I posted here about the death of my great-grandmother.
From what I know, she passed away peacefully.
I know that she has joined my grandmother, great grandfather and my uncle who left this world before her. I know that she is renewed and dancing in the streets of heaven. Or sitting on some cloud knitting as that would more suit her. But these are things for another post.
Today, I’m stuck in my own mind. Nothing seems to be pulling me from this. There is pressure and force all around me. My limbs grow weaker as the moments inch forward.
The weight that bears down on me is sometimes unbearable.
I seek not sympathy because I have chosen this path.
I ask not for understanding because that would mean you, too, must endure this pain.
I would not receive your pity because my GOD is stronger than this world.
When I made the decision to come to South Africa….I was young both literally and figuratively. Although I had lived both on my own and with others and had supported myself in many ways, I could not comprehend in my youth the extremity of my decision.
I could not even begin to grasp how far I actually would be from my family. The concept that I couldn’t get back when I wanted to, let alone when needed, never crossed my mind.
The realization that I would be severing a life once lived to the fullest would only come months down the road.
To me…money did not relate and social media filled all gaps.
But a like on Facebook cannot replace a hug. A retweet on Twitter cannot replace the warmth of a smile. And a LoL on text cannot replace the sound of a loved ones laugh.
Skype, no matter how fulfilling, cannot replace the hand reached out to your knee during a deep conversation. It cannot make up for the coffees missed with your mom or the lunch dates with your dad.
None of this, nothing, can make you truly feel connected to these people. Not when you’re talking years without in person connection.
This is how it feels….
I imagine I’m standing in the middle of the ocean. All around me there is just water. Not even the fish swim near me.
I’m facing South Africa, looking over my shoulder towards America.
Neither can I see…but I know they’re there.
There are these gold ropes attached to me from within. They are as much a part of me as my own arms and legs. There is a rope for every human/personal connection I’ve made in both countries.
There is a rope for my father and mother. Step and half siblings. Aunts and uncles. Friends. These ropes are thicker and thinner and stronger and weaker based on the depth of the relationship I had with these people. The thicker and stronger the rope….the larger the pull.
In South Africa, the ropes signify my family and children here. My friends and my church. My job and my activities.
The moment I boarded the plane many fine ropes broke away from my back. The connection to my current job ended. The extent of my relationship with my current church was severed. Friends who were more like acquaintances dropped instantly as their pull was not a blink compared to Hubby’s.
As I flew across the oceans, the rope from my front, Hubby’s rope grew broader and stronger. Each hour that passed made my connection and my dependency on him deeper. He was the only thing pulling me from the world I’d known.
The moment I landed in South Africa, new ropes started forming. I immediately formed a connection with Amanzimtoti. It was my first ‘home’ in South Africa. It gave me my first experience of the beach, which quickly grew it’s own rope as a place of tranquility and relaxation.
Hubby’s family and close friends popped out ropes like the jack popping out of the box. I was creating connections that would hold me here forever. Ropes that could not be broken by mere distance.
The same as some ropes back home.
A tug of war game was brewing within me. It expelled out of me at times of weakness. It’s waged its war, affecting all who are connected.
Time severed many ropes. Connections to memories of places now fell way to new connections. The ropes wear thin in the weather of life’s storms. An old connection to my high school cannot hold strength to my current work. The memories remain but the pull of that ‘home’ no longer exist.
But ropes left to suffer the extremes of the weather….they need care.
Connections need supplement.
So as time progresses, conversations are lost…the ropes pulling me home wane.
Connections to old friends grow weak as I nurture the relations I have here. The ropes of my Hubby and children are the strongest there is. Eventually, ropes of friends here become broad and heavy as my effort goes towards those ‘real’ relationships. It is not that I do not love or miss others….but I must continue to live my life here.
The ropes eventually break when you look back and realize you’ve not spoken in years.
But the worst cut. The one that ends it forever. Death.
Each time a rope is cut….the pull to South Africa grows stronger. I become more rooted where I am.
My life froze in my mind when I left America but those I left behind…their lives continued growing and moving forward.
Each death….each cruel realization that I will never see that person again leaves the remaining ropes working harder. They tire more quickly. Their weight is heavier.
One day….one day the ropes pulling me home will be no more.