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I just read something about the importance of quiet and how essential it is to have time to be alone and with yourself. This gave me pause, as it reminded me of how desperately I craved quiet a few weeks ago, and how desperately I now try to avoid it. The saying is true : beware what you wish for, it might come true.
A very few weeks back my life was a tornado, with all the noise and screaming winds that accompany it, with the feeling of being torn in several directions at the same time. The “noise” of that period in my life was that of internal anguish and external pain. I craved a few minutes of peace and quiet, I wished and prayed for some time for stillness and calm. That was then, when my Mom was going through a great deal of pain and when her voicing of said pain was tearing me up. How I wished for just a few minutes of quiet, away from the anguish and the way it was tearing me up.
Now, I have nothing but quiet. My Mom is now at rest, but although it is very quiet, my internal anguish has not quieted. It is the quiet that brings it out and makes it turn into a monster that threatens to devour me. Quiet now is my enemy. I need the noise, the people, talking, any distraction to take away the pain, the loneliness, the emptiness. So it is really food for thought that we have to be very careful what we wish for. I had thought that a few hours of quiet were all that my soul needed to restore its peace, and now a few minutes of quite are quite capable of upsetting me no end.
March is turning into a very difficult month for me. Not only is the weather totally unpredictable and full of extreme changes, but it also affects my moods and I find myself like a pendulum, in one swing I feel the anguish of loss, and in another the gratitude for all the love I am receiving from some really surprising quarters. It is also the month where Egyptians celebrate Mother’s Day on the 21. I am dreading that day so much, not only because of having just lost my Mom, but because as it happens it is also my late Father’s birthday, a compounded loss this year.
A friend made a passing remark about Mother’s Day and I found myself clenching my teeth and bracing for an assault. The one thing I dread most is a very popular song that keeps playing EVERYWHERE, about one’s mother. It is a very moving song, and for the first time in my life I realize how painful listening to that song is to people like me who have lost their mothers. I feel like a member of a huge, silent club, of all those women and men who have lost their mothers, be it a recent loss or a very, very old loss. One and all they talk with love and longing, and quite often with tears and a feeling of loss, when mentioning their mothers. It does not seem to be a loss that you ever forget, or get over. It is permanently there. Although they keep trying to convince me that things will eventually get better, yet every time they start talking about their mothers, they tear up and can barely hold in their grief and longing. So contrary to what they are trying to do, that is trying to make me feel better, they manage to convince me that no matter how long it takes, the pain will always be there. In my mind I know that this raw feeling of pain cannot continue at such a high pitch of intensity for too long, but in my heart I fear that it might callus over, but could flare up again, as bright and as searing as ever at any time in the future, as I have witnessed happening to those friends who have come to pay their condolences, then broke down because the situation brings back their own loss.
Quiet now is the bane of my existence, quiet is my feared monster, quiet is the enemy within. Now I begin to understand why people who live alone automatically turn on the TV the moment they walk into their empty house : to banish that deadly quiet. Noise is what is needed to banish the emptiness. Noise and people. God in His wisdom has shown me that anything could be either a blessing or a curse. That one and the same thing could be a blessing under certain circumstances, and a curse under different ones. When I was longing for quiet a few weeks ago, I used to try to shut my ears to any noise hoping that that would give me the peace I was longing for. Now I find myself straining to listen for the least bit of noise, be it my cats scratching the furniture, or the dogs barking at the end of the garden, a door banging in the servants’ quarters, or the swooshing of tires of a car passing in the street outside. The ringing of the telephone is the chimes of reprieve, the ding dong of the microwave is music to my ears. Television is now taking on the attributes of a living creature with all the different noises I can get out of it. I have not had the courage to try music as yet, in the past it had always affected me too strongly for me to attempt it now as yet. I need to be less raw.
With the help of my friends I am now going to push myself forward with another step. I shall meet some friends outside the house. We shall go for lunch, and I hope this does not upset me as I fear it might. But I will never find out if it will or not unless I try it, so I am gritting my teeth and going. Very small, ordinary things seem to have taken gigantic proportions for me these days. I would never have given joining some friends for lunch a second thought, yet now it takes a great deal of resolution and deliberate will to do so. But if I keep at it, this deliberate act will eventually become a habit, and hopefully, ultimately, become enjoyable. Now I understand fully the meaning of courage, now I appreciate fully the cost of being a fighter. These are not empty accolades, these are very highly paid for and dearly earned. My Mom was a very courageous lady and a real fighter, and this gives me hope that I take after her and will find that part of her in me.
14 March 2014