The Luminescence of Retrospection…

It is Saturday, March 30, 2013. My husband has been dead for three years, three months, ten days, fourteen hours, and fifty-two minutes. I wish this were the part where I write about how I moved on and found happiness, but that is not the case. Instead, this is the part where I once again lament my loss. I grieve my loss every single day; however, this is one of those days where the emptiness screams more loudly than usual. The silence threatens to eradicate my existence.

I am watching Forrest Gump for the fortieth time. This movie makes me even more melancholy than usual. My husband did not care for this show. In retrospect, he watched it intently the first time we watched it together. I think when I watched it for the tenth time, he lost interest and began to resent the show. I really do not know what it is about Forrest Gump and Lieutenant Dan that move me, but I think it is the idea of examining the highlights of one’s life so keenly, while some of the most outstanding songs in our history play on. Just about every incident brings tears to my eyes, regardless of how often I watch it.

People say that we should not dwell on the past, but just move toward the future. I have never fully understood or agreed with that statement in its entirety. I believe that we should continue to move forward, but I also think that it is only through intent observation and willingness to learn from our mistakes that we can move forward. We must learn from our mistakes, yet we risk continuing the same irrational and ignorant behavior.

The character of Forrest Gump makes me think about all the stupid things in our history from which we failed to learn. For instance, it was not that long ago when citizens were teaching fellow Americans to turn their backs on young soldiers returning from Vietnam, as though our government did nothing wrong. Absurdity. Young men gave their limbs, souls, and sometimes, their lives, believing they were defending a country they loved. To say their welcome home was less than amicable is a gross understatement.  

It was around the same time in history that we, as a nation, were justifying a biblical misconception that white people are somehow superior to other races. Careful, ignorance is capable of breeding stupidity. Have we really learned from our mistakes? Because the current biblical misconception is that homosexuals are somehow inferior to heterosexuals. Not too many years ago, rock and roll music was responsible for our spiritual demise. I shudder to think at what may be labeled the next culprit.

Perhaps it is time we examined our nation’s past more thoroughly. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, that is precisely what I am doing. I am remembering the laughter that my husband and I shared. I am remembering the tears we shared. I am remembering 20 years’ worth of irreplaceable moments that we spent together. I am remembering how it felt to be loved and adored, while music plays in the background. I can see my past, even with mistakes I made, and learn from it. So, what have I learned? I learned that love is the most beautiful emotion of which human beings are capable. I learned that grief is one of the most powerful emotions of which every living being is capable, and that it is different for everyone. Examining our nation’s past-I learned that hate is the ugliest emotion of which human beings are capable. I learned that prejudice leads to hate, and that it comes in many different forms. I learned that fear feeds hate. I can only hope that a thousand years from now, someone examines our behavior and learns from it. We are all living, breathing creatures and deserve equality, and love. Our differences are many, and those differences are what we should embrace. In the end, it matters not what color we are, or what our sexual preference is, what matters is what is in our hearts. So, examine your heart and let the luminescence of retrospection remove the fear. The light is how we move forward.

©2013 Relinda R.

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16 thoughts on “The Luminescence of Retrospection…

  1. You wrote, “For some the pain never lessens or ceases.” That is a belief (not a fact), which you envision for your future. At this very moment you are in terrible pain and I am so sorry. But for everyone the future in unknown. I maintain hope that you might let go of that belief, because it actually adds to your misery. I am always thinking of you Relinda.

    • Hi, Judy. I appreciate you thinking of me. I tend to view my statement as fact. It is indisputable that for some, the pain never lessens or ceases. As far as my own perceptions of what the future holds, I am realistic. Although I could sit around and tell myself that things will get better, that does not seem rational to me. Instead, I focus on the things I must do and as I often say, “I do what I gotta’ do.” There is one way to ensure that my future is bright and that is if my Doyle returned to me. That is irrational. I watched him die. I know he is gone. I also know that I will see him again, but not during this life. If I tell myself I will find happiness again (in this life) it would only stand to reason that he is returning. Doing so would transport me to some fantasy world in which I cannot live. I must be realistic. Thank you for your concern, Judy. I know that you mean well, but sometimes wounds do not heal.

  2. You will not forget the grief, it will always be a part of you. It is what makes us who we are. Not just the grief but all emotions are a part of the physical presence. Keep it up, the writing is wonderful.

  3. Beautiful writing, Relinda. Moving forward is never about letting go of memories. I see it as letting go of pain. You are pummeled by grief and flat on the ground. Grief is all about love. You love your husband and the empiness is far too much to bear – I cannot imagine it. It is of little consolation to imagine that one day you will experience your exquisite memories without feeling the pain. I look forward to when that day happens for you. And it will happen.

    • Thanks, Judy. Too often, people forget that they should examine their past and learn from it (and the memories are a source of comfort, although some are painful). It will happen when I see him again. My life is a lonely life.

      • Alone and lonely are different. He has never left you. That is why the memories are so precious. I do believe you will see him again. You are alone, but I hope you loneliness will diminish. When you are ready, you will choose to fill the empty spaces. Stay open to that possibility. Grieving is hard, hard work. It feels endless and hopeless; I remember it well from experience. I buried my son and didn’t have a very good marriage. I never had someone who loved me the way Doyle love you. I am just thankful not to be in agonizing pain from grief anymore. Hang in there, Relinda. Even though you believe things will never change, I see you looking back some day remembering my words.

        • I appreciate your optimism, but when I lost my Doyle, I lost myself. Sometimes, loneliness is all there really is. Sometimes, we just wait for the game to be over. I am glad that you have found some peace and in so doing, have found some healing. I still hope that you find the type of love that Doyle and I shared.

          • And I still hope that you’ll discover “the game to be over” before your own death. That might just happen for you, too. You lost a piece of your soul when Doyle died. It won’t regenerate and no one sees it. You’re bleeding from it daily. I am counting the days for your bleeding to stop – I am certain it will, even though you are not. Scars are scars, but they don’t bleed anymore or throb. You’ll carry the memory of pain instead of the raw wound. That is what I am hoping for you.

  4. Dwell on the past it is all we have that is carved in stone. If only we could remember the past better. the nest time we walked by a troubled someone we could remember the time someone gave us a helping hand. We would turn around and hold out a hand to that someone even if we did not know them or their anxiety.

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