I just got out of the station. It was start-June but my mind forced my body into believing it was mid-November.
I would hope for rays of sun to penetrate the heavenly fortress of clouds. Something golden to color this palette of graphite gray that embodied this god forsaken train station.
This day felt like God – or whatever we turn to – has left us. I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in fate, I don’t… believe. A quiet nihilist, perhaps, who incidentally is seduced by the aesthetics of religion – or some of them, at least.
But on this day, you were reminded of God. You’re always reminded of God when you go to a funeral. You’re reminded that your minutes, hours, days, months, years are counted. You suddenly feel your age. The subtle wrinkles feel not so subtle, your hair feels lighter, your steps feel heavier – you can sense the ground beneath your feet.
My dearest friend had lost his father to Cancer; the imminent angel of death who claims so many lives and tear apart so many families.
I had none of them. You know, and of course you know, there’s no elegant, no graceful end to our existence. Life is crude. As crude as the coarse surface of this train station.
As I got out it seemed like the perfect metaphor – trains heading back and forth. Families, loners, weirdos, men, women all in their separate compartment – some silent, some chattering – but with a series of stops, and out they go. You won’t see them again…
With great effort I reached the burial site. The wind got a hold of my hat. My suit kept getting wrinkled – I’d feel so guilty for caring about my appearance.
When you see your close friend in grief, there’s very little to say. Men don’t commonly share emotions and when they do, it shows that they carry very little experience with it compared to women.
I saw the grief in his eyes and every fibre in my being wanted to hold him. Hold him and, in a childish delusion, force the grief away. It’s not that easy. It will never be easy.
In the restrained composition that funerals are made of we have our place. So I’m left with the condolences, and the supportive pat on the shoulder. It tears you up. You know your friend is fighting a war and you want to be there next to him.
The wind was kind to us. Our tears felt cooler on our chin and the wind would gracefully tilt the leaves of the flowers
back and forth,
back and forth,
back and forth.
By some strange power of hypnosis I would dream myself away into the trees surrounding the site. The dirt beneath my shoes turned into soil beneath my feet. Grief is a terrible and, at the same time, beautiful thing. It reminds you that you are not separate from this world of worlds – you’re part of it: in so many ways, you can’t possibly comprehend.
A man who rejects the notion that there’s anything greater than him is by all measures foolish. Rituals glue mankind together – not the grim ones – but the ones that make it easier to say goodbye, the ones that lend an heir of divinity to the words “I do”, and even those that make you comfortable confessing that you’ve lost your direction and you need some guidance.
Because we all lose guidance at some point. And we all need to grieve sometimes. And to grieve alone is like painting your soul black. Paint it white.