“Let me tell you one thing: I am old.
That means that I have survived (at least until now). It also means that many of the people I knew that I loved have disappeared.
I saw friends, best friends, acquaintances, colleagues die. I saw my dad, my mom, my grandparents die. I saw the love of my life die. I have seen relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a lot of other people die. I did not have children, and I do not even dare to imagine the pain it must be to lose one’s son or daughter …
But here is my modest contribution:
I wish I could tell you that, over time, people get used to the fact that people are dying. But me, for my part, I never knew how to do it. And to be honest, I do not want to. The truth is that it tears me in the most atrocious way when a person I love dies, no matter the circumstances.
But I do not want to feel anything. I do not want it to be just “a thing that passes”. My scars, my pain, are a legacy of the love I had for this person, the relationship we had the chance to live together. And if the wound is deep, it means that this love was too. So, so be it.
Our scars are a legacy of our lives. They testify that we can love deeply, live deeply, be wounded in the depths of our soul and still continue to live, and yet continue to love.
And the crust that covers the wound is stronger than the flesh.
Scars are the legacy of our life. They are only ugly for those who can not see.
And when it comes to pain, and in terms of absence, you will see that they come intermittently, a little like the waves do.
The loss of a loved one is a sinking, a storm.
When the boat sinks, at first you drown, with pieces of wreckage floating around you. All this debris that only painfully reminds you of the beauty, the brilliance, the past splendor of this vessel that was, and is no longer.
And that’s all you can do: float. You’ll look for a piece of wreck, you’ll hang on for a while. It may be a material object. It could be a happy memory, a photograph. It could be another person, shipwrecked like you on this boat, who is also trying to stay on the surface.
For a time, all you can do for your salvation is to float, tossed by the elements. Try to stay alive.
At first you will be caught in the storm, waves of thirty meters that fall against you without mercy. They arrive every ten seconds, and they do not give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on, suffer, float.
After a moment, maybe weeks, maybe months, the waves will still be huge, but you’ll see they’ll be a little more distant, they’ll give you a little more respite. Of course, when they crash on you, they always engulf you, dragging you to the bottom in a whirlwind of foam. But in the meantime, you can breathe, you can live.
You will never know in advance what will trigger this wave of grief. It could be a song, a photo, the crossing of a street, the smell of a cup of hot coffee. It can be anything and everything … and the waves continue to break on you.
But between the waves, there is life …
And after a while, you will see that the waves will be slightly less threatening.
Maybe the biggest ones will measure twenty meters. Or fifteen meters. And even if the waves are still present, even if there are always bottom blades, they continue to be spaced.
From now on, you have time to see them arrive. An anniversary, a commemoration, a Christmas family … You see them arrive, most times, and you have time to prepare.
And when the wave finally breaks on you, you know that one way or another, you’ll manage to come out on the other side. Completely soaked, coughing, still hanging on your little makeshift raft, but you’ll come out.
Here is the advice of an old man, do what you want. The ebb and flow of the waves will never stop, and somewhere, so much the better. But you will learn in time that you can survive the worst storms. And that other waves will arrive. And that you will survive, too.
If you are lucky, you will have many scars left by many loves. And a lot of wrecks, too. “