Locking Down But Not Away

I sit here wanting to express my thoughts out onto the screen. The fingers move across the keyboard and I want to express everything on my mind. Then I wonder if this is for me or whether this will be read by other people. This is just another way of venting out grief that seems to be shredding me from within. People think that with the passing of time grief and pain become easier to bear. I stand witness with those people. Because I have been through hell and back with many episodes of death and loss, I know that I survived through it all. Time is a great healer. But what people tend to forget is that time is relative, just like pain is relative.

Einstein spoke about it a long time ago. One minute with a loved one seems like a minute, one minute under the dentist’s drill seems like an hour. Pain for me is a constant. It was unbearable a month ago. I felt as though my insides were being torn apart and I was physically being drawn and quartered. For my family, I tried doing things that I was before my heart broke. I went through the motions. I tried to prevent the number of times I broke down before them. My aunt keeps asking me, ‘how are you today?’ and I have told her to not do so. I know she is worried about me – my mom, sis, partner all are … but we all think that if outwardly the wounds do not show, they are healing.

I let them think that. It’s easier on them.

My best friend tells me I have to think about myself. I have to strengthen my heart. Stop repeating love. But I also know that people are not capable of change. They are capable of trying to change. They are capable of adapting. If I move to Canada, I’ll never like the climate. But I will learn to live with it. I will always be someone who loves the heat more than the cold though. For love, I will be capable of doing so. And when my heart breaks, I will not be able to get rid of the pain so easy.

One very important reason being that I do fall in love easily. But when I do, I am all in. Forever. Falling out of love is a phrase I have never believed in. If someone does fall out of love, I don’t think they really understood what it means to love, in the first place. Break ups happen because we forget to think about the other. We put ourselves first. We tend to confuse self-respect with being selfish. We confuse love with self-love. Our world has become so politically correct, that there is now a back lash against it with the upliftment of autocracy. We have forgotten that the world is made of different people, different organisms. We have to accept that there will be differences, and accepting the differences makes us humane. Sympathy is not the same as empathy.

The days pass by, and I had two lovers. I have always been open about my heart. I have always been honest, not just with myself, and with the people I love, but with the world, to whom I owe not a great deal of explanation. Today, I sit alone. Heart break and death have taken away what I cherished. I do look at the spaces I am left with. I see my mother, my kids, my sister, my aunt. All who rally around my grief and try to lift me out of it. My grief is selfish – and where there was a flood, there is now a quagmire. It’s like a black hole. Anything I put in, gets swallowed.

Yet, I also know that the panic attacks have stopped. The breathlessness takes over in bursts, and is over soon. I go onto social media, because diverting my mind and energy, in a state of lockdown is all I am left with. I have reached out to those who care. But in time, their caring wanes, because their lives do not stop just because mine has come to a grinding halt in space and time. The lockdown happens within now. Because I am tired of also reaching out, and repeating the grief, that has drained me.

Strangers ask me to smile, be the person social media has come to know me as… My family wishes me to just be me. But I am not me, right now. Right now, I am a wound. The wound was raw. Now it just seethes. It hasn’t closed. Not by a long shot. If it is touched, it throbs and I cry out. But I have learnt the art of bandaging. So, people can see the bandaging, they have no clue about what’s happening underneath it. They may choose to address it. They may not. It doesn’t matter really. Because love itself caused the wound, I can hardly expect the healing to come from any other than my own capacity to love.

Have I learnt from this? I have learnt that I have what it takes to withstand it. Grieving has made me sure of my capacity to love. My heart will not freeze. It is not capable of it. It can never build a castle of ice. It can never solidify. And I will never apologize for being able to keep loving who I have loved. I will never feel sorry for the fact that I will be able to love again.

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