I had a conversation with a friend last night that has left me raw and haunted this morning. We were talking about the death of loved ones, of course. Having never lost someone close, he was looking at it from a perfectly rational perspective: one has a shared story with someone, then that person is gone and, as the survivor, you alone carry on that story in your memory.
It’s not that simple though, is it? I’ve heard it said, “I lost a piece of myself when _______ died”. I was thinking about that sentiment last night. Have I lost a piece of myself? No, I’m still here, spiritually wounded and emotionally bruised and feeling a little hollow, but here.
The Buddhists speak about non-duality: there’s no “self”, there’s no “other”, only a single universe, or the “Is”…or whatever one wants to call it. I’ve always had difficulty with this concept, but it almost makes sense here. No, I didn’t lose my “self”, but lost two loved ones, my “others”. Even more importantly, I have lost a tertiary existence as well, the connection between us – the “Is”.
That connection is torn apart when a loved one dies and, we can try to be as rational as we like, but it still hurts and we grieve – yet we keep on going.
But, then again, the Buddhists teach non-attachement as well…
I know………..the thinking on non attachment and non duality and mind blowing grief is a circle of infinity….
I’ve been thinking about Buddhism a lot lately as well. I’ve decided that, while Buddhist philosophies may be accurate and rational in many ways, as an artist it’s not within me – in fact it’s self-defeating – to abandon my attachments….
I wish you the best as you work your way through your grief. I have yet to fully experience such pain, though I imagine I will before long. It’s something most of us will inevitably face in our lifetimes.
I don’t think people lose a piece of themselves when someone dies: shared memories just intensify, become more precious, and live on until it’s someone else’s turn.