“I have some bad news, he died last night.”
Stunned silence. The softly spoken words just don’t sink in.
The world feels wrong today. Twisted, contorted, cruel. Yet the spinning of life continues.
Despair creeps in. Helplessness cuts through. I feel betrayed.
I don’t want this to be the end. Not like this. I need more hours, more years, more time.
I cannot respond to the caller. I drop the phone.
Numbness tiptoes into a darkness. It leaves behind a heavy and drowsy, bleak sensation.
It hits hard. There are no words.
My mind empties.
Only Why Now? resounds.
Bounces manically, uncontrollably from bone to bone.
Why. Why. Why.
No answers justify. Nothing makes sense.
Those repeated words penetrating every cell.
Leaving a trail of inner destruction.
Tears surface to allow overwhelming confusion to erupt. Spill and drop onto cold pale cheeks.
I frantically search for answers, not one arrives.
So I turn the questions to me and the blame eagerly jumps inwards.
“I should have…” “I could have….” “I wished I would have…”
The realisation hits me.
“Why didn’t I…”
“I wanted to say…”
I need the clock to turn back. To restart time.
Let’s go to the beginning. To last week or last month. I will do more. I promise. Give me one chance.
I will make that call. Travel. Hug. Talk. Be there. Damn it, I’ll be there.
I’ll do anything. And more.
There is nothing I wouldn’t do to fix this. I’ll try harder. I’ll find the time.
So, why didn’t I? Why?
I flicker through memories. I am soothed by thoughts. Calmed momentarily.
Then, reality strikes once more.
Never again will I have a chance. There will never be another opportunity.
I flip the hourglass. Watch each grain of sand fall through. I flip it again. Nothing works. Time cannot be undone.
No amount of anger or frustration can change this.
My body moves. Motionless.
I brush my hair. Stare at the mirror. Blank eyes look back.
This won’t go away. I can’t make things okay. Things will never be the same again.
Death visited and callously moved on. A tornado that caused havoc, then left behind silence.
All is now quiet.
All is now still.
Time and death have no care for me, now piecing together fragments of a life I once knew.
Suddenly I feel selfish. For thinking of myself, for feeling the chaos this treacherous ending has caused.
I feel guilty for weeping, for struggling to stand, for my trembling hands reaching to comfort those around me.
There are others who were closer than I. There are others whose shoulders are trying to be broad and brave while mine sink low.
There are others who were there while I was not.
I was absent, my life caught up and entangled with daily routines. So, I wasn’t there as often as I should have been. Could have been.
Death has no care for my woes as the pain consumes my soul.
It has already moved on and left me stranded.
Whilst grief offers regret, grief offers guilt.
Grief will destroy, if I allow it.
Grief, I’m taking your hand. I’m listening. Guide and help me through this.
I’ll walk with you. Talk with you. I’ll tell you everything.
I’m sorry. Listen to me. I’m sorry.
I feel the weight pinning me down.
Grief, don’t take me with you. I’ll take you with me. I’ll pay attention. Just allow me one moment to breathe.
I feel betrayed.
I am angry.
I am lost.
Grief, give me time. You and I are glued together. We have to somehow work this out.
I’ve lost time I cannot get back.
Now, please give me time to heal.
Take the burden of guilt you’ve thrown at me. And leave me the memories.
Leave the memories I have stored. They are all I need.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Mitya Ku