Survivor’s Guilt: Why Was It Me?

Trauma can shift one’s life, sundering it apart and reshaping it in a grotesque way; it evokes the feelings of loss, bereavement, inability to feel the world around you and the deprivation of the colour and meaning of life. Loss as a word can be very subjective; it can be viewed as the absence of valuables, the demotion of status or the loss of loved ones and/or family. What if the act of losing something or someone is not the real predicament as the act of surviving the aftermath of its wake?

I actually see that loss is something that rearranges you as a puzzle that was mingled, morphing one as an image but not like before. It can be tricky and perplexing in terms of wording and description. It would be pretentious to say that it takes loss to understand how it feels like, for we live in the new age of suffering, turning into more machines than men and women with all this talk of how prompt we should be and we need to handle stress properly. You know the drill: these slogans and phrases are used by people of zero interest as they stake in your life to keep you dwelling on for one last day, one last minute and one last task till you fall apart and collapse. All of us have suffered loss and those who did not…I wish I can say that you will never do.

How can you survive the loss? How can you continue to savour life when the very source of its taste is gone? The blunt, and somehow conceited, answer is you don’t, not using normal means, thereof. You do move on, eventually; you learn to see some colours back in life and you can somehow crease a smile on your face when the sun shines. But when the night comes, solitude envelopes your soul and you drown in the schizophrenic conversations amidst your head…that’s when you know that you are not okay. That’s when you know that sometimes you wish you were the one that perished rather than all this pain bequeathed to you, a survivor’s guilt, an addiction to misery and pain.

It’s quite peculiar how one began to divine the notion of death and understand its implications and effects on our lives as we fathom its weight. Vivid is my memory, during my school years- my second elementary year to be precise when it was announced during the morning assembly that one of my friends had passed away. I recall my questions to my parents, “Will I ever see him again? Is he around? Where did he go? So he’s like…asleep? Forever?” I dread the moment I’ll have to answer these questions to my kids one day- if I ever had any, for I cannot fathom the answer myself till this moment, nor I know the proper wording that won’t render them traumatized forever. There is no right answer to such questions. Sometimes, there is no black and white or a yes and no. Death is an inevitable event an so it the pain following it. It will happen no matter what and we can’t postpone the inevitable; we are all going to die, and not in a grim sense, the notion eludes our minds as we delve into the illusion of life as death slowly claims every waking and sleeping moment of it. Usually, the shock of losing someone close can be the reality’s rude awakening smack on one’s head, maiming you with a scar that burns indiscretion.

Fate can weave a cruel plan, be it the case or just merely the natural order of things. In abstract; you can’t save everyone no matter how hard you try, regardless of your prayers and wishes upon all the stars and planets. The way of life- in the utmost and wry irony, is to usher you to the final destination, death; an earthen cradle waiting for us all.

Sometimes, life is just unfair.

The burden of those surviving the loss and the aftermath of the destruction; a pain perpetuating with them till it is conquered or they perish.

Quite depressing? I beg to differ. I believe that this fact can be very liberating when you put some thought into it; all this stress, all this agony wrought upon ourselves from things that provide an illusion of happiness as we care for the shape of it rather than it’s texture, like a balloon filled with air that explodes with the weakest puncture, the rude awakening. Pain can really teach you to understand that most tribulations are merely a machination of the mind, allowing you to start to savour the missing colours of life once more and somehow make it through the day.

We do what we can. We are only humans. We are entitled to all the emotions we feel, be them happy, rainbows and butterflies in the morning or be them raging storms of sorrow and darkness. Bereavement, a loss immeasurable, can’t be copied in the same way. This survivor’s guilt, the legacy of pain carried by our own behest is a sickness that needs to be cauterized; some soothe it and some purge it. Nevertheless, no one should bear such a burden. Find the path befitting your medicine and let it be the tool constructing your story. If you are looking for answers here, nothing can be found. And this is a question that bears no answers; you just find some clues and hints scattered in the midst of your life. You weather every day until one day…the sun shines brightly. And you can be whole again.

It had to be you, the one who survives. Here’s one answer you should begin to come to terms with.

Just remember one thing, you are not alone as you think you are or as the world sometimes makes you feel.

Here’s to you, white light.

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