Thursday, 21 February 2008

Realising you feel

I just had a memory/thought about one of the strangest things i ever experienced-- loss of someone you have no logical reason to be connected to or really to care about. Very wierd- maybe writing will help me figure this out.

Ok so lots of people in my family i.e. relatives and stuff, have died. You're just going through life, you come home from school, and Dad says- Matt, we just heard, Nanny died. Or Grandpa, or whoever. You know what i mean. And maybe i'm alone in this, but my initial reaction is not to shout or scream or cry- in fact i almost never cry. I take the news with a sort of detachement. even when i know the person really well, and love them more than the whole world. The fact that all of my family lives 3000 miles away might have something to do with that. But i'm not sure if i would react any differently if the person lived 10 miles away rather than three thousand. My mute reaction of detached incomprehension is as far as my response goes.
Then a few months later, our family goes back to the states to visit, and i absent-mindedly say- "o yeah dad i meant to ask, when are we going to visit Nann............" and burst into heart wrenching sobs when the loss actually becomes real to me.
It really takes a long time for me to grasp that loss- and that might be me alone, or maybe others feel that way too. Who knows?

But the only time i can remember grasping, understanding, really feeling a loss INSTANTLY was this past summer. And the wierdest thing is, i really had no reason to feel that loss. I was working at a friend's farm in a warehouse, painting the inside of an office; i could see outside through a huge big window, and everything was ok. My boss's dog, Baxter was sitting happily outside as far as anyone knew. A beautiful chocolate labrador puppy, only like a year old.
All of a sudden this huge tractor thing comes around the corner and either hit Baxter or just ran over his leg, or something. Baxter starts howling, jumping around and just looking frantic- i, not having seen him get hit, thought he was playing, but then he collapsed on the ground. I realised something was wrong, ran down the stairs to the door just as he was lying there on the concrete. And then his eyes glazed over and he was gone.
My boss put him in her car and rushed off to the vet, but he was dead long before she got there.

And so there's me. Standing in a half painted office with cream colour paint all over my hands, and tears literally pouring down my face. Wondering how i'm supposed to wipe my eyes cus i'll get paint in them. And feeling this enormous sense of loss, which had no right to be there. I didn't know this dog from any other walking in the street. It's a dog not a human. It's not my dog. Why am i so ridiculously torn up by this?
But i guess it comes down to a life- it was there one second, and snatched away in the next instant-- whether that puppy belonged to me or not, i still felt that loss. Illogical as it is, whatever anyone says, i think i felt that more intensly and certainly more instantly than any other loss i have experienced. Maybe i'm just screwed up. But i think that trying to get rid of that or forget that emotion or try to excuse it would be wrong. So i'll give it up to God. As soon as i work up the courage. But i think that could take me a while.

2 comments:

Susie said...

I've lost three out of four of my grandparents, and I'm yet to cry about a single one. Of course I loved them and it's sad, and yet, I've never actually felt that much of a loss. Like yours, they lived a long way away (so manchester isn't quite the states, but it's far enough) and I rarely saw them, and I think so far I've justified my lack of reaction to their deaths with that. I've been close to crying at most of their funerals, but mainly because I've seen family members crying, and I tend to feel fairly uncomfortable in that kind of atmosphere.
I don't know, initially, I thought I was a bit screwed up for not being more upset about it, but then I realised that forcing myself to be upset just because i felt I 'ought to' would be equally as screwed up.

However, I reckon I'd react to you in a similar way if an animal died suddenly. I mean, I've had pets die, and I've become pretty hardened to that, but I think a sudden loss like that of that lab would probably get to me quite a bit.

Basically, that was a very long and dull comment just to say, snap.

Love you matt,
see you soon
xxx

Ami. said...

I remember you being upset at that. You text me to ask me why God let bad stuff happen. Bless you.

I guess everyone grieves loss differently. Maybe one of the reasons you were not so upset is because you knew where they would be going, and it is a place you ultimately look forward to going to.

I'm rambling.
I'll shut up now.

But don't worry Matt, the world is still turning. ;)

Love and blessings.
xxx