Update 10/10/11: I know this was a hard one to respond to, but I really appreciate the notes you’ve left and just the good energy you always send my way. Some days I’m down and some days I’m up and I guess that’s life (like in the song). Trying to have more of those up moments, and more joyful posts coming your way.
The original Frank Sinatra version feels more raw and real. Don’t you just love that swagger? The way the lyrics are delivered feels like he reads the human condition with pin point accuracy. But I do love the Michael Buble version as perhaps it’s a generational thing and I find it more uplifting, being more melodic, with the gospel choir and big band supporting his vocals. Especially the crescendo and going up to a different key at the end. Love it.
What I wrote yesterday 9/10/11 (Warning: just me ‘unloading’ – skip it if you don’t want to feel too dragged down by my blues):
I just started writing and this turned out to be one of my most personal and reflective posts so far. I am very self conscious about it and it has been in draft mode as I hesitate to hit the publish button. (If you’re reading this, I’ve bitten the bullet and hit publish)
I am still holding back as there is a lot that is too painful or revealing at this point. I also feel deeply embarrassed somehow. Embarrassed that I am such a flawed human being. I thought I would have it all together in my 40’s, but I don’t. Perhaps it’s too self indulgent, but part of the reason why I started this blog is to reveal thoughts that are hard to relate face to face. To record things down before I am unable to. I also want this blog to help others out there who may be going through similar experiences. When life gets too unbearable, I want them to know that they are not alone.
Sometimes when I am feeling low, I try to dissect why that is so and how I can lift myself out of the blues. My early childhood, before I went to school, was a time of pure joy. A time when I felt completely and utterly safe. I felt like the luckiest child around because I knew not everyone had that. As a child the song ‘Nobody’s Child’ made me so sad. I didn’t want any child to be in that situation and couldn’t bear it.
I recall the point in my life when I was happy to the point of being blissful and I yearn for my early adulthood. I had finished with school and felt the liberation of financial independence and fulfillment in my vocation and being surrounded by kind people. Everything was just good and I was living the blessed life. Here are some of the things I recall from that time, that now seems so long ago:
1. Had faith that there was a higher spiritual power and that everything would work out in the end – loss my faith in the moment it was confirmed my father had passed away
2. Was full of hope and looked forward to the next day and not dread waking up to a day of anxiety
3. I saw only the good in people. My first instinct was to trust, even though I was sometimes warned not to be naive.
4. Always happy when I spent time in a natural as opposed to urban setting. Holidays were about being in nature and relaxing and not ticking things off a list.
5. I had an endless store of patience.
6. Had a sense of mission and purpose – a clear idea of where I wanted to go and the absolute confidence that I could get there.
Please allow me to be extra indulgent here for a moment as I want to be as authentic to my feelings as possible.
Since then my life has been shattered. Lost my father when I was barely in my 30’s, a time when life was just beginning and my energy was at it’s peak. All my hopes and dreams were tied to his being in the picture. Everything I did, was for him. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s always too soon. From that moment on, I was altered forever, and it left a gaping hole in me. Loss that I find hard to come back from.
Time made it easier to cope (probably a lot has been suppressed over the years just like a scar that forms over a wound), but it’s an unfair myth that time will completely heal you. It would also be a disservice to expect this of those who grieve. And if you’re grieving, the worse thing someone could tell you is “Life goes on, you have to move on”. Another thing never to say to someone who is grieving for a loved one is “you need to be strong”. Just say you’re sorry for their loss and give them space to breathe. They don’t expect anything more. The most comforting thing someone said to me was sharing their own loss and revealing that you learn to cope over time, but you never ever get over it. In that way he did not diminish, and was respectful of my grief.
I absolutely loathe that funerals in my community have become more about rituals that don’t mean anything to me and fake people who always turn up at funerals and don’t sincerely care about the deceased. They are preoccupied with ‘showing face’ or even ‘marking attendance’. It really fills me with rage that these vultures exist. Horrible people that prey off the sorrow of others. I am sorry, but I feel very strongly about this and need to say my peace and this is my best avenue to do so. I am enraged also because I what my mother had to endure. I am saying these unpleasant things so that other victims who feel similarly oppressed and bullied at the time they need it the least won’t feel so alone. Man made rituals imposed by people who like to show off that they know best and impose their will on others in their greatest moment of vulnerability. With no respect for the people who are closest to the departed. This kind of behaviour caused me so much trauma and is one of the reasons I suffer from post traumatic stress.
Don’t mean to be morbid, but I have to talk about this. One day when I’m ‘snuffed out’, I would want minimal discomfort to anyone. I’m no longer there, so seriously, don’t worry about me. It’s everyone else who is suffering. And why would I want anyone I love to suffer or to extend their pain. Some of my cousins, my mum and uncle shared that they feel the same way, in moments of contemplation. For me, this is what I want – just dispose of the ‘body’ in which I spent my life, as quickly as possible and get back to your life as soon as you can. I don’t want you to be burdened entertaining people who feel obliged to visit, but were not necessarily close to the departed. This is a time when you need all the time and privacy and zero intrusions. Why can’t people understand that? I think it’s best for people to grieve privately. It’s the only way to heal. The expectations of other people in moments of public grieving cause so much unnecessary stress. Often people who can’t cry are cruelly judged, even though you have no idea how much they hurt.
One thing I know for sure – the body is just a vessel. The shell is not the person you loved. Another consoling thought is that he went peacefully, quickly, and it is how I would want to go. My darling father also never grew old and never suffered through incapacitation. Something I would want for myself too. I think that’s how I console myself now. I still have no idea how I made it through the worst day of my life, but I did.
I have also lost trust in people due to being betrayed time and time again. Each time I trusted all over again, but I think my store has been depleted in the recent years. What people refer to as the last straw on the camel’s back. My patience has worn thin, as I became increasingly aware of people taking advantage of me. I have become afraid of people due to this and the at times cruel judgement and imposition of their views about what my life should be. I feel trapped and like a prisoner in my own life and a lot of resentment as a result. I just want to be free from all constraints.
It’s definitely not healthy – the state I’m in. But I have to remind myself that there are still good kind people out there. People who don’t zap you of your energy. If you’re reading or if you’ve commented in the past, I want you to know that you help me, and I thank you for it. Positive words equate to positive energy. I am trying very hard to banish negativity from my life and I don’t want to be the source of it either. It’s really hard though, but I hope to document it.
I hope to find out more about meditation as I think that will help. I am not religious in the conventional or organized sense, but I do believe in spirituality as shown in the movie ‘The Tree of Life’. I believe there are a lot of things and unknown dimensions that Science cannot yet explain. I don’t think time is a straight line, and have often experienced deja vu when I was younger. I want to believe in the continuity of our spirits. I never imagined that I would be so moved to tears by that movie, but I was. It transported me back to the safety and happiness of my childhood and the utter devotion of parents. The cinematography is stunning and I think Brad Pitt gave his best performance. All the actors, including the child actors in it were raw and real. It’s an impressionistic story that tries to convey emotions through the visuals rather than through the dialogue itself which is often muted. To me, the muted voices were a reflection of thoughts running through our minds. It’s about the question we all grapple with – the meaning of life, coping with unbearable loss, and a yearning for an afterlife. The yearning to be with our loved ones for eternity. Terrance Malick is now, one of my favourite directors. His earlier movie, The New World, captivated me deeply as well.
I sincerely wish that this post has not been too much of a downer. I really hope to document ways to move from despair to a happier place. I think that would be my best mission for now.