“Why did this happen to me?” I asked myself when our son left us. It was not just a question but also an accusation. I didn’t know it then but now I realize I was trying to find someone or something to blame. When bad things happen, most of us try to reason out why something like this had to happen. I was no different.
It was not a temporary loss. My son had not left on a journey. He was never coming back. He was gone forever. I believed he had gone to a better place, a place which I call heaven. I tried to look for meaning in the past. I relived the moments when my son was among us.
If only I had paid more attention to what was happening in his life. If only I knew the turmoil which lay beneath the calm and pleasant exterior. Alex was loved and surrounded by people who cared. His parents, sister, other family members and friends never saw a sign of what lay ahead in the future.
If only I had talked to Alex about what he wanted to do, would I have known what was in store in the future? If only I could go back into the past and change things. I realized I will never run out of the many “If only” thoughts which will continue to plague my mind, forever.
I was angry. I was afraid. I was looking for something which would tell me why it had happened. I was looking for some kind of explanation which I thought will enable me to come to terms with my loss. I never found a satisfying answer until I started to meditate.
In me are my strength and my weakness.
Meditation to me is simply spending time with my thoughts. It’s examining my own inner self, or soul. In the beginning, I searched for answers around me, then within me. I soon realized I was asking the wrong questions. I was brooding instead of broadening my horizons.
The question was not why did this misfortune happen to me but why did something like this have to happen? When Alex died, he sent a message which I suddenly realized. Life is precious. Life is too precious to fritter away asking the wrong questions. I realized the question I was afraid to ask was how will I live without him?
“Death is not the opposite of life but an innate part of it. By living our lives, we nurture death,” says Haruki Murakami. It was a frightening and at the same time profound revelation for me, when I realized this connection between life and death and the inevitability of it.
Grieving and living can coexist.
Alex is not here but his presence lives within us. There’s no denying this truth. Alex’s physical absence, however painful it is, should not prevent me from recognizing his soul which lives on in my mind and heart, in my memories of him.
Suffering a loss can be a trying period. It is not only me but many others who miss Alex. It is natural to be overwhelmed by emotions but it is also important to be practical and focus our mind and heart on the right questions.
I will forever feel his absence but I will also hold on to the message he tried to convey. It’s up to me to interpret his death and the life I have to live without him.
When we sow a seed, it grows into a plant and we forget the seed was responsible for the life it created. The presence of Alex is in my soul. He is gone forever but he will also be with me forever. I will never stop grieving Alex’s loss. It will last a lifetime. However, it will not prevent me from living. Why? Because I loved Alex when he was alive and I still love him. As Nietzsche once said, “He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any how.”