THE LONELINESS OF THE DYING BY CALEB JORDAN: GUEST POST
One thing that is hard to explain is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: people think of Monk, or insane asylums, or people randomly touching light poles or fence posts. The truth is that it is much more complex than that; my version of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder rarely affects me physically, occasionally I have to re-do things or touch things over and over, but most of my compulsions are based within my own mind. I tend to obsess over my own failure, I obsess over stats in sports, I obsess over poetry, I obsess over knowing all the facts about everything that I can, but I also obsess and remember every person by face and story in my life who has ever died.
Obsession means that not only do I think about these things, but that my life becomes consumed by such things to the detriment of my health and sanity. I take medication for this but it deals with most of the symptoms; however, there is no a cure. Wondering why I am telling you all this? I am telling you all this because I have lost one of my best friends recently: I will never forget his face, his voice, the feeling of being around him.
Others may share this, I do not know, they say time dulls the feelings and slowly renders the person a memory. There is nothing wrong with people becoming a memory because that is all our fate. This may sound depressing but at least gives us a chance to do things that mean something in the moment. Of course I do not mean to give you hope, hope just happens to be there.
My friend who died was a young person who had much life to live. He was a beautiful person who wrote poetry, read books, enjoyed a good joke, never took himself too seriously, and yet never acted as if his actions did not have purpose or meaning. The key is that balance: not too serious but realizing the fact that every decision has a consequence.
All good things must end; otherwise we would not be able to look back and say that they are good, and rarely do we realize that the beautiful times are happening until they are over. The movement of time is both a blessing and a curse.
For myself, to never forget someone who has died, to always remember their face, part of their personality, time does not change that, it never becomes a memory but always stays a living thing. Maybe some of us have to remember those that are gone so that a constant memorial is kept up, a flame that never goes out. It has been both a burden and a gift to myself. The burden is that I do not go a day without thinking about those people who have gone, not one day, I cannot, the OCD does not let me. The gift is that these people will always have a memorial within me, they will not be forgotten, and I feel like it is part of our duty as human beings to remember.
For those who are depressed by such talk, do not be, this is the continuation of life, the circle. Every generation seeks to redeem the one before, that is how change happens for better and for worse, but it is always a movement for atonement, at-one-ment of all people together. The reason why I can have hope in this is because we all find ourselves at one in birth and in death, the two things that we cannot control.
So I would advise you to remember one or two people who have gone today. Sad or happy, just take a moment and let it affect you, and take a moment to become one with the dead and appreciate more the time we have with the living.
Caleb Jordan is a poet and writer living in Norman, OK with three dogs, one cat, two fish, and one wife. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in English. His main focus is poetry but occasionally he writes prose for the good of the people, or some such.TW: @gkmonthly
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