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30 and Learning…

The journey continues

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regret

The Weight of a What-if

Sunny’s death is something I couldn’t have averted but I could have loved him better…

Everyone who sees my grief tells me the same thing – that I did the best I could, that I did way more than what anyone else would have done for him. But I am not anyone else, I am me, and I know I didn’t give him my best. Love hurts, yes. But what hurts more is the knowledge that I could have loved more, and I didn’t. Caring hurts. But to know that I could have cared better, that I wanted to care better, is something I am unable to cope with.

I am an empath; I am capable of loving and caring a lot more than most people do, and I do it without any expectations. That is the detachment I wrote about few days ago. I didn’t expect Sunny to live just because he was with me. He had to go if his time came. I accept that. I didn’t expect him to stay with me had he recovered. I would have happily rehabilitated him. My love wasn’t based on these conditions. My love is unconditional and boundless but in Sunny’s case, my love reached a limit, at least that is how I see it, although it’s not true.

I keep thinking what if I had stayed with him. The vet said that he died of pain. He was too small for any medical intervention. I couldn’t have taken away his pain. But I could have been there and comforted him through the pain. Maybe he felt lonely and scared, I could have made him feel loved and safe. I cannot stop apologizing to his dead body but I will never get the forgiveness that I am seeking. The weight of this what-if, and a forgiveness that I’ll never find, how to move on from that?

I wish he’d come back to life, just for a moment, and tell me that he forgives me. I wish someone could give me this forgiveness! We are humans, we are bound to make mistakes. Mistakes don’t define our character, it’s how we deal with them. But how can I deal with this mistake? How can I do right by him? He is gone. I can only learn- there is a lesson to be learned from every mistake we make. Sunny has re-taught me the meaning of responsibility and life. Life is fragile and our days are numbered. We don’t know if there will be a tomorrow. So we must make the most of today, give it our very best so that in case tomorrow doesn’t come we may lie in peace knowing that we didn’t leave any unfinished business for tomorrow. And love like there is no tomorrow. Because sometimes it’s too late to tell someone that you love them and living with regrets is the worst kind of pain. There is no comfort, only penance.

I am going through that pain right now. And I must go through it alone, like Sunny did. Maybe that is my penance.

Sunny, wherever you are, know that I loved you and I didn’t mean to leave you alone. I hope you will forgive me

Destiny

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Just two days ago I wrote about detachment, and here I am crying over the death of a bird I found on the street just yesterday…

Sunny, as I had started calling him fondly, was a purple rumped sunbird, and hence the name. I found him by chance, on a street with a broken wing. I picked him up, took him to a vet, brought him home and tried to care for him as best as I could. But earlier today he took his last breath in my hands. I held him gently, yelling at him in despair to keep fighting, to not give up, to stay with me. But with each passing minute I could feel life slipping away from his tiny, brilliantly colored body, until all that was left was a dead bird in my hands. I cried and cried until I could cry no more. The sadness hadn’t subdued but I think my tear glands couldn’t produce any more tears. My heart is still crying, and that’s why I am here.

Sunny was a spritely little fella. Even with a broken wing he was constantly hopping around. He’d hop from my hand to my chest, to the shoulder and finally to my head, where he’d stay perched until I picked him up and put him down. He was truly a ray of sunshine, lighting up my life even if just for a day. Thinking about him still puts a smile on my face!

Then why am I sad? It’s not his death that I am mourning, it’s a feeling of guilt that’s weighing on me. When I woke up today I had decided to cancel all my plans for the day and stay home to watch him. Then he went to sleep, and I thought I could step out. He seemed cozy. He had been napping on my hand on and off all morning so I thought he can use some rest and I some time out with friends. Even as my friends were coming to pick me up I had a voice in the back of my head telling me to stay. But I didn’t. When I came back Sunny was still sleeping. I tried waking him up but he fluttered his wings and remained in his hideout. So I went about my business. Then I went back to check on him and something about him didn’t look right. I picked him instantly, tried to give him some water and nectar but he didn’t take either. It was the beginning of the end.

As I watched him go slowly I couldn’t help but be mad at myself for leaving him. I should have listened to the voice in my head, I should have been there with him! I don’t know if I could have made any difference but I wouldn’t be living with this guilt that I have now. But should this be about me? Is anything about me, about any of us?

Like a friend rightly said to me, in an attempt to console me, “…we all play a part and in this story, (I) played (mine)”. I played my part. And maybe that is how my part was supposed to be. I could go on wishing for time to turn around so I may undo what’s been done. But the truth is that I cannot change what has happened. I can only take solace in knowing that I tried. I wish I could say that I tried my best. But maybe, just maybe, my friend is right. And maybe this is how my part in little Sunny’s life was meant to play out. I do believe in destiny, and I have come to believe that there’s a plan for all of us. So maybe this was part of the plan; just a role that I had to play, a rather difficult one. To cry over it would only mean that I think I had any control over what happened. I relinquished control over my own life a long time ago, then how can I be presumptuous to think that I had any control over Sunny’s life. It was destiny, both his and mine, that brought us together and it was destiny that decided when our time was up. To think that I had the power to change that is sheer ignorance, and perhaps arrogance too.

So once again, I admit defeat to fate… tell myself that this is how it was meant to be… And hold on to the lovely moments little Sunny and I shared.

RIP Sunny, you lit up my world!

Died May 1, 2018

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