When Are You Coming Back?
Who else has asked this question even when we somehow can tell the answer is a seriously bitter pill. One of my closest friends recently lost her dad, and the one question she kept asking was when he was coming back as she just cried uncontrollably. On the other end of the phone, I stayed still in silence, just listening to her ask all the questions we burn our hearts with when we’re going through the motion. I honestly didn’t know what to say except ‘it’s okay, I’m here,’ and I know for sure my words weren’t even heard, at least not while she cried so loud, but that was perfectly okay.
At some point, the silence, her tears, and inaudible sounds from either of us must have sent me into some hypnotized session where I saw all the ones I had lost, and it felt like I could touch the pain all over again. Just glancing at each one like I was walking through this gruesome gallery with painful photos. I stared longer at some as I would ask too, ‘when are you coming back?’, ‘are you ever coming back?’ and in my head, it’ll be wicked dead silence. I had no answer, but I knew they must be gone forever, at least in my life.
“Social media says otherwise because I had seen some smiling and basking in the sun some days ago with the look of no worry at all, and again I stared longer and asked ‘do you miss me?’ but no answer is an answer they say.”
This dark gallery needed some light, but I wasn’t ready to let reality hit it too quickly, maybe it’s the hope we have as humans, perhaps it’s the secret guilt we let our emotions carry, or maybe we blame ourselves for everything that we can’t touch. And the dark gallery stays; after all, it carries paintings of people I lost in both worlds. The ones who had done no wrong of any kind except that nature just put them to sleep for longer than I would wish.
It suddenly started to feel like raindrops hitting hard on the corridor of my gallery, almost trying to ruin fresh photos my mind had just captured with strange sounds getting louder by the second. Just that instance, it seemed like those movies where you’re hypnotized, and at the snap of the finger, you come alive, but in this case, it was my darling friend on the other end trying to clear her nose from all that had piled up from crying. I quickly went back into chanting, ‘it’s okay, I’m here,’ and she said, ‘oh P, I know you’re there, I know you’re there.’ We chorused those lines like some 80s’ broken record, but somehow it made us start laughing, and that made it easy, at least for that period.
I did tell her I’ll always do my best to be there because I learned you couldn’t make concrete promises, you can only do your best, and she knew, knows, still knows that I’ll be here somehow, regardless. Life does happen to all of us; it happened to me, still happens to me, and I bet it’s happening to you as well.
“There are no fancy words when our hearts mourn the death of our loved ones, relationships, jobs, or anything at all, but we pull through somehow. We unknowingly create that dark gallery and visit often.”
I said goodbye to my friend, and as the phone left my ears, that’s when my mind let me realize that my cheek and thighs were damp with all the teardrops that ran different paths. I knew then that in my trance-like moment, the raindrops in my gallery were my tears pouring down like there were waiting forever for this moment. I’m not brave all the time; I also spend some minutes asking, ‘when are you coming back?’ too, but I mostly know the answer, and it’s no longer rocket science to me that time does heal.
“So today, cry if you must, hang more pictures in your dark gallery, mourn this loss, go through it but realize that it’s a phase, and you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. You’re stronger than you would admit.”
Recite these words, I’m stronger than I admit, and I’m doing just fine, then smile afterward. I hope my therapy works for you.
Your turn, how did you handle loss?