Grief hits at the oddest of times. One could go on for days without realizing its effects; replacing voids made by uncontrollable loss, or conscious sacrifice with responsibilities, amusements, and/or denial. Then, at nearly three a.m. on a lazy Sunday, you wake up in a cold sweat, heart racing, tears flooding your eyes while they adjust to the light that you turned on because you weren’t sure if you were in the midst of a nightmare and somehow being able to see your surroundings helps reality set in and brings some sense of comfort to a mind suddenly consumed by shadows.
It’s so easy during the day (especially on a day gloriously lit with sunshine and filled with refreshing breezes to cool a hot temper) to chalk up your cares to nuisances that will retreat eventually on their own. Time spent worrying about what you have given up, what has been said about you, the depth of your loneliness–is replaced with luncheons with old friends, window shopping, and exploration of a city you know you will eventually leave and feel a need to soak in its offerings while you have the chance.
You push your body and heart to their limits, testing their strength and resolve–trying so hard to rise above it all. But the weight of this hubris knocks you out at ridiculously early hours. A Saturday night that might have been spent drinking, dancing, being entertained or being the source of someone else’s entertainment is wasted (?) and all you can do is close your eyes and rest. As soon as your eyes close and you lose consciousness, you become haunted by the ghosts of a past life. A life where things were certain, you were certain–self assured, confident, loved unconditionally. Where you came home from leading a meeting for the organization you had poured your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into, to be greeted by sparkling eyes and a wagging tail. A life in which you were never lacking in physical companionship, though the emotional value of said company may have left much to be desired.
For better or worse, things were comfortable. Happy? Perhaps not. Routine, possibly. But most assuredly, blissfully unaware of the harsh criticisms of you held by peers and colleagues, friends, acquaintances. Confident that your dedication to worthy causes or passion for your organization would outshine any personal flaws of character having nothing to do with your ability as a leader. Sure that your actions would not cause pain to anyone else, and that pursuance of your heart’s desire would not break another’s.
Senior year. It is the beginning of an end, which is not to dismiss other endings that have shaped the path along the way. Classes have just begun, and already my life as I knew it has been turned upside down. Summer gave me just enough time to recover from a life-altering change in direction, and the strength to give up something more precious to me than can be expressed in words, only to be caught off guard the first day of school by a loss far greater in consequence than should be expected of someone trying to hold on to their last ounce of optimism and faith in their own judgment. I don’t mean in writing this entry to imply that said losses are insurmountable, or that the fate of my year (and beyond) has already been decided by these detours–only that, it’s impossible–or unhealthy to go on pretending that nothing has changed just to protect your heart from understanding the gravity of the transitions. And that sometimes– on lonely Sunday mornings, it’s okay to flush out uncertainty by crying until it doesn’t hurt so much anymore.