Silent echoes from the past
THIS is my second writing here at the Community Media. First one I wrote roughly about year and a half ago. Since that writing almost everything has changed in my life, and not necessarily better, though some things might have. Things that changed are actually losses. Losses of close people; 2 for death, and some others simply just quit and disappeared. Although I’ve always loved solitude, -especially if I may choose so; situation where you just suddenly find yourself alone, isn’t that nice. And, when people just choose to walk out of your life after you’ve quite recently lost a good friend as well as one parent you had been taking care of about 20 years… I’d say that kinda messes your mind up.
On the other hand, one thing that really feels great is that the years I had to look after my mother totally alone are finally past and gone. Naturally there’s been emotion of guilt often around as well. Accusing inner whispers that keep on repeating “you didn’t do that well with her… you lost your temper way more often than you could actually serve her.”
But, once again; on the other hand, I hadn’t had any kind of vacation off her last 10 years, but the recent 5 were the ones that really consumed both the mental and physical durability out of me, because during these last years I had to remain alert 24/7 and 365 … each year.
When I started at the Digipaja (from now on D-P) it was January 2020, right after the New Year. I couldn’t really expect anything, as I simply hadn’t any experience of this type of services. This brought me some 6 daily hours in four days a week, when I could be off-service from health caring my mom. But on the other hand once again; it also increased the pressures , as I still had to take care of everything from shopping, banking, meal preparing and serving, cleaning, dish washing, doing laundry… list seem endless.
D-P granted me one amazing friend. I’ll call him here Big-J as he had really big heart. First few days we just evaluated each other, but once that was done, our friendship got closer each day. We shared many common interests as well as partly-similar history and experiences. Of course, this corona-crap disturbed everything, and sent the entire D-P population back to their home caves in mid-March to wait… no-one knew what at the time. Following 2,5 months the world seemingly tried to get ‘what the hell’s going on’? But by June 6, D-P was granted permission to launch hybrid mode, and I could become present. I hadn’t been allowed to participate the remote D-P by the city’s employment officials, so for me that early June last year was one fine day. And so seemed to think Big-J, as his car turned into parking lot at almost the same time I fell out from the public transportation…
I don’t usually celebrate Midsummer (nor Christmas, New Year, Bunny-Easter or May Day), but when Big-J suggested that I’d be welcome to his place and there would only be his wife around; we could have some wine, few beers and he’d prepare full meal to highlight the night… so I accepted his invitation. Big-J was a cook by profession, and the meal was delicious and the night was absolutely excellent. We talked almost about everything and at some point when his wife had retired, we had some rum shots in brief silence and then both wondered “it’s kinda weird… feel like I’ve known you for decades..”
Later, during the summer, our friendship deepened, though we both had our own things and we didn’t meet that often but called every now and then to say “halloe; and how might you be doin’..” Summer went on and switched into early fall. September 16-17 Big-J had his turn on boat watch, and I accepted to accompany him and help to check that the boats are tied properly to the quay as there was supposed to be some sort of fall-storm landing during the night.
By the appointed day, we went to the dock quite early, about 3pm, with our grocery bags, and as we begun to unload our stuff from the car Big-J kinda sneered “Hah, two guys go an overnight watch and need four full bags of food..” Yeap, that was double funny as it turned out that both had independently brought almost identical groceries. As the night fell, so did rain, and after checking the dock we mostly sat inside the hut and stared the security screens… ate and discussed everything from our experiences, to women, to God and meaning of life down here. And as the night went on, our conversation got deeper and deeper.
As we stepped out one point to smoke cigarettes, big-J suddenly grabbed my arm, and said very seriously, his eyes locked into mine: “David.. I don’t want to die..” I didn’t know what to say. I can still see him before my eyes saying that. And I still don’t quite get it how come I hadn’t anything to say in response. Anyway, soon he switched to tell jokes and we left that serious moment behind for some time. But, while we got back inside, he got serious again, asking “David, do you believe in God? I mean do you really believe that God exists?” I can’t recall exact words I used on my reply, but I said something close to “Yeah, I do believe that God does exist, it’s the people, institutions, religious systems and power-structures I have problems with. Not with God.” My reply seemed to please Big-J, as he seemingly relaxed and started to tell quite deep stuff about his life.
