The hardest truth I’ve learned in the past two months is this: life goes on. I never understood the brutality of that statement until I lost my very best friend, my father, to cancer. Sure, I’ve heard “life goes on” uttered at least a million times throughout my life. Someone I know lost a job? ”Life goes on.” A relationship ended? ”Life goes on.” Your car broke down and you don’t have the money to repair it? ”Life goes on.” Life does, in fact, “go on.” During happy times, sad times, all emotions in between times: Life goes on.
After losing my dad I wanted life to stop, if even for a minute. I wanted to find the pause button and just take a second but that isn’t how life works. Minutes keep ticking by whether you’re ready or not. The world remains unaffected by whatever personal crisis we find ourselves in.
You know the feeling of having the wind knocked out of you? You can’t breathe for seconds but it feels like hours. You panic and your chest starts to hurt. That’s what “life goes on” feels like for me now. I am completely aware that life has to go on. I still have to wake up every morning, drag myself out of bed, take care of the dogs, go to work, function throughout the day, contribute to maintaining the household, eat, sleep, and drink. I get it but that doesn’t mean I like it. What I like even less is when people remind me that life goes on. I know, they think they’re being supportive and encouraging by reminding me I can’t dig an underground bunker and live in there by myself. They think the three magic words, life goes on, flips a magic switch that makes everything magically better. It doesn’t.
Life goes on. I’m going on. But every step I take means I’m leaving a piece of me behind in a time when I didn’t have to try to be happy.