On Tragedy and Appreciation

We will all experience tragedy. Every one of us will lose someone or some thing we love. The only people to escape this pain are the ones who leave us early, leaving us to experience the pain of not just loss, but the loss of someone who has gone too soon.

Having lost several friends and family at an early age experience tells me that we cannot lessen the pain. Whether one knows death is coming or whether sudden tragedy has struck, like a knife in the dark, the pain will always visit us. But when tragedy strikes suddenly one finds oneself an adult who has missed so much. One looks back at all the opportunities missed that now seem so clear and so obvious. These moments where one appreciates everything they have, and can see everything they have failed to appreciate in the past, seem to only be caused by tragedy. They come about during the worst of times, when a family member is terminally ill or when one’s own life is threatened. Now one sees what it is like to truly and deeply appreciate, and it hurts to see all that one has missed, and will continue to miss.
Yet despite the clarity one may get from tragedy there will always be regrets and pieces of oneself stolen that will always remain lost.

This appreciation is what makes us tell our family that we love them, not just as a formality when leaving for work in the morning, but in a way that we really mean it and in a way that the person hearing it really feels it. This appreciation that comes during tragedy, or the remembering of it, shows us what really matters, so violently and quickly, and like a lightning bolt to the chest all of a sudden one is hunched over, missing a part of themselves and wondering why? Why have I waited until now to see how lucky I am? Why now do I see the richness of life? And why couldn’t I have noticed this sooner, when it really mattered?

And after experiencing all this, time and time again, one finds oneself frustrated with the people they love, having forgotten what really matters and becomes frustrated with oneself. How can one, after experiencing all this, continue to fail to see the point?

 

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