March and April

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
updated

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What can you do when the world has gone flavorless, when every action you take is plagued by a biting question: but why?

Grief and bereavement can bring you to feel as though you, too, have died. It felt as though I had died with you, Shereen Van Eckelberg (2002 - 2016) when your life support came to an end. It was nighttime here in Erbil. That night I could not sleep, or the next either, or the night after that. It was two days before I checked my messages and found out what happened. But it is possible -- could you have been the reason the insomnia struck me so inexplicably?

After the loss of a loved one, step by step, moment by moment, life seems to reassemble itself. One day my life was mostly intact, then the next I was on a lonely shore with vast, vast, deep oceans of sadness ahead. After some weeks or maybe a month and a half, only then did I finally start waking up without feeling dissociated from myself: the sense that I was a stranger lost in my own uncharted mind. And the bouts of crippling grief no longer paralyzed me so frequently, when I would stumble down to the floor and fight to contain the sadness and the guilt, the guilty shame of being alive. How many times could my skin regrow, only to be flayed yet again?

Even if it feels impossible to say good-bye to you -- it is possible to say hello to a new day. Looking back on these memories of March and April, before my eyes I saw that I'd somehow been living all this time: life, this time at least, seems to have caught up to me for the best.