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Letting the curtain fall

By Lawrence Kritzinger

It is Sunday evening. For whatever reason, my subconscious has been regaling me with choice tidbits from my memory banks, not all of them pleasant. They disturb me, and so I write. I don’t know how else to process them. So permit me this self-indulgence, please.

Sometimes, death wrenches someone from us whom we knew all our lives. Whether it happens abruptly or becomes one drawn-out, agonising goodbye, it is never easy to be the one left behind. Regardless of whether one regarded them with admiration and awe, or fearful dread, the river Styx represents the epitome of finality. Whatever has not been said or done, becomes an eternal “if only”.

There is another pernicious side to the coin (coil)? Memories of things said and done by someone are not magically obliterated when they are gone. Sometimes, these things continue to console or confront us long after we have said goodbye to them for the last time.

Worse, it is often our own words and deeds that caused a ripple in their life, and which are now forever caught in an infinite loop across the pool of our memory of them. And often, these are the things we remember when we lie awake in the lonely hours of the night, playing games such as “What If…” and my personal favourite “If only I hadn’t…”

When you lose someone, whatever has not been said or done becomes an eternal “if only”. (Cromagnonde Peyrignac, Flickr)

When you lose someone, whatever has not been said or done becomes an eternal “if only”. (Cromagnonde Peyrignac, Flickr)

Thing is, separation is painful. In any form. If that separation is for a reason as permanent as death, the pain becomes intense as the realisation hits that there will be no opportunity to “fix things” with the dead.

You can’t confront them about the things they did that tore your life apart. You can’t beat your fists against their chest and berate them because their influence prevented you from becoming the person you could have been. You can’t even tell them that you now understand that they didn’t “steal” your destiny from you; that who you are now is the result of your own choices, not of what they did.

The worst is that you cannot tell them that you forgive them. Not conditionally. No “ifs” or “but you have tos” appended to your forgiveness. You can’t tell them that you finally understand that they too wrestled their own demons, fighting against becoming the person they turned out to be.

You cannot share with them that you are scared because you see so much of them in you.

Read more on author Lawrence Kritzinger’s blog.

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