Saturday, December 7, 2013

And then it was the third year.

Today's rather uneventful day marked my mother's third death anniversary. "It's been three years already", or "It's been only three years since", I still can't make up my mind between the two.

This year, I am writing from the comfort of my latest home in Tokyo, Japan. It may seem to you like December 6 has become "that time to write another depressing post" for me, but that is, in fact, not true at all in terms of how I view this day. I think it's simply that today is the one day in which I feel I can let myself dwell a little more on my grief. Today isn't the day when I write a post "in memory of my mother"; every day, I live in memory of my mother. But if there's going to be any day, it's today for trying to put some of my thoughts into words, because that is what I most regret not doing before, and one of my hardest lessons learnt from my mother's passing.

Grief doesn't gradually disappear or subside. It's always here, tucked away in this corner or that corner inside. It's like trying to hold back an ocean with its waves beating against you constantly. As probably everyone who has ever lost anyone says, you just learn to live with loss, because it's never going to go away. "Time heals all wounds", but loss isn't a wound. It's just… a void.

Of course, there's Tennyson who very romantically states, "It is better to have love and lost, than never to have loved at all."

But, oh, losing is so, so difficult.

It's one of those phrases that you repeat to yourself, hoping that if you repeat it enough times, you'll finally start to believe it. Love gives you so many good memories, and it teaches you kindness and adds perspective and flavour to your life. Certainly, it is a very good and essential part of life. But coming across too much flavour changes your tastes, and with experiencing love, you also learn what it means to lose it, to feel the lack, and the bitterness and resentment on the flip side of it. There were so many days before when I couldn't stand being in society, because I didn't want to see how things could still function without my mom's existence. They sound like two completely irrelevant issues, but are nevertheless among the mass of feelings that grew inside me since my mom became bedridden, even before her death.

The half year from summer and winter of 2010 has been, inarguably, the worst time in my life yet. I suppose one thing to admit (or reiterate, as I basically said the same thing two years ago) is that loss is, in many ways, much more easier to deal with than seeing the prolonged suffering of a loved one. So many times, it hurt me to see people with the privilege to live their lives normally. It made me angry to ride the bus and watch old couples on their way home from a nice walk around town, or perhaps from their daily trip to the grocery store. Naturally, it was even more frustrating when I came across old people who, incidentally, had terrible attitudes. I would think to myself, "Why is this person--so completely undeserving and non-contributive to society--alive and well up until an old age, while my mother--beautiful, strong, and brilliant--was literally rotting away at her still young age, suffering and confined in front of the same white wall everyday?"

My mother has and would have continued to accomplish so much, and would have kept making the world a little brighter everyday, if only she didn't die. Clearly I have no evidence, but I'd like to imagine that she would have made a much more positive impact on the world than some other people, who are still living now, would ever make. It sounds awfully judgmental (or just plain awful) of me to say such a thing, and it is. But everything in life is subjective; objectivity may, perhaps, just be subjectivity in a humble disguise.

Since I was little, for one reason or another, I've always known and accepted the fact that life is unfair. It just is; there's no use making a big fuss about it. It's simply the truth. Saying that doesn't make me a negative person, however. On the contrary, knowing that life is going to be unfair no matter what I do, I live with the philosophy that that fact is not going to change, so I might as well think positively rather than the opposite. It's basically just about the only choice I do have.

I wonder if my mother ever had these kinds of bitter thoughts. She never seemed passive aggressive like how I am. She went through so much in her life, and how I wish the world knew even half of how she lived her rocky life with such finesse. I don't feel ashamed at all about feeling bitter. But I wonder if my mother, with a similarly difficult life, had similar thoughts too and just dealt with it much more gracefully than I ever have.

I can only spend the rest of my life pursuing the grace she had exhibited, so subtle that I was only able to notice after she was gone.

I miss and love you, Mommy.

(Past memorable entries regarding my mother: 2010, 2011, early 2013)

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