awe we find in life.
Experiencing the majestic beauty of nature and wonderment in life can only be granted to those who dare to look for them. Those who are willing to take the risk of finding love within themselves and others. Those who are prepared to grief when needed and cherish every moment of awareness. Those who embrace with open arms the reality of uncertainty, indifference, and pain inherent in life.Juan
Life is a fickle thing, and that is wonderful.
If you are suffering out there, I hope that this little reflection finds you well and helps you find some light inside of you. I hope that despite the pain and hollowness you are experiencing now, you can find the strength to move forward soon, however that looks.
We love you.