To Live or to Exist
By Leila Koepp
I always had zest for life. Before the loss I felt alive. I lived life intensely. Since David died I somehow did not care very much about anything. I simply sat, wailed, analyzed and could not wait for the day to be over so that I could drown my sorrow in sleep. The next day I faced the same awful existence. I no longer knew who I was. I no longer felt whole. I no longer wanted to engage in life. I had no reason to go on living. I simply began to exist.
I cry a lot in secret. I try to hide my sorrow. How sad it is to hide my tears especially tears of such deep sorrow. Yet these tears are part of who I am. I am a mother who lost a most wonderful son. What makes me angry is that people consider time past as a cure to sorrow. Sorrow will always be a part of me. Tears will always seep out of my eyes no matter how hard I try to hide them.
I often find myself in a deep hole full of darkness and despair. Some say that I can choose to be happy. I do not think that when you lose a child you have such a choice as your very soul is affected. When things happen some say that in a few years it will not matter. Losing my son matters for a lifetime.
In time I realized that no amount of grieving is going to bring my son back. Even though I cannot forget the loss and cannot change what happened, I must focus on what matters in life. I wanted to go back to being me again. I wanted to be alive again. Yet I could not as the loss was too massive to comprehend. It did not allow me to be alive. I was devoid of hope, energy and the desire to do anything. Despite all the good that was left behind including my husband, daughter and grandson, I felt empty on the inside.
I finally asked myself: “How do I live intensely as opposed to simply exist”? As time went by, my soul felt alive every now and then. I seemed alive when I gazed at the sky as it drew me towards my precious son. I wanted to reach out to him and to clasp his hand. At night the stars and the moon comforted me somehow. I felt alive when I saw flowers and heard birds sing. I was so drawn to nature and it revived my soul every now and then. I felt alive when I held my grandson and rocked him to sleep.
To be alive you need to create something. Read, write, garden, have conversations with friends. Talk to those who share a similar loss. Try to help them. Be there for them. Try to laugh every now and then, if you can despite the pain. Hug your loved ones and tell them that you love them. Do not hold back your feelings. Be open and hold your head high. Sleep and enjoy good food. Set your mind to see that life is beautiful. Your mental state has a lot to do with how you spend your days. Remember that life is a gift. Cherish the moment. Do whatever makes you feel good. You have earned the right to do whatever eases your pain and restores life and joy to your soul.
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