What have I learned from Chuck’s death?
This particular question, posed to me either in genuine curiosity, or in a weirdly platitudinal manner, never fails to bring forth all the dark humor of my soul.
What do people possibly mean, what have I learned from Chuck’s death?
I no longer stumble in my response; I state it outright to them, always with a note of disbelief in my voice that the question was posited in the first place.
What have I learned?
Okay, here’s what I can tell you, in good faith and in all seriousness.
I’ve learned that life can be shit.
It can feel like shit, and you keep breathing even when you can’t breathe.
I’ve learned your mind almost breaks as it tries to comprehend the meaning of forever.
I’ve learned that it’s possible to claw at my skin, trying to rip the pain out of my body, but it doesn’t work and the pain remains, thrumming through your blood.
I’ve learned to understand that the human body can produce animal sounds from deep in the gut, and, as deep as the emotion is that pulls those sounds from your body, there is more that is deeper, that can never quite reach full expression.
I’ve learned that yes, I am as strong as I’ve always been, and death did not make me stronger; it only made me resent myself, as crazy as that sounds. Resent myself because I am so strong, when I would give everything I own to have a moment to just relax into arms wrapped around me. Resent myself because I can’t just break down; it isn’t in my nature. But what I would give to break and have people around me scurrying about to take care of me.
I’ve learned that it simply isn’t that easy to die of broken heart syndrome…because I considered myself the most likely to, and I didn’t and haven’t died of it. What the fuck?
I’ve learned that I can live two very real, but diametrically opposed, lives, and be fully present in both. Perhaps the fact that I’m a Gemini assists me in this. I live fully engaged in today, on the outside, creating and living a life, and also fully engaged in my past, with Chuck. Both worlds are real to me, and I dance quite easily back and forth between the two.
Keeping company with the life I live in the past is a rich fantasy life that I live in the present, but inside my head where nobody sees. In that world, I’m thinking mostly of Love and romance and a life that has nothing to do with the mundane activities I must engage in to keep my daily life going. External realities are not my true reality; my real world spins inside of my soul and my heart and mind, filled with images of romance and kisses and spectacular Love.
Chuck didn’t have to die for me to feel more compassion…more empathy towards my fellow man. He didn’t have to die so that I could suddenly realize the importance of showing Love to those I loved. I showed him every damn day, every minute of every day, how much I loved him, how much I felt loved by him. I showed Love to everyone in my orbit, thank you very much.
The only thing I know any longer is that when the longing and loneliness of Chuck’s absence from my side threatens to overcome me, I must default to Love. I must, for my soul’s sake, for my sanity’s sake, think about Love. I must remember that this grief is Love. And that Love maintains me. That Love is still here.
Love must always be the default.
As it was when I was a we with Chuck.
As it is now, alone.
Love is all there is, whether there is life or whether there is death and grief.
Love, quite simply, is all.