A dream is a defined as a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. But what happens when you experience your dream? It gives you a sense of satisfaction in most cases not achievable. You dwell in your own world knowing you’re pulling the strings and calling the shots. You can cut when you please and roll one scene multiple times.
“How do you do it?” She asked as she stared into the distance as if to implore her ancestors to send a signal. At this point, she wasn’t even trying. She had thrown in the towel and bucket. It was depressing to see her in this state. I had many answers but would they really be helpful? Would I be adding any value to her situation or further distorting an already chaotic situation? Cindy and I had been friends for a while but we had never been in a situation where she was at rock bottom. We’d both had our lows but never to this point.
“I don’t know what to say. Sometimes no words can really make a difference. I can say many things to try and make the situation better but sometimes all I can do is listen,” I calmly said as I passed her the joint. Cindy had lost her dad who was her world. The loss was harder than anything she had ever experienced in her life. She was an only child that was brought up by her dad after her mother died when she was a toddler. He had dedicated his life to making her comfortable and she never lacked when he was around. He was a beam of bliss to anyone that interacted with him. I had the privilege of having him as my boss and potential father-in-law.
He was involved in a grisly accident when a drunk driver rammed into him barely a kilometer to his home. I took a heavy hit of the blunt and as I let out the smoke, I walked over to the edge of the balcony and stood over Cindy. “I’m not sure what I’m about to tell you will have any bearing in your life but I’m just going to tell you anyway. I haven’t even thought it over but I’ll just wing it. When I lost my dad, I felt the loss but at the back of mind I kept on thinking, shouldn’t this happen? It is a part of life, isn’t it?
We live well only to leave, well, everything. I didn’t even shed a tear. Everyone else broke down and I just moved on like this was all part of a bigger picture. But as months, years went by, I kept wondering, did I really do the right thing?” Everytime something happened and my mum wasn’t there to support me, I kept on thinking, maybe things would have been different with my dad around. And maybe they could have been. He was a great guy. He would have shown me the way. Told me that the world didn’t stop at a barrier. He’d give me advise on how to approach a girl, deal with a heartbreak and be a better man. And just lead a better life, you know?
But it wasn’t going to happen and I had to deal with it. You know my mum has always had my back at any given point. She would stand against her god to defend me. But despite all this I felt there was something lacking. I got everything I needed and love more than anything else but was that really enough? Sometimes I wouldn’t even talk to my dad when he was here but knowing he was there gave me comfort. When I see you in this state, I wish there was something I could say that would make you smile. Just to get a glimpse of your dimples. And your beautiful eyes. But even in all your sadness, I’m happy to see you grieve. It’s the one thing I wish I did. I would probably have accepted it like my mum did. I wouldn’t find different ways to deal with pain I could easily have solved with tears.
So when I don’t tell you to stop crying, it’s not that I don’t care. I know how it feels to not let out the pain. You’re doing something people struggle with. Facing your pain and trying to find your feet. You may find the balance immediately I finish this weird monologue or you may take years because we all heal at our own pace but eventually with trial, most of us heal.” Cindy stood from her seat walked toward me, put her hands around my neck, looked up to me and asked, “But have you healed though?” In my life nobody had ever asked me such a simple complex question. “I…I don’t really know. You know me, have I?” I stammered trying to stop the tears from falling onto Cindy’s face. Suddenly, I was the one in need of the comfort I was trying to offer.
“I really can’t tell. I’m never sure whether I suppressed the pain or dealt with it over time. What I do know is I want to be with you as you navigate this path. It gets lonely and sometimes you don’t need anyone with you even in that loneliness but knowing there’s always someone who can listen and give you comfort is very important. You’ve probably heard me say I don’t need anyone at some point but that’s probably because nobody would understand what I’m going through at that point in time. But sometimes you don’t really need someone to understand you, you just need them to be there and listen. I know I’ve said a whole lot of nothing but at the end of the day I’m here for you. It’ll take time but that’s all we have when
dealing with a loss.”
Cindy smiled as she looked into my eyes and whispered, “I know,” tears flowing down her cheeks.
Sometimes, however, our dreams turn into nightmares. The source of so much joy and pleasure threatens to be the same thing that shatters your world into the ugly face of reality. I feel like I’m waking up from a dream I never thought would end. Not one of those majestic swan-like mornings you see in music videos. This is the ‘I’m drowning and don’t know how to swim’ waking up.
The kind of dream where you wake up gasping for air. It’s not a pretty sight. There are very many things you can rationalize but one thing I have struggled to put logic behind is emotion. Why do people love? Why do people hate? What brings about sadness? Some scientist somewhere may provide some chemical equations with hormones but I would rather stick to a basic approach.
Love is a beautiful thing. It shakes the very core of your existence. It’s a feeling that has no uniform description. It’s a pure feeling. One that comes free of selfish interests. It takes away power and gives you freedom. You get to feel and see life in another person’s eyes. The beautiful thing about love is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be mirrored. Love is about how you feel, not how you respond to the way another person feels about you. It’s not Newton’s Third Law.
It’s a beautiful feeling, but sometimes a draining one. Love may take away from you more than it gives. It may be the reason you suffer. Love may be the primary reason for your pain but that doesn’t make it any less of a beautiful feeling. Sometimes love becomes toxic and the only option to let go.
Letting go is not a sign of weakness. At times you fight for something that will kill you. It’s not in your best interest. Live knowing that the world is vast and experiences are all that await. You can lose today and find another reason to fight tomorrow. The aim is not to win. It’s to live happily. Enjoy the years you spend on this planet and make the most of it.
Losing someone you love is like waking up from a bad dream. You struggle to get things together at first but in time gather the courage to fall asleep again. It’s okay to break down and gather your pieces slowly. We’ve been conditioned to believe loss is a good thing. It’s not a good thing. There’s no better place to be than with those that love you.
Just like waking up from a bad dream, find the inner peace and courage to close your eyes and rediscover a reason to live. The will to live after loss is greater than any other feeling. Make your life your best dream. Share love and don’t expect much in return. Don’t kill yourself trying to spread love but don’t live miserably denying yourself the feeling either. Live to experience and learn.
We only have one lifetime to do what we can. Don’t live miserably because no one makes it out alive.