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  • Writer's pictureGerald Tindal

Day 365: Surrealist and Realist


It has been 365 days since you died: August 14, 2018. At the time, our life changed in a way that was and is irrevocable and unremitting in contrast to what was and what could/should be. Transposing time from a secure and settled life with you and Sev, totally enjoying your presence. But it was brought to an abrupt end: Your life and now only memories with a searing effect that I hope one day will bring joy and a love of life again with every thought of you. But one year is not enough so the duality and tension of life and death is as prominent now as it was when we all first heard. Got the call. The surrealist and realist sit on the front porch, guarding everything that comes and goes in our life.

The surrealist takes me back to the day, the profound and deep despair, beginning with a crazed call from Sev and then hearing that you had not shown up at work, which began the long process of discovery against hope. The days filled with numbness from dawn to dusk. Nightfall with deep darkness in going back and reliving previous days, your last day. The surrealist tugs the rope to the sea of grief where it is always dark. Full of despair and disbelief. It is a place uninhabitable for life.

The realist sits right next to the surrealist on the porch and is in constant contest, bringing in a ray of life with moments of sun and memories that touch on joy, ever so brief. The realist is in the company of good friends, always so supportive, full of kindness and love. The self-talk is more toward what has to be in moving forward. After all, this is life. Not something you can mess with and either ignore or stall. The tug from the shore gently brings your soul back to us and reminds us of everything you were in your roll, your quiet acceptance and playful approach to each day in such a positive way.

Though the morning tends to be mourning with the surrealist ever present, the realist comes through, usually through good friends. Functions tend to take meaning and life begins again, a bumpy time with purpose. There and not there. Past, be careful. Present important. Future perhaps. Time displayed but not noticed. Until, then it hits: Today is the day one year ago, an ordinary moment became indelibly seared with a pivot and thrust into a place out there but never inside. On the news. Someone else.

The fun of you and Sev as our best friends continues with her taking up the slack from you no longer being the wing man. But her life too has changed and the cancer that has taken root is sure to further test our mettle, our resolve. But she is remarkably strong. Positive. Showing us the way to take life and shake it to the roots. Move forward. Conquer the disease and live life, like you did: Just can’t get enough life out of one day so will be back for another. You’ll see. One day and another rolling along. Your roll.

So today is Day 365. It’s impossible to imagine looking back how this could be and how long it has been. How we have changed forever and yet nothing has changed. How life has moved from form to function to purpose with meaning because of the good friends who help us with the rope, gently drawing to shore. Away from the surrealist who continues to tug out to the darkness.

I wish I could tell you all about everything you’ve missed this past year. Reflect on all the things we did together. But I can’t. I’ll let the surrealist tell that story and otherwise live with the realist: You are present and we will forever have you in our life. We love you so, so much. You left life soaring and one day we will join you.

Dad Man, Mama, and Beanz

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