Calculating Life

In the wake of my family’s loss, I’m struggling to sort through my feelings. The problems is that emotions are not easily translated into words, and there’s no one thing that can describe the overwhelming nature of this all.

I’ve never previously dealt with death or loss. It was a concept to me, something that I heard about and read about and that I could conceptualize, but by which I had never truly been touched. But with a simple phone call last night, everything changed.

I cried. But then I stopped myself, grabbed a pen and started writing lists of everything I needed to do. Writing lists felt organized and as far removed from emotion as possible. I’ve never been one to allow myself to be very emotional. I don’t know how to process things so I subconsciously numb myself. I run as hard and as fast as I physically can. I write. I make lists.

But sometimes the numbness is just as painful. When I close my eyes or think about someone so near and dear to my heart, I can’t fully process everything.

I’m consumed with anger, that someone would so selfishly take their own life. I’m sure he considered the consequences of his actions, but he made the decision anyway. Now someone has to tell his aging mother that her youngest son is gone. Now someone has to piece together the broken bits of his life. Someone has to write an obituary and decide the next steps.

I’m sad and sorry that he was in such pain. I’m filled with guilt at having forgotten to call him on his birthday. I’m so sorry for those blind sighted innocents that were forced to play a part in his death, people who will be broken for the rest of their lives and feel guilt for something that was never their fault.

In the simplest of ways, I’m also happy though. If things were truly bad enough to motivate someone to take their own life, than I’m happy that he’s no longer in pain.

And I feel an overwhelming and instinctive love that overpowers most everything. I love him, despite the pain and the sorrow and the guilt.

No matter what I feel, though, it doesn’t really matter. Someone I love is gone and I will never be able to see them again. I will never hear their distinct radio-worthy voice at the other end of the line. I will never hold their hand or laugh with them. And I will never again open their tin foil-wrapped presents. The emptiness is something indigestible and it literally gives me a stomach ache.

He is gone. And I’m still at a loss at how to calculate it.

The government puts a value of a human life between seven and 10 million. I would give ten times that to bring him back. I would walk those 600 miles. I would do anything. But saying that doesn’t mean anything because I can’t. He’s gone.

Gone… But then again, matter cannot be created out of nothing. And matter can’t just disappear, either; it’s turned into energy of some sort, recycled and processed back into the universe. So from a religious or scientific perspective—either way, there is an energy in the universe that is my uncle.

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Hi, I'm Marian.
By day, I'm a PR maven with a nerdy affinity for research and branding. By night, I'm an explorer; I delve into books, food, design, and the murky waters of my own psyche, then share my musings here.





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