What Remains

December 31, 2016

 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2016

Recently my parents decided that their (old) dog needed to learn some new tricks. Little did he know that he was one more early morning wake up to getting set on the steps with his suitcase. The older he has gotten, the more attached he has become to sleeping in my parent's bedroom. Sleeping in their room had never been an issue until he decided he wanted to wake up and then wake them up. Many months of interrupted rest had passed and it is now affecting their quality of sleep. They enlisted the help of a trainer to give some assistance on how to make some behavioral changes. For the first few nights, he had to adjust to his new normal. I have been on the early morning wake ups with him as his dog sitter. It is a difficult way to wake up and try to function the rest of the day while he has nothing else but to regroup and nap afterwards, all day. He is somewhere curled up in a peaceful slumber and you need toothpicks to keep your eyes opened. I understood my parent’s reasoning.

 

It was to be expected that he was not going to be happy with this new plan of action and adjusting would take some time. The first night he was on his own, I felt sorry for him because I could relate. All of a sudden, what he had been used to for a long time had now been taken away from him, with little to no forewarning. The range of emotion was understandable. If I could vocalize like a dog, I would have sounded like him, crying out, confused, sad, whimpering, upset, forlorn, wanting to be heard or given answers. Instead, he had to accept things as they were now. Eventually he settled down and gave up. I understood why they needed to do this, but as odd as it sounds, I sympathized completely with every noise he made.

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2016 

Lines are blurred when mourning a loss. Whether it's a death or a breakup. You remember the moments you shared and are saddened by the ones you will no longer have. You can be haunted by these thoughts, places you have visited, songs, random things that happen that would only make sense to you (and them). As I am writing this, I have since communicated on the phone and in person with my ex-boyfriend and I still couldn’t say that I truly understand the whys and how’s of what happened. Nevertheless, in the end, none of that matters. The facts are the facts. I have to know what I have the power to change and what I don’t. I can’t bring my grandmother back and I can’t make someone want to be in a relationship with me. Love is a powerful thing but these two acts, it can’t surmount. It isn’t enough. Both my grandmother and ex-boyfriend will forever remain very special and dear to me, beyond the depth of any words that I can put on this page. In their own ways, they have taught me the most about love and passion and living a purposeful life.

 

This grief has been heavy on my spirit and I no longer have the will to carry its burden. In the ruins of my grief, I must now prepare to be as strong as possible for my friend while she enters her own season of grief. The unfortunate nuance of our friendship and the thing that holds our bond tighter, is that at times, when one experiences something, the other will too. Unfortunately, in this is instance, within close windows of time. I told her that of all the shared experiences, this is one that I wish I we didn’t have. In this last week, her father is transitioning from this earthly place, in a way that is too much and too soon of a reminder of my grandmother. I am only on the verge of healing and mending from my loss, but I have to be there for her. These last few days I have felt selfish for weeping and do my best to refrain from doing it in the hospital room. Not only is it a loss for me, because I will miss him; or because he has been a part of the many great times that we have all shared together; or because he has wonderfully raised the person who has become my “soul mate,” but watching this experience as an outsider, is making me relive my grandmother’s death all over again.

 

2016 has been a year uncharacteristically marred in loss. Besides my personal loss, a lot of people that defined my childhood and life have died in staggering numbers, musicians, athletes and literary geniuses. What they had all given us will live forever. Life is so crazy and marvelous and short and unpredictable. In these last hours approaching the New Year, it is with this notion of what is left behind, that I have decided that I shall no longer squander time thinking of my experiences as loss, but instead, think of the beauty in what I had. The only genuine purpose that this love can serve now is as a lesson, a legacy, something that is left to take with me in my heart as I continue to navigate whatever comes next. 

 

Perhaps one of the biggest celebrity losses this year was Prince. In his tragic death, his music remains and it can never be taken away. Saturday Night Live had a musical tribute to Prince by D’Angelo backed by Princess (Maya Rudolf and Gretchen Lieberum). The stage was solemn and sparse with only a piano and two microphones. They performed a song by Prince that I had never heard, which I wasn’t expecting. Barely able to hold back their own tears, they sang with this vulnerability and sorrow that moved me. In the song, Prince talks about a loss. It is with this final chorus of his song that I leave you and my burden of grief on this last day of this unforgiving year.

 

“Sometimes it Snows in April” by Prince

 

Sometimes it snows in April

Sometimes I feel so bad

Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending

And all good things, they say, never last

 

All good things they say, never last

And love, it isn't love until it's past

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2014 Carla Joelle Brown All Rights Reserved.

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The Rubys Artist Project Grants were conceived and initiated with start-up funding from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and are a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance.

 

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