Cloak of Despair


I’m amazed by the volume of sadness I carry, and convinced it will one day spill from my pores for everyone to see. Many times when I’m alone, I travel back in time to the moment life lost its meaning, and it felt like I couldn’t continue. My despair covers me like a tarp; it follows me everywhere. How do I move on when it refuses to let go?

I lie down with my eyes closed; sleep has long fled my bed. My heart sits dead in my chest, hands wrap around my belly, and my legs wrestle with the sheet. I cry out in my sleep, my dreams are filled with ephemeral forms that twirl and dance. They mock me whenever my fingers pass through them, a reminder that I can’t have what I desire. I’m wandering in the corridors of the past and the exit eludes me.

What amount of grieving is required when loss cannot be quantified? If all the variables are right and nothing else can replace it, like a hollow, you are left with a hole in your chest. We are told to move on, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and that grieving isn’t forever. But I’m trapped. I’m a bruise with no band aid, my loss is a parasite that feeds off my existence. Living has become for me a dirge to all the things that ever mattered.

I cannot scrub my mind clean, and condition my heart to forget the stabbing pains. My anguish is made from the finest threads. Things can never be as it was before.

People try to give me guidance. They tell me of their loss as if we are comparing notes. They say, “We understand how you feel. You are not alone.” How peculiar is this show of camaraderie we display when tragedy strikes? We shake hands as we introduce ourselves in the fellowship of pain_ ‘Hi! I’m new. Nice to meet you; Hey! Welcome back; You mean that one sitting morose in the corner? He’s a veteran, poor guy!

Living has become for me a dirge to all the things that ever mattered.

I hurt, but the wound festers unseen. Some people wear smiles to hide their pain. It says, ‘I feel dreadful of course, but if I let it show you’d be uncomfortable around me. Let’s play pretend until I’m okay.’ How about me? I don’t want to get over it. I won’t pretend to be okay so that other people would not be offended that I’m broken.

I guess this is when I’m supposed to tell you that I eventually met someone, they said all the right things, and I had the courage to rip to shreds my sheet of sorrow. I found a way out and now I’m better. Bless you! However, I’ve only just pinned my badge of grief, and I’m a long stretch from the release that comes with time and healing. I’m aware that each passing day chips away the pain, still I also bear the risk of plunging into despair when my memories are triggered by sight, sound, smell or touch. I carry my cloak of despair everywhere I go; this is only the beginning.

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