Three Years of Grief
When I was a young kid (I think around 4 or 5 years old), I remember getting separated from my family and lost in a big convention hall. Others in my family will remember better, but I sense I was gone for some time, because I managed to find a comfy place to take a nap, somehow sure that my family would find me. Memory could be failing me now – if I was tired, it was likely this could have taken mere minutes, I was that kind of kid. But I felt safe, because Mum was out there somewhere and she’d find me. She always found me when I wandered off.
Another year has passed since she was stolen from us – unfairly, cruelly stolen. Three years now that we’ve all carried her memories without the satisfaction of reminiscing with her. Three years with the world feeling a little less secure because she isn’t coming to find me when I get lost. And three years where I’ve been lost a lot. I miss her in ways that even the poets can't capture.
Today I’m thinking of two things: the first is the cost of living in this world that we’ve created. We tolerate violence daily, in part because we don’t see it, or if we do, we feel we have no power to enact peace in the face of violence. I know that I lost my Mum to a brutal ideology that tolerated violence perpetrated against the “other.” We, collectively, have created a world where violence (particularly against whatever “we” perceive as the “other”) is tolerated, even when our words speak to its intolerability, our actions don’t hold this conviction. In many of my social circles, my loss, the violent loss of a loved one, is an anomaly. In other communities, this is not the case. Friends, remember, that to not be touched by the trauma of violence in your lives is a privilege that not everyone has access to, not everyone can claim. For some people in this world, violence knocks on the door each day. The loss of my mother was not mired in victim blaming or questions of her worthiness to be mourned. I am grateful for this as it is not the case for everyone who is taken at the hands of violence. So, today, again, I want to remind you all of this thing called pacifism. I will write more on this soon, but for now, just remember that this is an option, because so often these days, the message we receive is that it is not a viable or pragmatic option. Remember that pacifism is not passive, and it is not just the absence of violence. It is the active protection of peaceful attitudes and behaviours towards one another. It is the rejection of tolerating violence against any(body), including the “other” (or our planet, for that matter). Pacifism is active because it requires us to make choices, not just to “do no harm” but to really commit with our thoughts, our money, and our time towards those actions that make it possible for everyone to live without the ever looming presence of violence.
The second thing I’m thinking is this, very obvious thought: I wish I could hug her again, or dance with her again, or just speak with her again. Call your loved ones. Today is a good day to do it. You just read all my ramblings, you probably have a moment right now to do it. I told Mum I loved her every time we spoke, which was almost every day of my life until she died, and I still don’t feel like I told her enough. When I think of it now, it feels like it could've been the only thing we talked about our whole lives, and it still wouldn't be enough. I have also realized that I have an entire search party of friends and family who will always be there in moments when I get lost, and I am endlessly lucky for each and every one of them.