As we all acknowledged this week, the second decade has passed since the 9/11 tragedies took place. Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven people’s lives ended that day, and probably ten times that people’s lives are forever changed. In reflecting on the day and how many things have changed indefinitely since then, I realized that unrelated to 9/11, our lives change indefinitely all the time. We all are in mourning of one event or another. I mourn my life before the pandemic. I mourn the naivety I had years ago, the very same naivety I cursed at the time. I mourn my grandmother and my close relationships with my brothers. I mourn my respect for politics. I feel like my mourning has overlapped for so long, for so many years, that life actually is just one long spell of grief. Does anyone else feel like this? Does anyone else ever wonder what life would be like with less grief and less periods of mourning?
Ever so often if I feel upset or forlorn, I sometimes like to go to a cemetery and walk around reading the headstones. I like to imagine the possible lives, acknowledge the ones who lived through the time of a war world or those who died young. The fact that each name and date was a person who mattered to someone somewhere is not lost on me. I absorb names that I like, and I admire the family names that have several stones all laid together. For a place that carries the stigma of being sorrowful, eerie or even haunted, I find unexpected comfort. Unsurprisingly, I cannot feign grief for any of the people there, no matter how realistic my imagination gets. I try to imagine as I sit a random headstone that my father is buried there. After life of hard work to provide for his family and unconditional love for his children and wife, Mister Ever lost his life unexpectedly and most tragically in a car accident. Everything he taught me and the love he gave me while he was alive is what guides me through life, and I miss him so much.
Irregardless of how my imagination wonders through the cemetery, as soon as I walk out, I am back in reality where my mourning can only be from real issues or loss, or most often for the state of the world. I couldn’t compare one grief to another really, but realizing that my mourning for a life I thought I would have seems trivial when others are losing the people that they could never imagine loving more. I can compare that in the one circumstance where I lost a loved one, I did not grieve as much as when I lost a future I always believed I would have. I have talked with close friends before about how after a depressive episode, the numbness is worse than the actual episode. One often wonders if one will ever truly feel anything again. We always do. There is always something that will come along and make our hearts hurt. So, do we just live to mourn?