Scars and stories

Dearest,

I’ve always wanted to start a letter like this, just to know how it feels writing like Virginia Woolf. I don’t know if you would have appreciated it if I addressed you in this way, but I will never know. Can you believe It’s been 20 years today since you left us? It doesn’t feel that long because grief has a way of making time stand still. It also feels absurd that I’m sitting here writing you a letter you will not receive but I’m writing it anyway, for myself and for my children. I know that part of my healing depends on writing and I’ve been intentionally avoiding it for the longest time because it’s difficult to write about pain when you still feel like you’re at the bottom of the ocean and you’re still learning how to swim because you don’t want to drown and die.

You left this terrible place called earth today, in 1998. I’m 27 now, I was 7 when you died and you were 23. I’m writing this letter because I want to tell you that I’m better now. I used to feel bad for feeling okay because it’s like cheating on grief, now I know there’s no manual to this thing called life.

Dealing with your death has been an appalling experience and I’m happy that I’m writing this short letter without breaking down. This doesn’t mean that I’ve healed, losing you is not something I can heal from and perhaps I’m also not interested in getting healed. I don’t think anyone prepares you for losing a mother, I know I wasn’t. There’s a song called Sadness is a Blessing by Lykke Li, obviously you don’t know it and I don’t know what kind of music you would be listening to right now. Probably Shwi nomtekhala, okay jokes aside.

Sadness is a blessing means that I’d rather feel sad than numb when I think about you, I don’t mind the sadness because I know that feeling is way better than not feeling anything at all. If that feeling is sadness, then I also welcome it. I’m not even sure why I’m writing this letter, I’m saying a lot but I’m also not saying anything. I’m bad with words and I know this is ironic for someone who’s an avid reader but life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

Anyway, I miss you more and more everyday and it’s with a smile this time. I was looking at myself in the mirror the other day and it scared me a little because all i could see was your beautiful face. The older i grow, the more I look like you. Not to say you had masculine features, but just remove my goatee and you will see what I’m talking about.

I’m sorry that I took forever to honour your memory and to also accept that you are gone and you’ve been gone forever. I didn’t want to believe it because my reality would look unpleasant. I don’t know where you are right now but I know you’re proud of me. Your mother also misses you deeply, I always feel the heaviness of her grief and sorrow when I talk about you with her. It breaks my heart, she loves you, I also love you. Everyone loved you, now I’m about to cry even though I promised not to. I’m going to end it here for now, I will write to you again very soon and I won’t address you as dearest anymore. Shall we try first name address? Talk soon.

With love,

Your only son.

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