Monday, December 23, 2013

Dear Grief

This has got to be one of those letters that has taken me a long time to write. Sixteen years to be precise- but you already know about that.
You also know what it means for me to be seated here- writing to you, hoping that when you read this somehow you will ease up on me and let me see what's good around me.
I will give you credit for being the unexpected guest every time you show up at my doorstep- with your suitcases and a desire to feed on my emotions- but you are just doing your job I guess. It is not a good job. You should quit- and maybe become a clown. You know- we don't have the clown culture here in Kenya- but who doesn't love to laugh at a funny colorful face? So, maybe it could earn you more money- so you can pay taxes, get your own house and leave me alone, phew!
It's no use hating I guess, but to understand you I have to go through so many things that it feels as though you are savoring the process of breaking me down.
How could you?
How could they?
Is it so hard to ask for an answer that you cannot give?
I wonder...have you ever lost someone you love? Have you ever seen them slip away from your hands with one last breath while you are standing there praying to every supernatural being to preserve their life even for one more day? Have you ever seen the people you love break down slowly over time, because the person they cherish is no longer around? Have you ever seen what pain is when a mother rolls on the ground, clutches her tummy so tight because her child is gone? And what of the father? Have you seen him stare into space as though he were not sure of his reason for living when his child is still?
Now- here you are with your suitcases...I guess you will stay only if I let you, but I want to share something with you- one that I fear am only good at writing and not saying out loud.
I am looking around me.

Yes, I am really looking around and though I stand in the midst of people in pain, I will dare to smile because I still have them. Even if the time I share with them is uncertain, I will smile just this once and dare to be called crazy.

I have them.

They are in pain now- and nothing I say or do can bring back those they've lost- but the way I treat them can always remind them that they are worthy of living. I also hope that when they lose me too- they'll heal with time and dare to stop and think of how much I loved coffee, children, music and books. I also hope they'll think of the times I was awful to them and what they learned during that time.

But, somehow I hope that they will indeed do the one thing that I have learned with your unexpected visits- to stop for a second and master the strength of gratitude.
So, now that you are here- it's been a week- please pack your bags and go visit someone else because I am grateful for the lives that I knew- for the memories of the wonderful people I will never see again but will constantly miss their presence.
I am grateful, for the pain, the tears and the time to ask 'what if' because it has opened my sore eyes to the reality that someone held my hand as I cried, that someone sent me a text or called because they empathized, that someone somewhere has just held their bundle of joy- and can only hope to see them live for more years and become a better person.

So, get going.

And would you do me a favor...yes, whoever you visit from now on, or whoever you come across in your journey please give them this letter.
Sit there and listen as they read it.

Maybe then you will understand just how much alike we are in loss, and the desire to overcome our challenges and sorrow.

How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?