We are all waiting in that room, holding our hearts in our mouths, with swollen eyes after all the tears. Waiting hurts and minutes become everlasting. Sun light hurts too and the heat is also painful, and the noise of the sirens and people’s sharp voices. Why can’t we have some silence now, for God’s sake? Why can’t time be stopped so we can rewind and avoid being here this morning? What did we do or what we never did that could be done? Could we have done anything in a different manner? What’s pending? What’s going to happen? At this point all these questions are unavoidable because many of the people there already know the kind of news that will be carried when leaving. It is just a matter of time. Damn time, relentless scourge…
When they finally come out to talk to us, they invite us into a tiny quiet office. They don’t want to give us the awful news in that other room, all so white and aseptic, in the presence of other people who are still waiting themselves. They don't want these others to become spectators of our inevitable sorrow, but they are also giving us some privacy to take the blow.
They are kind, careful, they show gentleness & respect. But at the same time they display an amazing clarity & pragmatism. And there we are, backing each other up, swallowing it in. Then we leave like lost souls, out of place, knowing that ahead of us we have a very long, intense & heavy digestion process.
It is still summer outside. The city is celebrating, people are on holidays. I can see life passing by through the car window. I can see the colours and the joy out there and I cannot help but wonder how it is possible that so many people are having a great time when many others are suffering so much in that precise moment. But that’s the thin line that we constantly walk along. That’s the cycle of life and nature’s routine too.
Since then, every time I am celebrating something, whenever I am enjoying myself or having a good time, I send through a thought of love and compassion to all those souls that are waiting in the threshold rooms of the world, wishing that my happiness could touch them somehow in order to make them feel accompanied or to help them lighten their load. From the bottom of my heart I tell them that the pain is coming to stay for quite a while but it will only be a visitor if they wish it to be so. I tell them that one day they will find themselves toasting, as I do, to those who left us to be with us in a different way. We will toast to them, indeed, and to the journey we’ve made since their departure. Then, together again, we will send loving & compassionate thoughts to other souls that always, every minute, are dwelling within that painful wait…
I thought I saw you so many times… Walking on the street, at the supermarket, driving, on the beach, ordering a drink at the bar, queuing at the bank desk, wearing a suit & tie, swimming trunks, t-shirt & shorts… But it was not you. They were only people who looked like you and not even that sometimes. Quite often it was only my unconscious imagination looking for you in every face because I needed to see you in three dimensions and moving around. My heart was beating really fast for a split second, my pupils were faltering and all my senses sharpened in order to freeze that moment and to freeze you in it. Then it felt like floating in the mists of time & space. The world’s noises disappeared and it was only you and me there. But the bubble exploded so fast! A car horn, a child shouting, some music around and the magic spell wrecked just like that. So disheartening… My stomach then writhed in a huge knot and I only wanted to get home to find you there, even if it was only in two dimensions.
You came to see me a few times afterwards and my surprise was even bigger then, the fright was deeper and I felt scared. It was fear for seeing you looking so real and even after wishing it so badly so many times before. During your visits you always looked happy, healthy, smiling, showing a beautiful tan, dress in black or wearing that military green t-shirt that I used to like so much. Once I handled the fear I was feeling so happy to see you and I kept asking you questions while crying and staring at you. You smiled and answered all my queries always, even with silences. I could understand everything. There was no room for blame but only for doubts and help petitions that you were dealing with so generously. That’s why I wanted to see you more often, because those encounters were helping me so much! I wanted to choose when to meet again, make an arrangement somehow but I didn’t know how to do it, where could I find you, what to do to make it happen. So I could only wait for you to surprise me again. It was also very painful anyway when you vanished. It was only emptiness left then, the illusion of a transient and non-sufficient moment and loneliness again until who knew when… And then grief and anguish settled free on my chest.
Time passes by and we keep changing on the way. I hardly see you now and you don’t come here anymore. I think of you a lot, nearly every day and I do know that you think of me too. We are both better than ever and very possibly everything that happened was supposed to happen that way so we could reach this point today. I know now that I could not make it this far without you, without you leaving. I also know that you had another path to follow which was actually far from my own. But what a bliss to meet each other during that time! We learnt so much and we gave so many things to each other! I would never be able to thank Life enough for all that.
This month you would turn 44. It is going to be 6 years now since you left. And, by the way, that military green t-shirt of yours that I used to like so much is still wandering around the drawers :)