Darkness. We meet again.
I call you “my old friend,” but you most definitely are not my friend. Nor are you my enemy. You are a familiar presence, a being of some sort, thrust upon me against my will in times of tragedy. At least, that’s what you seem to me now. We’ve met each other so many times that I feel connected to you in some weird way. Unlike a real friend, I am never happy to see you, and I dislike you very much. But at this point in my life, there is perhaps no one with whom I have been more intimate than you.
If you add up all of our time together, it’s longer than my longest relationship. And in those intense periods, you’ve consumed my mind, body, heart and soul. You’ve been in my blood and in my bed. You’ve seen me at my very weakest and most agonized state, heard my cries and confessions, my hopes, fears, prayers, and dreams. You know my habits, my self doubts, my anger. You know my heart, and how much I love the people we share in common.
I won’t say you took them from me. That is not your role. Your role is to fill the space that the person I loved once occupied… with darkness. You are the abyss, the cold watery depth, the hole in my chest, in all of our chests, for you descend on everyone who loved the person.
I will say that, even though we’ve met before, this time (every time) feels different. More personal. A little too close to home.
I cannot yet address too directly the still-unfathomable fact that my dear beautiful brother died six weeks ago. Or the manner in which he died – a horrible freak accident caused by a drunk driver.
On an intellectual level, I understand that the driver caused the accident to happen. On a non-intellectual, emotional, subconscious level I do not understand how the accident was allowed to happen by the unseen force(s) of the universe. Random acts of tragedy have always stumped me in this way. It’s terribly challenging to not ask Why, even more so to not point fingers at the sky.
Losing my brother was an energy shift. You, dear Darkness, are the aftermath. The messenger, the ambassador sent to inhabit our hearts and minds until we heal enough to no longer justify your presence.
What a sad existence for you, to be the vessel and bearer of so much sorrow, powerless to prevent the collective pain, eternally unwanted and unloved, watching people suffer from the loss of a love that you’ll never experience. To be nothing more than a void, into which our screams and cries and beating of chests disappear like sound waves in space, dead on arrival, no one to hear them.
The only positive thing I can say about you is that I tend to learn something new every time we meet. Reluctantly, of course. I prefer to learn these lessons some other way.
I can’t say “welcome back,” but simply hello. I have a few more grey hairs since last we met. I’ve put on a few pounds. But I’m stronger and more aware of myself than before. Also, more positive. I know that eventually the painful squeezing of my heart, the confusion and fogginess will subside. I know that the bits of my heart that were torn away will heal in time until they are rough internal scars. I know that new memories will create a distance from old memories, thereby dulling the pain of remembering my brother in a visceral way like I do now. I know that his wife and children will survive their broken hearts and thrive with his strength forever in their bodies and souls.
For now, though, all of us who loved him are going through it. For me, it’s the quiet moments that are the most difficult. It’s taken me six weeks to be able to sit at my computer without sobbing. It took about five weeks to be able to write in my journal that my brother died. Today, it’s still very hard for me to look at recent pictures of him.
But you know all of this, don’t you? Yes, you know it all.
Though I dislike you very much, I can’t say that I hate you because you are born from love. The more love, the deeper you penetrate, and the longer you stay.
And so, here we are, together again… for what will surely be a long period of coexistence. I wonder what you will teach me this time.