I have continued to knock things off my list these past few weeks. I promised myself that a forced downtime wasn’t acceptable and I became determined to address the things that I have been meaning to get to, but haven’t.
It’s not so much a bucket list as a list of things that I honestly thought I would have done by now. And the problem with things like that is that they build up inside of you as a measure of self-failing.
And frankly, I don’t easily accept self-failing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely fail … lots of times. The number of my failures surpasses my victories and then some.
But there is a different aspect to self-failure. Self-failure is when you miss your own goals, let your own self down. No outside element; neither a demand or a consequence.
My dad taught me a long time ago that being good at anything or comfortable in a certain position, is not good enough. We should always push ourselves to be better and never rest on our laurels.
So, at the end of each year, in recent years at least, I would look at myself and see the things that I never got around to completing or didn’t do good enough at. Then I would resolve to do them in the coming year and they formed the core of my resolutions each year.
Like most of us, I too would fall into the trap of always having too much to do and then de-prioritizing things. And five or six years later, I found myself carrying the same “overdue” list from year to year.
So this coronavirus period, where we have all faced restrictions that have limited us in some way, i made the decision early on that this was my chance to tackle “the list”.
There have been a couple of little things, but it’s the big things that I take real pride in. I finally finished my coffee table book (5 years late), created a new showcase website for my non-nature stuff (1 year overdue), and now today completed my memorial for our possum family (over a year late).
The latter was a real labor of love and pulling together the images and videos rekindled so many memories that it threatened to drown me in sorrow. But it also reminded me of some wonderfully happy memories and I clinged to those as the tears began to fall.
if you are interested, the site is www.allpossumsgotoheaven.com and while I could never do these little angels full justice, I still emerged from the build with a sense of “I did my best”.
And here is the “heaven” that Morgan created for our lost ones:
Apart from the roller-coaster of emotions in working on it, I sensed it was probably good therapy for me. And I was right. It gave me a sense of closure on something that still is responsible for major scarring to my heart.
But now, instead of the scars being raw and painful, I will wear them with pride at the little lives that shared mine with me.
Most of us have lost loves along the way and while human loss can be huge and rightfully painful, losing little innocents, little loves that depended on us can be even more damaging.
I think part of the reason for this is that we have a responsibility over a little creature that we normally don’t have with another human. And there is a huge innocence in such a little creature to where we find it impossible to reconcile as anything other than a tragedy.
I think we continually try to find fairness in a world that is anything but. And so when an innocent is lost, we struggle with a counter-point that would somehow assuage the pain. There isn’t one.
That’s why losing a creature can in many ways be akin to losing a child. I don’t want to imply that there is an equal weight to the loss. but it is still a similar feeling that leaves many of the same questions unanswered.
With the possums, we went through a series of nine deaths that overwhelmed us and no matter what I could think or say, it was never going to be enough to muffle the screams from inside our souls.
So finally taking the time to create this little memorial was my way of trying to add some purpose to the times we spent together. I have attempted to voice the love that I feel for these little guys and if it translates eventually even in one person having a more caring view of possums, then I have succeeded.
The thought process that brought me to the blog this evening was really not so much about my own feeble attempts at something of significance. But rather, it was about how each of us encounters loss and grief but are left with little opportunity to vocalize it.
There must be millions of people who experience such grief but are then encouraged to bury it. Put it in a box and keep a lid on it. Here, take a pill, it will help you feel better.
Unvoiced grief will invariably lead to depression and to many that just means a stronger pill.
But grieving is good. It helps the soul to mourn a loss. Not to the point where it overcomes the sense of loss. But to the point where we give value to the importance of the loss.
It will never be enough to replace sad with happy. But that’s OK.
We are right to feel sad when we experience loss. That is what makes us human. We laugh, we cry. These emotions are there for a reason.
Tears are not just to vocalize a hurt but they are there to tell the world how important someone or something was to us. And that, in turn, reflects well on the object of our loss. The louder we cry is a statement of how wonderful we believed our lost one to be.
The weight of our loss is directly proportional to the weight of our love. So however we express it, we need to make sure that we express our loss as clearly as we express our love.
Bathing loss in tears from the heart is a balm that helps heal the soul.