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  • I MAY HAVE LOST YOU BUT I HAVE NOT LET YOU GO: A Lesson in Grief
I MAY HAVE LOST YOU BUT I HAVE NOT LET YOU GO: A Lesson in Grief
Contributor
Written by
Miriam Kahindi
February 2019
Contributor
Written by
Miriam Kahindi
February 2019

John, my fingers are having a hard time typing just as my mouth has a hard time talking about this. If anyone asks, I tell them you just moved on because it was time. I think about you all the time but pretend like nothing’s wrong. I am not sure I can say I am not haunted by your face or the sound of your laugh. I say “It’s all for the best”. I don’t know whether I believe that. I like how they say “You really are strong” or when they awkwardly say “Oh…I am sorry to hear that.” I rush to ease their discomfort and say “ It is OK. He is not hurting anymore. The pain is gone.” or “I am OK.” I do not qualify anything I say about it because I cannot say much or talk about it like it doesn’t hurt. I would like for it to not hurt anymore. I would prefer that it didn’t. I keep pondering whether this alludes to selfishness or childishness on my part.

Even now, I am still rumbling on and on avoiding the inevitability of finally saying it and putting it down. You are gone. You are gone someplace you are never coming back. You are just gone from this space and from this time and wherever you are, I can’t see you or talk to you or see your face or hear you. You are just…Gone. It’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s a hard truth to say aloud. You have been gone eight years now. Still, it feels like I am recounting what happened last night when they called to tell me that you were on life support. You have been gone ninety-six whole months. Still, I feel like I can’t draw breath into my lungs just like I couldn’t on the day I saw your face in restful repose. It has been four hundred sixteen weeks since you went away someplace you are never coming back. Still, I feel the cold numbness my fingers felt when I touched your hands and realized they were cold and would never squeeze mine back ever again. It has been too long and I have mostly been lost without you. Yet still, I can’t believe you are not right here where I can just ask you which way to go.

It is beyond sad. I know all the sadness in the world does not belong to me. I know I don’t own the patent rights to losing a loved one. I expressly accept that I may not understand how others feel from losing more than one loved one. I know all this. The thing is though: I know all this. I don’t feel any of it. My intelligence has obviously put two and two together and realized all this. My soul, however, will not comply. It cannot reconcile being without you or your physical absence. It cannot reconcile abject moroseness and the physical show of sadness. Try as I may, it has not worked. Somehow in all the time you have been gone, I have managed to keep this a secret, hidden in a deep corner of my heart where no one can reach it when I tell the story of how fine I am or how much at peace you are. I have gone on and said nothing about it to the universe in reality because that would mean facing an even darker truth: You really are gone and I am not sure that if anyone calls me out on it, I will be able to keep up this facade that everything is fine and I am healed. No one can ever think I am not “strong”. No one can ever say that I am not moving on. No one must ever say I didn’t at least try to get over it as best as I could.

I have lost you. It is not a possibility. It is a reality. I have lost you. You have gone someplace you are not coming back. I know for sure though that all that was by force. Involuntary. To lose you was not something I was asked about. There was nothing I could do to try and stop it and it was not for lack of trying. It was fate. I know for sure, however, that I have not let you go. This is a fact. I would not voluntarily let you go. Forget you. Your face. The sound of your laughter. I realize now that all I have tried to do is cover the crack in the dam. The dam was going to burst eventually. I had a hand in that. I have chosen to not hold back the river.

Meanwhile, I have learned a lot from the experience of not having you in my life physically anymore. I am still learning these lessons today. A disclaimer though: I do not think of myself as a wise woman. First and foremost, I have learned to love with reckless abandon. I have learned to spoil my heart when it wants to accommodate more people. I let it choose and I go for whomever it desires. I have met the love of my life this way. I love our brother unconditionally because of this. I have learned to love without expectation of requital. I have learned to love without fear of loss. I have learned that love is the only thing that evidently goes on even when we are dead and gone; the only memory left of our souls when they depart. The supposition of the power that love has over me has led me to realize that I have no choice but to obey love.

Additionally, I have learned that to have such beautiful love even once in your lifetime is a blessing. It should never be taken for granted. Without you in it, the world was dark and cold for an excruciatingly long time. I thought that all the love I could ever have was gone. I did not realize that my soul was programmed to go on loving and to go on finding love and receiving it. I prayed for the hole you left to heal. I begged on bended knee for the love I had for you that had been ripped from my heart to come back. Through the holes and the pain, light broke in and helped me to feel love. Love put the pieces back together. Love healed me. When I look at the scars, I see how far I have been able to fly because of this love. Love has helped me to grow psychologically and mentally. It has made me mature enough to understand that when you give love and you do not receive it right away or it is not reciprocated, it will be fine. Love never runs out. I am more grateful of this love and I do not, for a second, take it for granted.

Furthermore, I have learned not to be wasteful with this love. Love is a powerful gift. It is given freely and multiplied. This also means that it could turn dangerous. Charlatans will use it as a reason to mistreat someone who loves them and abuse their heart. More importantly, it can be sold cheaply and also faked by those who do not understand the power that comes from holding it dearly and understanding the value and nature of it. I have had the hardest time learning this lesson. For so long after you were gone, I thought I did not have any use for love if it was going to break my heart like that. I resorted to receiving replicas of it, cheap imitations and little morsels of it here and there. After all, if one does not eat for a long time, the thought does occur to you that you have been starving. After a while, you queue on any line that looks like it is serving something to eat and you eat whatever regardless of whether it is hot or cold, fresh or disgusting. The same was my experience. You were gone. I was lost. I thought I could survive being loveless and accepting any version of it someone offered to me. Eventually though, I figured out that I deserved better than to be starved of love and to beg for it.  Once I found it inside me, I was also not going to give it to the undeserving. I became protective of my heart and it was beautiful to learn that this love can be given freely and when given back, it is a phenomenal occurrence.

Finally, I have learned to have faith in this love. I do not know much. I also do not believe in much. I usually worry that humanity may not make it out alive in the next century. I am anxious about my future on most days. What will become of me when I am fifty, for instance? I panic about a past I cannot change or a mistake I cannot forgive. I do not know how to wear make up or drive. I do not know how to keep my opinions to myself. I do not know how to be pragmatic or diplomatic. I do not usually believe in my ability to counsel someone who comes to me with something they need help to solve. I, sometimes, doubt the things people say they will do for me even though they are probably genuine (guiltily so). The one thing I have no doubt about is love. The one whose ability to heal is ultimate, to me, is love. The only thing that makes sense in a mad and scary world is love. The only truth that I know in my heart of hearts is that all we really ever need is love.

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