“Something is over. In the deepest levels of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after”

The world looks different now. The pinks have become purple, the yellows brown. Mountains now wear crosses on their slopes. … Something is over. In the deepest levels of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after. A friend of ours whose husband died young said it meant for her that her youth was over. My youth was already over. But I know what she meant. Something is over.

Especially in places where he and I were together this sense of something being over washes over me. It happens not so much at home, but other places. A moment in our lives together of special warmth and intimacy and vividness, a moment when I specially prized him, a moment of hope and expectancy and openness to the future: I remember the moment. But instead of lines of memory leading up to his life in the present, they all enter a place of cold inky blackness and never come out. The book slams shut. The story stops, it doesn’t finish. The future closes, the hopes get crushed. And now instead of those shiny moments being things we can share together in delighted memory, I, the survivor, have to bear them alone.

So it is with all memories of him. They all lead into that blackness. It’s all over, over, over. All I can do is remember him. I can’t experience him. The person to whom these memories are attached is no longer here with me, standing up. He’s only in my memory now, not in my life. Nothing new can happen between us. Everything is sealed tight, shut in the past. I’m still here. I have to go on. I have to start over. But this new start is so different from the first. Then I wasn’t carrying this load, this thing that’s over.

Sometimes I think that happiness is over for me. I look at photos of the past and immediately comes the thought: that’s when we were still happy. But I can still laugh, so I guess that isn’t quite it. Perhaps what’s over is happiness as the fundamental tone of my existence. Now sorrow is that.

Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.

Nicholas Wolterstorff

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