When a loved one dies there’s a constant, vicious, emotional battle between wanting to move forward and then not wanting to. And I say move forward and not move on because no one can really move on after the death of a loved one. Whether it’s a parent, sibling, child or spouse, something about losing a member of your immediate family stirs up this conflict within you.
After some time has passed you begin to find subtle joy once again in the trivialities of life, but with every hint of pleasure comes a burden of guilt. It feels like you are betraying your loved one. You are here, alive, and very much enjoying life whereas they’re gone, laying six feet below the ground.
Perhaps it’s easier for people of faith. They are certain that their loved ones are in a ‘better place.’ But what happens when you’re not even sure there’s a better place. What if your loved one is really gone, and you’re here, sipping margaritas on a beach, or laughing at a lame joke by a coworker, or shopping at the mall. It’s a huge burden honestly. You are weighed down with the idea that you should be investing your time doing the things that they loved, because after all, it’s unfair that their lives were cut short and yours wasn’t. But if you do the things that they wanted to do then perhaps you’re making up for the time they lost.
This was my logic for probably the first three months after Rizq died. Then one day I come back home after work, and my family are having fish for lunch. I sat at the table, stared at the fish and decided that, you know what, I don’t like fish anymore. In fact, I never liked it. I only pretended that I did because Rizq loved it and I wanted to share that with him. And that’s when it hit me, I don’t have to keep on doing things I do not enjoy just because he loved them.
In reality, no one can make up for anyone’s time on earth. I want to be able to live my life to my heart’s content because that’s the way he lived, and that’s how everyone should live. And it’s not for the idea of him ‘looking down and smiling’ to see me happy. It’s about me getting one shot at life and wanting to make the most of it. I’m not immortal, I’m going to die too. I would have loved to spend every minute of my life with him, but he’s gone. And I should be able to not eat fish anymore and not feel bad about it.
I stopped eating fish alright. But the guilt still hasn’t gone.