When someone I know passes away, I tend to review their lives and focus on the intersection between theirs and my own life. How much time have we spent together. How much I have learned and enjoyed my own existence because of the other person. How much we shared. How much we celebrated. How much we’ve created together.
Somehow the reality is, that it never feels enough. Sadly. It feels there could have been more. There could have been this one extra visit, that one extra meeting, that one extra long conversation that we have put off, or even a simple phone call.
And then they are gone. Just like that. Often unexpectedly.
My uncle, Zdzisław, has died few weeks ago. My father has had two brothers and a sister. The younger brother and sister died earlier. Now he has been left without any siblings. It has been hard for him, and the grieving process took some toll on his health. It is hard for me. Not being able to attend the funeral, and being so far away from the family. Not easy to accept and say goodbye if you are removed from their reality. When my grandma passed away it took over 4 years and two visits back home to understand and appreciate that she is in fact gone. Somehow, the reality back home stays as I have left it, many years ago. I’m often surprised that some of my cousines have children – it often feels to me they are still teenagers – the way I remember them.
One of my friends with whom I have studied in Birmingham, Paweł, has died last Wednesday. He went in the evening to walk his dog and was struck by a speeding car. The 25-year old driver lost control on a corner, and went off the road into the pavement, killing Paweł instantly (according to the Police report). Paweł was 38; he left wife, with two sons behind (5 and 2).
I have been back to Poland in December but did not manage to organise a trip to Krakow to catch up with him and his wife. Christmas, family visits. It is not as much guilt, as sadness. Sadness that we can only do so little. One life is not enough to do it all.
Subconsciously, I try to put some logic where there is none. And explain. And reason. As hard as it is to accept what has happend to Paweł and his family, it is by far harder to live so that there are no deep regrets about that intersection I kept thinking about. Living so that I feel I’ve done it all, right.
Can there be ever “enough” of somebody? Is there a limit on time we spent with the loved ones?
Balance. Finding the peace with oneself, being positive, and always welcoming, offering, and appreciating the time that can be shared and celebrated. That’s all that there is to it, really. Finding the balance.
- Black Swan (2010)
- Only doing things that only I can do