Ever since I was a little girl I hated goodbyes. If I happened to be at a place like the airport, and observed a random someone walk away leaving loved ones crying behind I would break down and cry myself. Departures not only saddened me but hurt as well to such an extent that for days I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly without crying myself to sleep. The simple thought of not being able to see someone you love anymore hurt.
So now that I put my husband to rest, I can’t seem to come to terms with the idea that this is the final deal. That not only won’t I see him again but that I won’t ever hear his voice, and that creeps me out. No matter how hard I try to come to terms with the loss, the harder it becomes to let go. In the words of the late Ray Bradbury:
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at other times move forward with it.”
How can I move forward when part of me, the better part of me, is crippled? I know I am not the only one, and I won’t even be the last one, but it is still hard to move forward. At least for the time being. I know in my heart of hearts that I should move ahead and go on living. It’s just that the first steps forward are the hardest to take. And yet I have to somehow take a step. As Ray Bradbury wrote:
“Every time you take a step, even when you don’t want to, when it hurts, when it means you rub chins with death, or even if it means dying, that’s good. Anything that moves ahead wins. No chess game was ever won by the player who sat for a lifetime thinking over his next move.”
I remember decades ago, not long after we first started dating, when you my darling held an exhibition on Makhoul street in Beirut. Two of your paintings were of jackets. One, a jacket hanging from a nail on a wall, and the other a jacket left on an armchair. Then you started explaining to me the significance of the jacket in your life.
At the time the civil war was in its fourth year and the whole country was ravaged by it. There were lots of kidnappings and killings and explosions everywhere in the city, making it almost impossible to survive. So no one knew if after leaving the house they would ever come back alive. Hence the ‘jacket’ for you meant a husband or a father going out to work but never making it back.
Then afterwards, after we were married, you painted more jackets, in different settings. Did it ever cross your mind that one day it would happen to you? That you would walk out the door and never walk back? The day after we (the kids and I) came home from the hospital carrying your jacket with us, I hung it on the nail behind the door. Just like in your first painting. Ironically enough your jacket was green, just like the one in your first painting.
It’s true that life gives us what we want but then takes it away when we least expect it to. Our love, our happiness, our youth, our friends. One day we have it all and the next we have nothing, we have lost all. We only have to learn to let go, as Ray Bradbury wrote:
“Darkness gets it all in the end. It’s (life) lent to us for a while. Use it, let go without crying.”
And until I learn to let go…