Why So Sad?

The inner monologue of a struggling young woman, trying to come to terms with the finality of death.

Bashed out rather quickly, not edited, emotionally raw/may be upsetting for some readers (includes references towards the death of a close relative, depression, bad coping mechanisms etc).

For the Black Friday competition.


1. 'A Hurricane Inside My Soul'

Everyone dies. It’s just a fact of life. Life…death…then what? I don’t believe in the afterlife. Once you die, that’s it for you. Life goes on, days pass, tomorrow always comes. It just comes without you. No more worries, doubts, struggles. No more laughter, love, friendship. Nothing.

But what of those left behind?

You won’t notice your absence from the world; you’d be dead. But others will. You touch so many people in your life; family, friends, enemies, that guy in the supermarket, that woman with the baby on the train. Some just for a moment – maybe they won’t even remember you, but for that moment, you made an impression, you touched their hearts. Others have built their whole lives around you, with you, for you…and when you go, they live on, without you.

It is hard, being one of those left behind.

I try not to think about it. How little time we might have left with you, the uncertainty surrounding your prognosis, how each little blip may cost us days, months, or even years with you. I don’t want you to go. I want you to be around forever, for us…for me. 

Is that selfish?

Knowing how much pain you are in, knowing how hard it must be for you, and yet still thinking about myself.

I try not to let you see how much it affects me. You call me an ostrich…head in the sand instead of dealing with my problems.

It’s true. With you as much as everything else I bottle up and ignore.

It’s easier. To pretend it isn’t happening, to ignore the future. But when I’m with you, how can I forget? I see you aching, sick, fatigued. I see you cry in pain. Not in despair…you don’t let us see that side of your illness. You are so positive, it’s amazing. And I love you more for it. Still thinking of others before yourself, even when you are dying.

And you are dying. At a much quicker rate than the rest of us.

It’s such a black word, ‘death’. So final. You want to be cremated, scattered on Dartmoor, one of your favourite places. You are so open talking about the end, wanting us to be involved in choosing songs for the funeral (Bob Marley, Enya…you’re not afraid to be yourself, even in death). My sister always ends up crying. She finds it difficult to compartmentalize, unable to separate the utter heartbreak we both feel about you dying with conversations about your death, while you’re alive.

I just ostrich.

It’s not the healthiest coping mechanism, but it works. And it’s better than the state I found myself in a few months ago, when your most recent ‘blip’ was diagnosed. In some ways it’s easier, being an uni, being 200 miles away from you. I can’t see you in pain, I can pretend you are fine. On the other hand, it can be so much harder. That feeling of guilt because we’re not at home to help you; we’re off living our lives.

But I can’t live my life properly knowing you are dying. My life followed the weather…longer, darker nights, less light, and cold…so very cold. Slowing drowning inside my mind, waves of depressive darkness sweeping over me at random.

Sometimes, it’s (not) fine.

I tell myself I’m fine. There are others in a much worse state than me. I don’t need help. Admitting I may need help would be admitting I’m weak, admitting I’ve lost. I have to be strong, have to do it all myself, have to…

But I don’t. I am not alone, and sometimes I remember this. I don’t like burdening my friends with details, or talking about myself, but I don’t have to. I can surround myself with the people who bring my joy, who help me to like myself, distract me from my problems, without them ever having to know. I love my friends, my uni family, my home friends I hardly get to see. And I’m sure if I did talk to them about everything, they would be the supportive people I know they are.

But I can’t. Or I won’t, I don’t know which. In that respect I am alone, by my own choice.

This isn’t about me though.

I can’t forget that; however hard I try.

I’ve got to keep it together, for you. I know you worry about me, worry I’m not eating or sleeping properly (I’m not), worry I’m not working enough (I’m not), that I have depression (I quite probably do), amongst other things. But you shouldn’t worry. It’s another burden you shouldn’t have to bear. I can’t let you see how low I’ve sunk into this darkness.

You’re such a lovely person, so happy and friendly and full of life, even when dying. I love you so much, you mean so much to me. You’ve been with me throughout everything, so many downs, but even more ups. Nobody will ever replace you, nobody will ever even come close to you. You are my best friend, my closest confidant (although don’t tell my sister; she’s second after you). I adore you and your quirkiness, like the way your face ‘walnuts’ when you laugh, and your silly impressions of the cat. I love your paintings, and the way they are so ‘you’, all the colours (matching the rainbow chandelier I/we love so much), the figures (all the people you love and who love you back) and all your art supplies, telling the story of your life. I love everything about you, even when we’re arguing, especially when we’re arguing. You’ve put up with so much shit, and you’re stronger for it.

However dark life gets, however bleak the future looks, there is always hope. You are my lighthouse in this stormy sea, my sunflower amidst the weeds.

Mum; I love you, and I always will. 

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