Sunday, 6 May 2007

Sorrow and Loss

I set out to make a list of recently read books, but already by the second book I went off-track. I decided to make a separate post out of it, with some of my thoughts and experiences about death and more particularly the loss related to someone dying. Basically, a little peek inside my thoughts.

I haven't attempted to structure this too much, but to write it down more or less in the order I thought it. I often have these internal monologues, I lead conversations with myself, or just a running monologue of thoughts, as if I were explaining everything I see to someone. It makes it harder to recall, actually, since my ability of remembering everything is linked to my ability of remembering images and sensations. Mixing words into it destroy that. But I digress. Here are some of my thoughts, pretty much uncensored from what I thought earlier today (the trick is to run for a pad of paper and start writing when I begin a monologue, to get it all down. That way I catch most of it. Cool, huh?).

People around me have died, of course. Relatives, people at school, et cetera. For a while there was a higher than what the law of average decrees number of accidents, overdoses, suicides and murders in the area I grew up. Since the place is too small to even be called a town, you pretty much know who everyone are.

But none of these deaths (acquintances, relatives) really touched me. Most of them I just observed without any emotion at all. When my aunt died, I stated that I was happy she no longer had to suffer (she had some pretty bad cancer).

When my father died, I actually displayed some sort of emotion - relief. I know alot of you might feel shocked by this, but the only feeling I had when I heard he was dead was relief. My flatmate, Beledra, said my smile went around my head. There was relief that he was gone. No more fear. He'd never hurt me again. Of course, that is not strictly true. The paranoia he baked into me sits deep, and on the worst days I even doubt that he is dead - that it is all a ploy to make me relax so he can track me down. But it is getting better. He will NOT track me down. I have even dared take up the lost contact with my family, my siblings. I have loved them from a distance all these years out of fear, unrelated to them. I hope they will forgive me. But I am slowly taking control of my life and it is getting easier.

The bottom line is, I didn't feel loss at any of these deaths. On the other hand, I have often felt - and still feel - a deep grief that I never got to know my half-brother. I never met him at all. What would it have been like to have him around? Lots and lots of what-ifs. I am good at those.

I also harbour a deep panicky fear that my maternal grandpa will die. And he will, we all will, but considering the difference in our age it is doubtful that he will survive me. And that loss I am not totally sure how to deal with. I solved the problem in my usual fashion, distancing myself already now. Regression. I already lost the fight so I give up before the fact. Healthy? Probably not.

I generally seem to have a hard time connecting to people. Be it friends or relatives or colleagues. Perhaps my own fear of being hurt makes me seem so distanced that I turn others away. The fact that I don't know what to say or how to behave in social situations hardly help. The end result being that I feel lonely and left out, blaming them. But, there are two sides to every situation, I realise this. Both sides could do better, that includes me.

Another digression. Back on track. One of the first people I have deeply connected with was Berta the Cat, we were best friends from the start. For over thirteen years she was my best friend, my partner-in-crime, the one I could confide everything to, and that talked back at me without any accusations, hard words or rejections.

So when she died around 14 months ago, I was devastated. And she lived five years longer than the most optimistic bet the veterinarian made back in 2000, so I should have seen it coming for a long time. But I did not. In all my fantasies about the future, she was always there. I still feel more than slightly helpless when I turn around and realise she isn't there. But at least I have stopped hearing and seeing her everywhere.

The last time I saw here was when the nurse carried her away in a cage to be cremated (and what happened before that was a story in itself, no silent going to sleep by a vets hand there - she screamed in pain at the shots. Was he injecting acid, or what? I have never felt so full of hate towards myself, even now I start weeping at the memory).

I have been having nightmares where I found her, finally, and she had been trapped in a cage and in pain all these months, and she blamed me for putting her there and not coming for her, not being there to comfort her. After waking from a such dream I would be breaking out in tears for days, standing in supermarket lines, at work, everywhere, collapsing into bed as soon as I got home, crying myself to sleep from pure exhaustion.

In a book I read this week, Anybody Out There, it was quoted that it takes a year and a day to come to terms with the loss, to really realise that they are gone. I think this is mostly true, it takes a bit over a year at least. Not too long ago, might have been a month or six weeks or even two months, Berta again appeared in my dream, but this time I thought "But you are dead. You cannot be here." It seems the horrible truth had finally sunk in.

Around the same time, I emotionally adopted a new cat, Jonathan, that is as soon as is convenient coming to live with me and be my new best friend. Then I guess I will go through all of this again in ten or fifteen years. But it is worth it to dispell the loneliness, to have a friend that truly accept me and will be there no matter what. I am emotionally ready to open up for a new friend.

The book was about the loss of a husband and friend, but it seems the only thing I can relate to is the loss of a cat. However, I do not doubt that we can feel as strongly or stronger about our four-legged friends, and that the sorrow at their passing is felt as acutely. Am I not proof? Thus I wound up sortof appreciating the book after all, though it by no means fit my usual choice of happy endings books where as little scary or bad happens as possible.

The point to this rant? None I suppose, apart from my need to get this off my heart.


  1. Åh Silme, tack för vad du skrev här, eller, tack för att jag och andra kan och får läsa dessa tankar från dig.

  2. Dine tanker er helt normale! Jeg er normal og jeg har de samme tanker... om min søster som døde av kreft, over min sønn som ikke fikk vokse opp. Jeg deler dine spørsmål om hvordan det ville ha vært hvis han hadde levd.. både for deg og Vk, men også for meg selv.
    Jeg er redd for den dagen 'Besten' dør. Jeg gruer meg!
    Jeg sa også 'YESS' den dagen jeg fikk vite at en viss mann var død!

    Jeg savner fortsatt 'Lille Lufs'; mister jeg noe spisende på golvet, venter jeg at han kommer og spiser det opp.

    Du sier at i den boka du har lest, sies det at det tar ett år og en dag med sorg, jeg sier det tar minst to år med normal sorgreaksjon.
    Hele det første året er fullt av alle 'første gang uten -' hendelser og dager. Andre året blir det mindre av 'første gang'. Jeg tror at du alltid vil savne Berta. Selv om 10 år vil du savne henne.

    Tilslutt: Du vil få en alle tiders venn og kamerat i Jonathan. Han er et elskelig vesen som elsker å ligge på fanget og bli klødd. Han liker å være med på badet om morgenen. Han bare MÅ følge med på toa'n for å sjekke hva som skjer da.
    Han vil aldri erstatte Berta, men han vil komme i tilegg.

  3. Det tar ikke et år og en dag å sörge klart, men det tar et år og en dag å forstå at de virkelig er borte. (etter boka). Kanskje jeg var litt utydlig. Men jeg skjönte det först etter ett dröyt år, så det virker stemme.


Be nice!