People never ask me what it’s like. I tell them anyway. It is like having someone in your life who never judges your words, or asks anything of you, having them always there, even before your birth, as much or as little, and then one day they are gone. You could make one phone call. You could send one text message. You could have done that, but now you can’t. The hard reminder comes while looking in the mirror or through your phone records. I am half of something that is no longer here. Am I all here, or just half man? Ridiculous questions become life mottos, fixations, affinities, obsessions.
Something like that is hard to imagine, until the event actually happens. Something takes place. Then it is nothing short of constantly asking yourself if you will ever wake up from this bad dream, or is it a nightmare. Everything moves, contorts, and twists; was it the wind, or just my mind playing tricks? My contacts must be dirty.
One day you wake up, a perfect day, walk outside, and poof the world is upside-down. Imagine sitting in the back of the most beautiful hayride in southern Minnesota looking at the sky taking in life, celebrating, your sister and family members laughing- all big smiles. You are in this massive square trailer, sun beating down on your face. The only concern you have is of the possibility of getting an unremarkable sun-burn, pinked on the cheeks, or maybe even stained clothes. Air smells of dried and cut hay from weeks before. Tractor lurches forward with a grinding sound, gears fall into place, motion. A cold beer is in your hand. A photographer talks with you about the city, life, Iowa, and what it’s all about.
You walk into the reception hall, eat more food than necessary, get prepared to leave, sign some papers with witnesses, shake hands, hug, kiss, and then it is all over. Just moments after you have a sharp pain in your side you walk through green doors to your sister’s reddened face, tears coming down leaving trails. Words you will never forget, ones you don’t want to remember, especially not believe.
Everything changes. Emergency rooms never seemed so unwelcoming. No one wants to be there, but they can’t leave. The food tastes like shit. Every bad joke is an opportunity for silence, and glaring eyes with a chance of flooding. Grotesque positivity; euphemisms handed out like candy. Rooms close in on you, chairs become beds, and you sleep with the lights on, no choice. Everything is on the table; but the table is so small. Even the coffee tastes of medicine. Sometimes you can’t do it.
People complain about depression, obesity, eating disorders, poor relationships, labels that groups or doctors give them, and money, that has nothing to do with sorrow, pain, and feeling right now. This is not a decision, but rather fate, like all of the latter “plights”, “issues”, “problems” (fix mine). There is pizza, Gatorade, and medical jargon. There are new friends you never wanted to meet talking about their sick wife or their son who was in a tragic 4-wheeler accident, again. You stare at the wall- through it now. Everyone wants to talk, you are lost for words. No one gets it, they have to live it. It is one part of life; the most absolute, immediate, sea-change: death.
And people fucking bitch about trivial shit enough to make me want to rip my hair from my head, eyes from sockets… I am not saying they don’t know, I am saying they can’t. Next time you complain about something think about everything you have going for you in your life. This is no complaint, but an honest plea.
This is the same time when shock becomes reality. There is a future somewhere, but now is forever, these moments won’t end. And you don’t have that one person to call or text. People just go. Always say I love you, because you do.