Healing through Writing

By: Linda Villamarín

It's been less than a month since the man of my life passed away: my father. It’s incredible to me that when this kind of stuff happens, everything else loses its meaning. Time stops being time itself, feelings are hard to differentiate, body expressions are no longer conscious, and the mind no longer perceives the world as it knew it. This was an expected event; it wasn’t a surprise. It was a disease that had been announced a couple of years ago, but just a couple of months ago, it completely invaded my father's body, turning off, little by little, his flame and, incidentally, ours.

The last two weeks before his death were the most painful of my entire life. I am not wrong when I say that it was a nightmare, a long, living nightmare. We knew it would happen at any moment, and we even prayed for it to come in the end. We looked up to heaven and asked to allow my father to rest in peace and end his painful suffering. They were horrible days. I still need to gather strength to even think about this without my hands trembling or my tears speaking for me. We were souls in pain, ready for the worst. At that point, miracles no longer existed, only anguish, sadness, and above all, frustration. I needed a way to get it out of me, and, as always and without being disappointed, the only way to do it was by writing.

I began to write a diary in the last days he was on earth and for a few days after his death. This time, though, my writings didn’t have the purpose of letting off steam, because I had already done it in many other ways. I wrote to leave a testimony for myself, not because I wanted to remember the feeling, but because I wanted to think, to believe that when I re-read it to myself someday, I might notice that I feel different, that I managed to turn the page and that it no longer hurts like that. It is incredible the kind of magic that writing has which allows us to know ourselves, and in this case, to keep track of a depression that is healing little by little.

I learned things about myself by seeing what I wrote during this time.

April 9th. The constant anguish doesn't let me sleep, it makes my chest hurt, I feel that I can't breathe, talk, eat, feel. I am living a subtle and constant suffering. It feels like when they take a blood sample, a part of us comes out little by little, the needle comes out of the skin too slow, it hurts, although not too much, but it hurts. That's how I feel now, a part of me is leaving and I can only sit and endure the pain until it comes out of myself completely.

April 11 I hate everything we'll miss. I have so many plans for both of us... I want him to bring me to the altar, to calm my obvious fears about committing with advice that only he will know how to give and I still don’t know yet. I want to dance together with you, I want you to lose yourself in the eyes of my future children and feel an even greater love than ours, I want you to come with me when I buy my first car and I want us to fall asleep one warm day in front of the sea, but above all, I want to have him in my life forever. I hate life for taking away everything I won't live alongside him...

April 14 I see older men on the street and I wonder: how did they manage to get old? How did they escape the revenge of aging? How could they mock karma and still live? Do their children know how lucky they are to be able to feel them, to see their hero in life, and not in photos, as if they were unreal? How do you stop hating life for taking away someone you love? If you've had a loss, can you learn how to breathe again?

April 20 I recently heard a song called “What a beautiful April!" and now I hate it. It's the worst song in the world, it's so inappropriate. This was the worst April of my life, the worst. Sounds like the biggest irony in the world. It was slow and fast at the same time, it was very dark, rainy, and black. Shitty spring, rest in fucking peace.

April 22 I've only understood mourning until now. I don't dress in black to make people notice my mourning or to generate pity, mourning is a state of mind. It's not that I don't want to dress in colors, it's that I don't feel like it. It's as if everything that mattered to me about my appearance has been set aside because my mind can only concentrate on one thing, trying to heal. It's like when the body uses its energy for digestion or sleep, but cannot for both. I don't know if I digest or sleep, but my black mind is ready only for one of those two. Mourning is a state of the soul.

* * *

It’s been 16 days since the day my father left this world until today when I write this article, and only now have I sat down to read everything I left in writing.

I can't help but feel sad about having lived through that horrible chapter, but there is a small part of me that is glad, because in one way or another, I can see that I'm starting to feel different. I suppose, if it wasn't for the fact that I left it in writing, I wouldn't have noticed it, because sometimes it's difficult to differentiate feelings and we see sadness as a single state without knowing that it has many levels. It still doesn't stop hurting, but there's no more tears, no more mourning. There's not going to be a day where I don't miss him, only now, for myself and for him, I've decided to move on with my life, and that includes continuing to write.

Writing honestly has allowed me to heal slowly and notice it. So, one piece of advice for myself, and for whoever reads this, is that if you go through a difficult episode, no matter how hard it is, write it down. Because someday, those writings to be re-read will be your personal achievement. They will be the remaining mark, an imprint, of how oneself can move forward and that no matter how difficult it may be, this was only one chapter of life and we must take strength to move on to the next page and keep living.

WWBL Author