I’ve lost three people I loved very much this year. Two of them I lost to death and the other I lost to what happens when people are not honest with each other about who they are and what they really want.
My mother’s youngest brother died just after New Year’s and one of my favourite, and perhaps funniest, aunts died at the end of October. At my uncle’s funeral, I spoke about my best memories of him. And I told our family that death is never the end because people live on in our memories of them and in the stories we remember to tell about them.
By the time I stood up at my aunt’s funeral, I refused to shed tears for her. It wasn’t that I could not feel the loss or that I was trying to be strong. I did not cry because I thought it would be an insult to my memories of her.
Last October, just after I gave birth to my son, she was one of the first people who visited me at the hospital. She understood what was happening to me, she understood how I felt and she, more than anyone else I think, could look at me and see the hurt I was trying to keep hidden. But she never spoke directly to me about this.
She believed that laughter was the cure for everything. And so, she brought me my first set of post-pregnancy panties and she told me: “you know they say when you get old, you get cold. Well, you made a baby but you ain’t cold”. It was the first time in a long time I really laughed at anything and felt it somewhere deep inside me.
Just before her death, I gave up a relationship that I had been trying to keep alive for almost a year. I had learned by then that love was so much more than mere possession and sacrifice. Sometimes, in order to love people in the best way that we can we need to let them go so that they can breathe and learn to live and feel; so that they may have the freedom to be.
Losing someone is never easy and how we choose to deal with it can determine how long we take to heal. When I left my partner, their response was highly irrational and they spent weeks trying to hurt me in every way possible. How did I respond to that?
Apart from two days when I was intensely angry in early October, I have dealt with it by reminding myself that this is someone I care for, someone I believe has potential to live a great life and contribute to the world and more so this is someone, like any of us, who deserves to be happy.
Today, I still feel the pain of the losses I’ve suffered but it is not a pain that limits my inner peace or my ability to see the good in life. It is the sort of pain which teaches me that my capacity for love has been increased and the people I love and will grow to love will get the best of me.
I find peace in the knowledge that as time goes by we will all heal, become better versions of ourselves and live life in the way we truly want. Life goes on after all. That’s just how it is.