Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about death, and losing someone you love.
I have never lost someone close to me. The closest I’ve come to losing someone was a childhood friend of mine, about a year ago. He was more my brother’s friend than mine but I cared for him a lot and saw him as a brother-figure in my life. So although I have some semblance of what loss feels like, I have not experienced it as deeply as most people in the world have had the misfortune of experiencing.
Recently, I once again felt that feeling of loss when a girl in my school, who was only a year younger than me, committed suicide. Her name was Marya. The moment I heard of her death, I felt as though someone had stabbed me in the heart. I didn’t know her personally, nor did I ever have a proper conversation with her but I felt the loss nonetheless, like an ache deep in my core. I had subconsciously gotten so used to seeing her everyday at school. She seemed like a great person and I regret not getting to know her better. She always seemed so cheerful and exuberant and never once had I seen her down or sad. I guess it goes without saying that you could never truly know what a person is like; they make seem happy and carefree on the outside but they might be fighting a raging battle inside that no one knows about.
It was a Saturday when she shot herself. I came to school the following Monday with a heavy heart, knowing I wouldn’t see her smiling face that day, or ever again. I remember very little of that day because I spent the whole day enveloped in a dejected state, but two things stand out in my memory:
She used to spend most of her time with two boys who became great friends of hers. And the first thing I remember seeing that day just a few moments after I entered school, was one of her two friends rushing away from the crowd, his face scrunched up in pain. It was evident that he was trying very hard not to cry. My heart broke for him. Especially because I had seen that boy around school before he met the girl. He was always alone and spent most of his time with himself until he met Marya and they became friends. It must have been so devastating to know that the person who became one of your first friends at a new school, who finally made you feel welcome, was no longer in the world.
Another moment I remember vividly happened a little later in the day. The initial state of sadness that had overcome the school had vanished and everyone was smiling and laughing and once again busy in their day-to-day activities, myself included, and I felt very guilty for it. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Is it that easy to get over a loss? Is it that easy to be forgotten? Will this be the case when I’m dead?’ I dwelled on these thoughts for a little while after and I realized the error in them. It’s not easy to get over a loss. You never truly do actually.
Losing someone is hard. It is painful. And that person is never truly forgotten. You may smile and laugh and lose yourself in the tidal waves of life, but your mind always returns to the one you lost. You will lose people in your life and it will hurt. Loss is a given. And even when you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down, life still goes on. Time goes on. And you are expected to go on with it. And as hard as it seems, you’ll slowly learn to do just that.
There is no need to feel guilty over not constantly thinking about someone you lost after they’ve left the world. Because you’ll be carrying the pain and the loss with you for the rest of your life. But with the pain comes the memories of the time you spent together, and you learn to cherish those memories and hold onto them dearly. You learn to move forward with your life, keeping them forever in your heart and your mind. And one day you too will be gone, and all that will be left is the memory of you.