"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

~C.S. Lewis


Friday, October 21, 2011

The separation of souls

People ask, “How are you doing?”

How am I doing.

It’s not so much that there is endless stabbing grief. I know she’s not dead. I know I am blessed to be able to communicate with her as often as I do—an e-mail a week, perhaps more, perhaps less. I know she is in the embrace of my glorious Almighty Father of Light. Those are great blessings.

But my sister is gone.

And it’s not so much that life can’t go on without her. It’s that it’s hard to let it.

In a sense, as she warned me herself, it is like she has died, yet without all of the sharp black chasms of grief. There was no black-clad funeral, no rosy-tinted eulogy, no cut off of all communication this side of heaven. Instead, perhaps it is like she passed one or two or five years ago. The grief is sweeter, sadder, more hushed, and even sometimes forgotten for a day.

Instead, it’s the sort of grief that comes unpredictably, unexpectedly, like a chilling wind that sweeps bitterly out of a radiant blue sky—it’s when you hear a certain song or see a certain picture or open a certain box, and suddenly, all the memories come flooding in to submerge your soul with images and smells and words and memories… exploring the woods in your cloaks while enacting silly romantic stories or watching that one movie until you could quote every line (and just make up the rest) or weaving nonsense stories for hours on end while doing your endless farm chores on cold and rainy days or decorating the Christmas tree in that certain way you always do because it’s more fun that way… Suddenly, you remember everything. And it’s not so much that you are torn with grief right now, but that you are wishing you could go back to then. Just for a day.

Just to re-live that life again.

Because it’s hard to live it now. Now, nothing is different, but everything has changed. When glory is falling in place and the dreams you two shared and are now coming true—you can’t share them with her even though she was the one with whom you wove them; you can’t hear her laugh and see her eyes dance and listen to her whisper, “We knew it would work.”.

Or when it’s late and life looks bleak because you don’t know what to do and suddenly her whispered-echoed words remind you what to do, and you turn to tell her how grateful you are for them and you stop short—because you are speaking to nothing, to no one.

Or you hurt and you go to talk to her for hours because she’s the only one with your soul inside her, too, and you stop, and realize you are crying alone, because she isn’t there and can’t be there and won’t be there, not now, not for years, and you start crying again, but now for a different reason.

And it’s not that I think no one has had to endure this before, and it’s certainly not that I think it could not be any worse. It could be. It could be much, much worse.

But I do not need my soul ripped in shreds to know that even having it ripped in two still hurts.

And when you realize that, you begin to cry all over again, because you realize one more thing.

Another person, on the other side of the world, is going through the exact same thing.