You always know. That sinking feeling you get in your stomach never lies. Usually, you receive a text or a missed call from someone you never or rarely talk to and then the instincts take over from there. I should know, I’ve received that call five times now and each time, it played like clockwork. I can’t speak for everyone else whose received that call, but similar to the “Five stages of grief”, I experience a string of emotions that play out as if they were a procedure written in a book.
For me, there’s the initial stillness. Not shock or numbness. Just me sitting in my stillness trying to understand what I just heard. Questioning the validity. Hoping it’s a dream or a sick joke.
Once I’ve finally processed what’s happened, I look for signs and suddenly everything takes new meaning. Suddenly, the smile looks like a facade. Suddenly, I know that what you posted wasn’t just a meme of something you agreed with – it was more.
Then, I go down memory lane. I look at every photo we took together. Replay our conversations, and relive our time spent together. I think about the good times of course – us dancing the night away and laughing until early morning. But I also think about the bad times. The times we would always pick up the phone, and not get off until the other person stopped crying.
Does this all sound familiar to you? If so, you are no stranger to what follows.
This is the part that sticks with you. The part that haunts you if you let it. It’s the part where we blame ourselves.
If I had just called her.
If I had just texted him more.
If I had asked her how she was doing.
If I had told him I loved him at that exact second.
If I had known.
Even when we know it’s not our fault, we can’t help but feel as if we contributed to the death and not enough to the life. We think we’re magicians. Superheroes. Gods. When the truth is, “you can’t save people you can only love them”.
They say to be kind to everyone, because you truly don’t know what they’re going through. Just please don’t forget to be kind to yourself.