Friday, December 20, 2013

The More They Pass This Way

Another friend died.

This created an overwhelming stir of feelings, but the strongest feeling I had was nothing.

There was just nothing there. I’d had a lot of loss this year and I thought at this point I simply couldn't deal with loss anymore, or maybe my psyche had decided that there had been enough loss and so it was just going to schedule something else, a certain kind of pervasive numbness.

So many people were so suddenly gone from my life this year, whether through untimely deaths, timely deaths, or because I longer occupied their same space. It seemed like I no longer existed.

That was part of it too. I felt like I had performed my own sort of dying trick this year that made me simply nothing to so many people that I cared about. A sense of being missing that could not be filled, a void that became palpable because without constant maintenance there was no way to exist for another. Perhaps I felt that without the maintenance I just no longer existed for myself.

I was doing all the right things. Working to make friends, going out, trying to meet people. Attending munches in Chicago, going to the local dungeon, talking to people, meeting up, going to quizzes, doing all the things I felt I should be doing in order to meet people and make friends. Yet, still, I felt rather disconnected, despondent, and isolated.

There was an extreme terror of isolation within me.

Or perhaps not isolation, but restriction of movement. I liked feeling free, to go, to do, to participate when I wanted, without being isolated either geographically or mentally. I knew that sometimes I isolated myself mentally; I had a unique ability to make myself the loneliest person in a room full of people. Awareness forced me to work to understand and manage; awareness itself, though, was not enough to make it go away. Just a stopgap measure at best.

Some days it was all fine and I felt perfectly grounded. Other days I swam in a sea of loss. I missed them all, all of them, everyone I’d lost. There was kind of a bone-weary emptiness where they all had once existed that I could not fill. Perhaps the death overlaid everything else with a sense of foreboding. How many of these people that I love will I ever truly see again? Is there a possibility that there will not be an again, not matter how hard I try?

Will I give up?

My friend who died last week, I had invited her to stay with me not less than a month ago. We talked for an hour trying to arrange it. Eventually she decided it was too much trouble. Did I encourage her enough? Could I have reached out to her harder? Should I focus on the fact that I at least had a chance to speak with her two weeks ago? Should I feel guilty for carrying on with my life?

Korea.

So many people there. Would I ever see them again? Was I trying hard enough? The world. So many countries, so many people, places, faces, and names, and all of them special to me in a way that was difficult for me to make others understand. I collected people, and the memories that I collected with them were the fabric that held me together.

These moments of life when I am together with any of you, with all of you, they make me feel more real than I feel when I am alone.

I didn't want to lose anyone else, and I knew logically that through either death, time, or space, eventually I would lose everyone.

And when that happened what would I be at the end? Without my collected remembrance in the mind of a thousand people, was I anything at all?

Another friend died, I went on. I would go on.

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