It may contain sensitive topics for some readers. Even if it is not directly addressed, it is shown some symptoms of depression and it is talked about the lost of loved ones. Be safe.
The day I chose to live I woke up. There was no sun in sight. Nor a singing bird chirping in the balcony. Nor a warm hug to welcome me to life again after years desperately running from it. And that was okay. I had me.
The day I chose to live the room was filled with silence. A silence that had made itself at home invading places where once the laughter of all its inhabitants reigned. Where soft smiles greeted guests. Where the hurried steps of children running to their room after playing a trick had left only dust and melancholy. Where once imperfection was perfect. A place where home felt right.
Perhaps if you let your imagination wander through the hallways you could glimpse the faint footprints of the children through the floors and the rug. The footprints were everywhere. Be it at the entrance of the living room, on the window ledge where one of the children had fallen while pretending to be superman, at the big, rustic table where they used to play as knights in a floating castle. Footprints that reminisce of times where life was easier. Of a past that, by the course of the time, was getting further and further away from the present.
Oh and the smells, please, don’t forget those. Burned them in the walls and in the halls. Crawling through my memories.
The sweet, delightful scent of freshly baked cookies made by grandma. Filled with love, care and melodies.
The smell of tobacco from the hardworking, serene father. Oak tree that stands to provide shade for its children. Not a second to waste. A ticking clock, alright on time. Always right till he was not.
The smell of dried marigold from the mother. A beautiful woman, shaped by hardships. Whose hands full of calluses became soft and fragrant for their children. Hands that encouraged them to strive for the better.
And then there were their footsteps like murmurs of scared rodents not wanting to wake up to their miracle through the night. Parents who never saw the brightness of the sun or the light in their children's eyes. Parents who woke up with the stars, kissed their children in their dreams and went to work in a monotony that squeezed them more and more each day. Parents whose footprints allowed their children to sleep with full bellies even if their own roared for food.
Footprints, sounds, smells that through the years had been muted and decayed by an unstoppable silence.
At first it had been imperceptible. It was limited to watching from the corners of the house, the bars of the windows and the forgotten drawers. However, as the years passed and the children grew up, it became more predominant. More than anyone would have wished. What once would have been a moment of rest became a time to stifle laughter during meals, to erase smiles and fill coffins.
Silence had become the king of the forgotten, untold memories.
Everyone left. Except me.
The day I chose to live I lifted the heavy blanket of silence through those tinted memories. I deep cleaned the house of quieted cries, uncomfortable truths and dreadful goodbyes.
The day I chose to live I ventured out of the house into the normal daily lives. I order tea in the local coffee shop with some butter cookies. I walked along the sea appreciating the little colored fish while the seagulls crossed the sky. I walked alongside new parents strolling with their infants. I saw how their eyes lighted with the blubbering of their kids. How they distorted their faces, not afraid to be mocked if that meant their miracle could laugh.
And I could see, for the first in a long time, how beautiful it was to know that at this moment you were creating beautiful memories.
The day I chose to live I chose to appreciate my past. Not because it was safer and secure but because it happened. Even though there was silence and pain and darkness it was also filled with the presence of my father, my mother, my grandma and my siblings. It was proof that they existed, that they made me happy and that I could be happy now. And by being that, I was honoring their hard work.
The day I chose to live, I visited the cemetery for the last time and started carrying them with me without a heavy heart.
The day I chose to live, I chose to love.
Mom, I met a boy. He is cute. Really, really cute. You always told me that dimples were beautiful as they made the smile wider. You were right. You always are. His hair is always disheveled from running and following me. He is not too much. Don’t worry mom. He is a kind soul who is always watching over me.
He takes my hand when it's cold and kisses me gently to bring back the pink on my lips. In the summer he picks and throws me into the sea where I see the fishes just as beautiful as the day I lived.
Dad, I had my wedding. And I wasn’t alone. My fiance's father walked me down the aisle while wearing your favorite outfit in your honor. I wished you were there, that you squeezed my hand before becoming a wife. Threatened him to be a good man and promised me that I would always have a house to come back to. But that’s not reality. And that 's okay. I know that you would have loved my father and mother in law. That took me as their own daughter from the first day. And I know that they would have loved you. And knowing that, is enough.
Alex, my older and more mature brother. I am now a mother. Gray decorates my hair and wrinkles mark where the laughter has been. I may look older but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need you. But I know you are here. My son looks just like you. He loves to play pranks and mischief. Run through the woods and get his knees dirty. Sing to birds and catch beetles. I'm sure if you were here you would have had a blast together. You would be an amazing uncle. The only one, so you wouldn’t have to fight too much for his attention. I am sure you would have given him lots of heartfelt advice that maybe would have been useful. But you can’t, so I hope you are proud of me.
Hi grandma, I know you were a widow for a long time before being reunited with him again. I wish you were here even though I know you are taking extraordinary care of him. I need you too. I can’t do it alone. I have two kids. None of them are adults yet. How did you do it with five? I couldn’t see it then. I wish I understood how strong you were. I wished I could be a tenth of that.
I know I promised to choose to live. But is damn hard.
But, like you told me:
So because of that. I choose to live. For my kids. For you. And because I know that when my time is up, I will go where you are. In me meanwhile. I choose life. Because life is hard as it is rewarding.