Death is a portal for me. The mystery and horror of it all allows me to access depths of my being where I always find something revolutionary. I am never the same person I was before I felt its chilling presence.
A decade ago, the death of someone beloved to me pushed me to look around, really, really look around and see my life was wearing quite bad makeup, unable to disguise a lie I kept perpetuating. The pain of that loss pushed me into breaking a shell that was stunting my growth. Two weeks ago, the death of someone that I shared my life with for a long time, catapulted me back into a past that I would have given anything to not have to revisit. Because going back there meant revisiting pain, emptiness, panic. It forced me to remember who I was. To have people treat me like I never changed. Like I owed something to that life still.
Shaking, sick to my stomach and anxious beyond belief, I kept thinking there must be a silver lining to all of this. Maybe the universe thought I was ready to go back and heal some of the wounds I simply covered. After all, it was only a month ago that I was writing about the guilt I felt at some of my choices, they way they have moulded the journey of people in my life. Answers to the questions we launch into the big unknown are almost never what we expect (or wish) them to be – but are always the right ones, nevertheless.
I am trying to follow the advice I have been reading (and talking about) for the past years. To sit with the pain, to look straight into the eyes of the person I was ten years ago when I ran away from a hollow and painful existence. And ask myself what is this here to teach me?
I would lie to say I got the lesson already. Lessons never reveal themselves immediately – it takes the journey of going into the pain, fully living it, allowing the wound to start becoming a scar and then an understanding will start slowly cracking the door and letting the light in. Or, if we are lucky, the door will be slammed open and we will be stunned into understanding. I am not there yet, I can feel it. The memory of the past, the image of the small, scared, compliant person I used to be still brings knots to my gut and frightens me. That too was me, what if I become that again? Still sitting with the pain… .
And maybe it is precisely because I have worked with myself so incessantly over the past decade that it seems I am already noticing glimpses of light come in, always in the form of questions. What if I am brought back to all of this life to look at myself ten years ago with the eyes of today, to understand what my life would have been like if I had not taken the chances I did, to understand that the guilt I feel sometimes for daring to want more, to live a better life, is a vestige of the past I need to abandon? What if this blast from the past is here to show me once more that I have embarked on a journey I owed to myself to be on, and that taking the road less travelled has made all the difference?
Photo by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash