Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008...

Today, I find myself at the end of 2008. As I look back at what I have been through for the past year, the emotions that come with the memories are as fresh and raw as they first occurred. Although I've been told that as I journey through this life, as I reach the end of it, I should be like a swimmer that had just swam through an ocean. As I come out of the water, at most, my body should only be wet by the briny water. But I shouldn't be trying to carry the whole ocean with me. Life is like the ocean. You go through it. Some swim through life, others crawl, walk, fly or run. However the mode of travel, no matter how beautiful some sceneries may be, its not humanly possible to collect and amass the wonders and woes that you've encountered.

As I write this entry, my mind tells me to be optimistic and hopeful that the best is yet to come in the future. But somehow, my heart is weeping and my eyes are wet, as salty as the ocean waters I had just dog-paddled through this year. Will I ever stop hurting over the lost of you, Mad? Will I ever learn to heal and be whole again? Will I ever be the same again? I know this is not how you would wish me to live my life. I'd like to consider myself as logical and practical. I may be somewhat an idealist but I have gone through enough to know that in order for me to learn through this life, I need to remain realistic as well. To some, being realistic means being pessimistic. But for me, being realistic means looking at the reality of life and dealing with it.

As a counselor that professes the benefits of Reality Therapy and Choice Theory, I am well aware of the unhappiness experienced by people whose basic needs for survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun are not met. In my Quality World, Mad is my soul brother who will always be there for me with his unconditional love and sincere friendship. But in reality, he's gone. I know that in order for me to move on with my life, I need to let go of my ideal; that Mad is gone and will never come back. He's gone to a place beyond my reach.

I find certain aspects of myself pretty puzzling. Just as I thought I was already okay, laughing and enjoying life as it amuses me with funny quirks and turns, suddenly a tidal wave comes crashing over me and I find myself swept ashore on the sands of depression, all spent and barely alive. I can't go on like this. I feel like a walking time-bomb, not knowing when I'm gonna have the next melt-down.

One thing I know for sure is that your heart can only feel what it does. You can change your mind and behavior. But you can never tell your heart to feel anything it doesn't. And you cannot tell your heart to not feel what it does. It will keep on feeling what it does until it's done.

As the new year opens it's door for me, I shall continue to make my journey one step at a time. Life is life. But I am me. I know what I am today. I'll just have to wait and see who I become tomorrow.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - Henry David Thoreau.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't Forget to Talk...

Over the last few weeks, I have busy trying to locate some respondents for my qualitative research. I needed to interview at least 6 respondents. They would have to be female above the age of 60 years old, widowed or divorced but have remained single by choice. This task was harder than I thought it would be.

Among the respondents I had the honor and the pleasure of interviewing, the last one stuck in my head for many many days and now has turned out to be my muse for this blog entry. She is about 62 years old and has been widowed for 20 years. She told me how her late mother use to keep reminding her to keep talking to her husband. My respondent went on to elaborate in great detail what her mother had meant by saying, "Jangan lupa bercakap..." or "Don't forget to talk.."

As I sat next to my husband in the car ride back home after the interview, I discussed what was said by my respondent during the interview, especially about the "Don't forget to talk" bit. My respondent felt the absence of her husband whenever she had something she wanted to share with him, even after he has passed a few months already (this is during the time when only 2 months had passed since his demise.)

I realize how important talking to each other has been for my relationship with my husband. This is also true with regards to my relationships with my two teenage daughters. I believe that when one of us is gone, the ones left behind would really miss all the talks we've had with each other and the laughter that entails.

With the advent of technology that's initially meant to improve communication methods, we would think that we would find improvement also in the quality of our communication. But can we sincerely regard sending text messages and chats on messengers as true communication when there's no eye contact and seeing facial expressions? Won't we be prone to miscommunications when we misconstrue a chat message because it lacked the human touch and gestures?

I would be lying if I were to say that my husband and I talk ALL the time. We do talk to each other a lot, discussing current issues, common interests etc. But when we're both orally tired, we do have that comforting silence between us that exudes the feeling of understanding and acceptance. A sense of belonging that needs no announcements or forced talking. Our availability to ourselves and each other radiates through the air surrounding us like the fragrant aroma of comforting coffee. We are home with each other. Whenever we are apart, we are in each others' minds and hearts. Its one of those given things.

Having said that, I still believe that talking is healthy. My profession as a counseling psychologist as proven multiple times over of how important it is to talk. Keeping things bottled up inside and yet feeling depressed when others misunderstand or don't understand us is our own undoing.

Talk. Keep on talking. Don't forget to talk. Talk while you can. Say what's on your mind. Speak of feelings felt in your heart. Love is not for keeps. Love is for giving. Love is forgiving. Its the same thing... different; but the same.

18 years have passed by and we are still talking, Yang. Go on... Keep talking, my love. I'm listening...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Along the Way...

Its almost the end of the year and I'm already all spent. 2008 began with me losing Mad, my soul brother. As much as I have tried to get over his passing, grieving is not something I can just shrug off and leave on the floor and kick under my bed. I plodded through the months half alive, trying not to think or feel. Just functioning and working on my career and Masters study.

Eidil Fitri came and went without much happy memory. Dad was hospitalized and we had no real reason to celebrate. Eidil Adha had just passed recently and another disaster had struck me. My laptop's hard drive died on me. I lost almost all my data, except for my Masters assignments folder. And then it hit me like a bulldozer. In life, along the journey, we lose things. Some things can be retrieved. But there are some losses that we may never see again. Suddenly, I am mourning the loss of Mad again. Funny how losing my data from my hard drive connects to Mad's death. I can never see him again. I can never see him again.

You'd think that a woman who is about to hit 44 in age would have the emotional maturity to accept the given facts of life. But this isn't about understanding the way life works or accepting the laws of nature. Neither is this about others. Its about ME!

Given all the things that had happened to me this year, I think I've earned the right to grieve and mourn. My emotional and psychological fatigue is justifiable. I can be strong when I have the resources to be so. But at this moment, I'm all spent. I'm all spent. I have nothing more to give. And I can't take it anymore. I'm done. For now.