This morning I found out that someone who was very dear to me in Finland has passed away. I didn’t know how to react and so I headed to school, telling myself I would make it through the day but when I reached the bus station and my friend asked me if I was ok, I burst out in tears.
I spent the day noticing things, everyday things, that now reminded me of him, forming a balloon of some sort into my throat. I also kept telling myself I was being selfish, feeling sorry for myself when people, his family and friends were in a much tougher situation. But on the way home I allowed myself to realise that death is a lesson, not to the ones who die, but the ones who live. Of course I was being selfish, of course it affected other people more, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t affect me.
We all live in the same world but we all live our own lives, feel our own sorrows, no matter how big or small. This experience was mine and mine alone in the sense that I was feeling it for my own reasons. Someone was out there crying because they had lost someone important. I was crying for a less moral reason. Mainly because I couldn’t belive this has happened, I couldn’t believe he was gone. But somewhere in the back of my mind I was crying because I was afraid.
See, everything at home has changed, everything I expected to somehow freeze and wait for me whilst I was gone, kept moving, kept changing and living, without me there. It’s like I left the house for a day to go on an adventure and came back to find that all the furniture had been moved, every surface had been tampered with and I was left to find things, desperately trying to reorganise something even when I couldn’t really remember how it had been in the first place. I can’t go home. Not now that any routine, any everyday things I, for some stupid reason, thought I would see and live again one day are gone. I expected that everything would wait, that somehow I could live in this world and that one without consequences. But I am left with the sharp realisation that this is an impossibility. When I go back I will not remember the bus times because they have changed, I will not be able to go see my friends at my old school because it has been shut down, I will not be able to slouch on the sofa with my best friends because we have drifted apart. I will not be able to tell him what I always wanted to because he is not there.
These things affect my friends too, in a more gripping, in the moment, living it kind of way and I am not trying to tell myself otherwise. But it affects me like this and it most definitely affects me just as much. Just because I am not there doesn’t mean I am not affected by it, just because I am not there when the joke is told, doesn’t mean I don’t find it funny. Just because I am not there when the bad news are delivered, when people’s eyes well up with disbelieving tears, doesn’t mean I am not crying all the same. Distance doesn’t change the impact of the feeling. I am terrified of going back, mainly because it will be the final proof of all my fears. I will go to what I once called home only to find that the wallpaper has been changed, that an extra staircase has appeared, a new floor has been built. I will not recognise the furniture and most importantly I will not recognise the people living there. Neither will they recognise me.
All this is entirely my fault. And that is what is worst. There is no one else to blame, there is no one I can be angry at except me. I can’t complain, I can’t cry about it to my friends because they have every right to be angry at me too. And that is why I’m scared, that is why I’m sad.
Death is a lesson, ironically, about life. We cannot control things and we cannot expect to. Things change and we change. The only thing we can do is try to change for the best.