Now, I have to tell this point that Big-J wasn’t a bit religious, so his interest over the issue laid somewhere else. He was really easy to talk to, and so I as well revealed much about my own life for him that I hadn’t been revealing to anyone before, nor since. But, suddenly it was morning, and around 6am we packed our stuff and left the dock behind.
While we got closer to where I lived, he asked me could I go and get him a bottle of vodka, and as I agreed he stuffed some notes and coins to my hand and I went to get him that bottle. But instead of the cheapest brand he requested, I bought him high quality spirit which I decided to pay mostly. He was surprised and pleased. Anyway, the reason I brought this up, is that his wife later told me how big impact it had made to Big-J, and that he didn’t drank it right away but kept it in his bar shelf and poured from it only small amounts to glass.
Later on that Thursday, september 17, he called me and suggested if I’d come his place for weekend as his wife was about to go to cruise. Eventually that cruise was canceled due to high seas, but we spent hours in phone talking ever deepening stuff. Last words I heard from him were said in quiet tone; “well, have a nice weekend, and let’s call… someday… perhaps.” Came next Monday, and I went to D-P, Big-J had ended there couple weeks earlier, so I didn’t expect him there. Day was probably very average, because I have no recollections of it, but around the midnight, I got the news from Big-J’s wife “…he died this morning at home…” First I didn’t quite got it. As I’d put my phone aside I just stood there without understanding anything about what I’ve just learned… Then, all of a sudden it struck like a bolt of lightning… and first time in years I felt how big burning tears begun to run down my cheeks… and then after that I can’t recall much, except that I wondered around in the ap’t and smoked cigarettes in chain.
I remember that in the morning I sent mail to D-P and told the news and let them know that I’ll be staying remote for some time. Following month went as it went and the funeral service took place roughly a month after Big-J‘s passing. Three days after that my mother died into a taxi and thats was it! O.K. Now I had to begun to deal with everything, including issues that I haven’t ever learnt to handle.. this is just great! However, when someone aged 88 eventually dies, it’s not that much big surprise. When person under 50 or even 60 does, it isn’t either unheard of, but it could be seen as too early. I got more shocked about my friend’s passing than my mother’s, but as they happened so close in line I haven’t tried to divide them as separate cases. Now, over a year later, I haven’t been able to sell my mother’s apartment due to unbelievable official obstacles on the way. But, eventually the officials withdrew the legal court case and flashed the green light for selling.
I spent last 23 months within the D-P and yesterday was my last day there. Once again I’m standing in front of completely unknown and uncertain future. As I now recall that journey, all kinds of thoughts pop up. One thing I’ve been focusing onrecently more than others. That is; ”how easy it would be turn into bitterness”. But at the same time I realize that the bitterness is an devouring beast; Predator after each of us if we give him a chance.
I must confess that there has been times in my life when I really had to struggle to get free from that beast. Problem is often unclear because this beast of bitterness is a master of camouflage and you can’t always recognize it. Nobody really dreams that ”Hey, when I grow up I’ll become bitter and vengeful…”. So it took some time to recognize what was inside of me. Sure, We all have been mistreated during our journeys, and I’m afraid that I’ve done my share in dealing hurting words, and ignoring someone else’s pain when I should’ve shut up; listen and encourage without flood of theoretical advice.
None of us really know about the future and what might be waiting behind the next corner. Bitterness whispers: ”there never have been good changes, all the future has to offer is ever increasing misfortune, worsening situations, more loss, more pain..”. But it is lying: unknown is unknown because we simply don’t know what it might bring with it. Our attitude plays the key role. We can choose to train our thoughts to take a new path: ”Today I’ll ask help for things I can’t handle alone..” or ”Hey, it might be ugly cold day outdoors, but there’s warm and cozy indoors. I still have home.”
Cliches, I know, but they have worked for me. Slowly I have learnt to listen … Not just the others but myself as well. I could continue endlessly, but I’ve already delayed this little piece of thought flow from being delivered ahead, so I am Wishing from the bottom of my heart: DON’T GIVE UP ! Things shall get brighter eventually, darkness never lasts forever. There are lots of unfinished business within my own life; They’ll be finished after I’ll take my own steps ahead instead of staying paralyzed in my own little circle.
P.S. We can only receive new experiences, once we let our past be buried. Let’s not grant mistakes of the past dictate the future!
Kirjoittaja ja kuvitus