You could surmise that much of my writing focuses on death and dying, which means I’m writing about life and living in equal measure. Don’t mistake this for my being all morbid, for I am neither of these things. Death and taxes are a certainty for the everyman (and woman), but for me, death is just as meaningful as life. Of course life and death are inextricably linked, but for me the connection is to a point, one and the same. Existential.
Sixty-seven friends are dead from Cystic Fibrosis and with each death, you lose a little piece of yourself. Whether it chips, rubs off with the brush of a wind or melts, you lose a piece of yourself. If you were a fish, you would lose scales. Remembrances surface and there’s not a day where I don’t think about my friends who are no longer with me, their friends or their families. There are days when the deluge drowns my soul and that monkey crawls across my back when I’m flooded with thoughts of the dead. This is where the process of ‘self’ debriefing comes to the fore – meditation, self-love, yoga, drinking tea on my balcony, boxing. Some gentle remedies, others aggression sessions.
I go through stages where that mulch of memories where the life and death of a particular friend is branded into my brain. This is often accompanied by night terrors, but I am grateful that these have abated. It got to a point a few years ago where I was too afraid to go to sleep because I feared where my dreams would take me. The sting of grief is exacerbated at night and I don’t have to be alone. It can happen when I’m out with my friends, though they would never know. A private hell is just that – it’s private.
Death sits uncomfortably in the belly of society. With all that has transpired, from childhood to adolescence to now, there is plenty of room for me to be damaged, stained, broken. Instead, I am tolerant and accepting of what has come to pass and what will come to pass, which brings me to my own mortality.
At the surface of my skin, I am a happy Pollyanna type, but in all aspects of life there is illumination, as well as an underbelly of darkness. Without the darkness I wouldn’t be who I am, and I like the person I am. I’m a good person – I am certain of that.
Who would you be without your darkness? Do you like the person in the mirror, demons, scabs, scars and all that comes with it? I will always question, challenge, hope and provoke. Simply put, it’s the way I’m wired. For now, I have just the one question:
Can I write the ending?
*as of May 2014