Someone has died again. Someone I know that is, because we all know that people all over the world die daily. It’s led me to the questioning of life. The why’s that keep me up often and make for heated conversations with loved friends of mine. Why are we here, striving to be when we’re all just going to die? That is the one thing that joins all of us regardless of race, class or occupation. You can be sure that we are all going to die at some point, maybe early, maybe late (hopefully later than earlier or not really, depending on who you ask). Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs and he had the capacity to create the gadget I’m writing this with but still, he couldn’t evade the masked no face force called death.
I never met my paternal grandparents pictured below because they died when my father was a teenager. They were pictured at a time when technology was not fair to photos in our third part of the world, so all I really have is a distorted face of my grandfather and a body that was his at least.
I met both my maternal grandparents who are now dead. I met my loved sister who is now dead also, at an oh so tender age. To experience loss through death is to acknowledge that there is always the possibility of terror that can not be negotiated. It is also the acceptance that there is no expiry date on grief. Grief comes on notable days. like birthdays and the anniversary of the death but it also comes when it is not invited or convenient and it stays for as long as it stays. There is no negotiation. The thing about triggers, is that you spend your life avoiding them, staying in safe spaces around safe people until one day, something happens, related or not to your trauma and it bulldozes the fence of dissociation down in a way that can never be predicted no matter the amount of careful one applies in life and the next thing you know, you’re in a foreign country surrounded by foreign people and there’s a sudden break to your barrier that is followed by a flood that gushes through, one that is now all of a sudden, way past the point of dissociation.
So why? Why am I in Kenya pursuing documentation of the others because for some reason it’s important to me. Why is building a thing that will outlive me so important to me when I won’t be here forever?
I’m not entirely sure after almost 3 decades on this here earth but what else am I going to spend my days doing if it’s not in the pursuit of greatness? I do not dwell in sadness because I do not have the capacity to, so instead, I dwell in hope, so that I can remain in a sense of wholeness.
To die, is to cause loss to the people you leave behind. A loss that often changes them permanently. I read somewhere recently that the ability to hope for a better tomorrow should also come with the ability to be prepared for a worse tomorrow, because who knows really? Who knows?
That made perfect sense to me because I’ve had 6 years of dealing with the loss of my sister and in a lot of ways, there is a constant fear of pending doom that could very well just be around the corner because these things are not things that are logical in the here and now. When you’ve experienced loss so up close, you learn to be prepared for the worst to happen and that completely removes the capacity to just chill as though you’ve been untainted by misery. Happiness could very well be followed by sadness, gain could be followed by loss, when there is a high, there is a come down. So when I experience utter happiness in moments, I remind myself that happiness is here now but it could very well be followed by doom so I must be prepared for both to survive.
In the last 6 years, I haven’t cried enough to roll down my face because it feels like in 2013, I cried all the tears I had reserved for a lifetime all in a period of time. I cried while my tears, rolled down the appropriated spaces for them, then I cried sideways and filled the tears from one eyeball into the other and double cried with all the tears I had, spilling from one eye into the other and rolling down one eye, two in one, rolling down unceremoniously. I cried it all
So back to the present, why do I try at the things I try at? Why? I choose a thriving life. That is my why. If I have one chance at it, I might as well make the best damn situation out of my one. If I was assured of multiple lives, I could relax and be lax because if one doesn’t work, then there’ll be another chance to try again, but all my brain tells me is that this is my one. So I’ve chosen that as my why. Why I try, to not just survive but to excel at it. That is my why. I want to be an excellent being that did all she could when she could, for myself and for the lost ones, because when you lose someone, you must live for not just yourself but also something bigger than you, something so much larger than life that it crossed over to the other side. The lost ones.
The lost ones.
What is your why?