bereavement ramblings # 4

Posted on: May 24, 2020


I don’t believe in reincarnation. But I wish I did and that she would come back as a bird to roam the sky freely and make up for the loss of her legs and for the misery of her end. To see her confined to a fixed place for months and to witness her transition from a playful being to a helpless paralytic was torture and painful beyond words. From the moment she realized she could no longer walk an expression of unmistakable desperation landed on her face that still haunts me to this very day. I hope she is running free now, roaming wild on hills covered in grass and meadows of flowers, exploring new skies and horizons. Heaven may be just a big delusion but one that for now keeps my sanity in check after the nightmare she went through. Run free my poor baby, run free…


In some cases of sexual assault the aftermath of a rape is more excruciating than the actual rape. It’s not that the rape in itself is not as worse as it gets it’s just that when rape happens you go numb to some extent, your psyche freezes, your mind shuts down so that you can cope with the horror and the indignity that your loss of freedom represents. But when your senses come back to life, when you reboot and your mental operating system is fully restored then the second lot of horror begins. You start to realize the full extent of what happened. The terrifying ordeal is replayed over and over in your head. Even though is a thing of the past rape is never over. Now you relive the rape at full alertness and the horror of it is presented to your mind in its whole significance.

This two-step process of dealing with a traumatic event is not unique. I find some similarities in the way some people process death and the loss of their loved ones. In many cases when someone close to you dies you go numb, you cannot grasp the extent of what has just happened as if things are not real and you switch to autopilot mode. And then after a while it hits you. You wake up. You get sober. No more sleepwalking. No more inertia. No more oblivion. No more anaesthetic rendered by your defensive psyche. The aftermath of someone’s death can be worse than their actual death impact. When someone has just died you cannot quite feel their absence. Their presence is so overwhelming after all. How can you accept they have disappeared when they are so still there? Your heart and your mind and the place where they lived is so full of them. But then after a couple of weeks their absence gains some weight and it hits you hard. You start to relive their agony and their death at full alertness. The numbness and the mild sedation that the shock rendered when their death took place are no longer there. Now the mourning begins.

While she was dying I didn’t have time to be angry and I didn’t allow myself to be perceptive about my own suffering. Her painful condition was my focus and the only thing that mattered to me. I was there to serve, to nurse her and ease her pain. Now that she has gone I can revisit her suffering and take it all in. Now I can be angry. Now I can rage about not being able to prevent that tumour from growing inside her and ultimately killing her. I can rage about not being able to protect her. I can rage about her final degradation. If at the time of her death everything seemed foggy and surreal to me, as if I was in a heavy dream and my pain somehow muddled, now in the aftermath of her death I am fully awake and alert. The rape of her agony and death can be carried out in my head with no anaesthetic.


I’m not a morbid person despite my obsession over death. For decades I even couldn’t look at a dead body and I dreaded the thought of needing to attend a funeral. I don’t find death attractive. I am not drawn to death, to its mystery. I have no goth propensity. But the idea that we are mortal and that we are all actually DYING with every second that passes, fully ignoring the fact, was a constant obsession since I was a teenager. We live our life based on a psychological delusion, that we carry on forever, oblivious to death and to the disconcerting truth that we are mortal creatures. There’s a defensive mechanism right in the center of our conscience that makes us fully ignore this unbearable truth so that we can carry on living. As far as I am concerned this layer of protection never existed. The veil is torn and broken. The big elephant in the room exposed. I don’t understand how people go about their lives without thinking of death and living their life AS IF they are immortal. I am at a loss when I see their ruthless ambition, walking over dead bodies, as if those things matter in the least and they will be everlasting. The fact that thinking of death and our mortal condition is a pointless exercise since it doesn’t get you anywhere and doesn’t’ provide answers has some validity but is neither here nor there. At least it gives a better perspective of our life and of what’s really important.


When someone you don’t really know that well or who is not that close to you dies you think of their death as something terrible that happened to them. But when someone you love dies this simple perspective changes. You feel that their death happens to you. They are such a big part of your life that it’s something terrible that happens to you. You need to make an effort to overcome your solipsism and think of their death as something independent of you. Whenever I think of her death it takes a bit of effort to adjust my perspective and see it as her tragedy not mine, to feel outraged for her disaster not mine.


I don’t believe in a transactional God. The idea that I have to please God, to bribe Him with my deeds and with my acts of kindness as if He is a merchant or a clerk is preposterous to me. One of the reasons why I am a Christian (albeit an unworthy and unorthodox one) is because the concept of Grace breaks the transactional design that sits at the core of any religion. The eternal quid pro quo. In Grace you give and don’t expect anything in return. If you get something back, like gratitude, is great but it’s not necessarily part of the deal. I’m not saying that Christianity is not a transactional religion at all nor that because we are transactional creatures by nature we are evil. I’m saying that Christianity in Grace manages to transcend it. And that’s beautiful.

But if there’s any truth in the traditional imagery of religion with one balance pan gathering the good deeds and the other balance pan the wicked ones I know that, as unworthy as I am, I have at least one thing that I can put there when time will come, without being ashamed: my love for her. I might not have succeeded to love the people I came across the right way (even though I could dispute that) but I surely loved her the right way. I can’t boast about any achievements in my life for I always lacked social ambition  and I couldn’t care less about climbing the social ladder. But if we are in this life to experience love and learn how to love then I have at least one solid achievement: I loved her more than I loved myself. And that’s something. You might be surprised that some people have even less. If it’s not enough to be granted eternal redemption I hope at least that I can qualify for the Purgatory.

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literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

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