I have battled with depression for as long as I can remember and in the same light, I have faced mortality for as long. When I was about 5 years old, my favourite cousin Eunice died. She was my age although I don’t recall who was the older, or what she died of; I never asked. Eunice and I were in separable. One day she was there and the next day, my mum sat us down and simple said
“Eunice died yesterday.”
She watched us, my older sister and I, and waited for a reaction. Neither of us responded but I clearly recall the one thought that crossed my mind immediately – Lucky Eunice, now she won’t have to wake up to sadness every day. In retrospect, I realize that was a morbid thought for a child’s mind at the mention of someone’s demise, but I was a very depressed child and something about being on this planet had always been overwhelmingly sad in ways I could never articulate (Still is). Sadly, I thought it was a universal sentiment; that we all wake up daily to a weight of sad hopelessness hovering over us.
I was raised in a multi religious household. Life, death and other dimensions were a regular topic of conversation in our house, even at that age I always felt there was a dimension with vibrations and energies that were kinder to souls than what this planet provided. When my mother told us Eunice had died, I thought she was lucky to not have to wake up daily and deal with the pain of being in this dimension, because that was what living felt like to me even back then.
Through the years, I have had a variety of events that to me were proof of the infinite fullness and vastness of creation. I had my first near death experience at the age of 8, then again at the age of 13 and then one more time at 16 (long stories for another day), but all of that and a series of other events made it crystal clear to me that there was more to life (more to us) that meets the eye.
And at intervals, I would lose a friend, or a relative and it’ll rattle me to the core. I have had so many loses of close friends and relatives that I can easily spread them to assign one to each year I have lived on this planet – I am 48 and I am not exaggerating this. Last week of August was my mother’s 3rd yahrzeit and so I was in a contemplative mood, reflecting on mortality (which unfortunately has been a constant for me during this pandemic). It lasted a few days right into Chadwick Boseman’s passing and that hit me hard because of the dignified way he handled his ill health. Despite being in the public eye, he was able to keep all of it so private till the very end.
It reminded me of my late husband’s own battle with cancer and the way he carried on too, with dignity and purpose to make each day count. Then in the first week of September, was an unexpected passing of a very beloved family member (with the same dignified way of carrying her pain to the very end) and then a few days after that was my father in-law’s second memorial, another gentle soul that lived a purposeful life. So yes, I have been contemplating life and otherwise, a lot lately.
Death is cruel in the sense that it jolts us into reevaluation and introspection about our own journeys here and how we’re doing, or rather how badly we sometimes are failing. Doing all of that in a period of prolonged stress brought about by the pandemic makes those of us with a life long battle with depression wanting an exit too…or maybe I should speak for myself here…
Yes, it has crossed my mind a lot in the past few weeks, that if there was a button I can press and simply vanish from this realm with no trace of my ever existing and therefore no funeral responsibility for anyone to organize, or people to take care of in my absence, I won’t hesitate to press said button.
Am I being selfish? Probably so. Am I making light, the demise of all the beloveds? Not at all. It hurts a lot, because I miss them but it hurts even worse because I am not the only one dealing with this loss and I feel utterly useless to ease any of the collective pain.
I am not going to sit here and pretend I understand how the universe works or what blue print Gaia works with to decide who stays and who leaves, when and why. I am exhausted. I am in pain. I want to evaporate without a trace…but I have to carry on. I have to take it a day at a time, I have to remember to be kind, to give and be a contributor of light in any way I can be, if only it would ease a pain somewhere….
A lot of changes have happened in my life and I am in the process of moving house again, not right away but I have begun packing things into boxes and looking for storage space with friends. I have never really been keen on packing. 8 years ago when I started packing to relocate from Europe to the USA, it was with great consideration and reluctance. I thought my last relocation was the one in 2003 shortly before I had the kid. I didn’t want to come here, it was too big of a change for me and this time I would be doing it with a kid in tow, I didn’t take it lightly but the one thing that really kept me going was the promise and belief that this would be the last stop. Well it turned out not to be and it breaks me to have to do it all over again and even worse to have to help my daughter navigate this change she didn’t ask for…again
Moving is major for me. It’s hard to do it while very aware of triggers everywhere. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing added one more blow to my day even as I packed. Her existence on this planet had helped put in place some laws that have created a sense of justice and safety for me today as a woman living in the USA (yes, I am taking this very personally because if not for some of these changes, I will not have the grace, dignity and courage to navigate some of the changes that is happening in my life today)…I’m navigating changes, and contemplating loses and unpleasantness and the fear of tomorrow…
And with each box neatly packed and stacked I feel as though a part of my soul is packed away with it. Every morning still seems to usher in more news of deaths and departures, disappointments and broken promises and uncertain tomorrows… I am in so much pain. I still laugh and still reach out for a glimmer of hope but I feel the mirth of my laughter ebbing away and all I am left with is an uncomfortable cackle. I feel the light in my soul fading… It feels like it’s getting very dark and I just want to go to sleep….and sleep for a very, very long time.
This dusk is ugly, but I’ll hope for dawn and more…
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