Vergangenheitsbewältigung might be my favorite German word. Lots of jokes about the German language having a (normally long) word for everything, and, well, it’s true more often than not. “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” means “a struggle to come to terms with the past.” I’m thinking about it today because it’s the five year anniversary of the death of the only Doktor I have ever known.
You can click through my archives and find other November 4th posts about Chris. Each year I say something. I feel decent about what I’ve written in the past — in fact, one of them I think is one of the best things I’ve ever written. This year, though…well, I’m not going to call this a waste of a post, but I felt like I had to find an angle for writing this. “An angle,” what the fuck? You just write and your feelings come out. This is serious shit, you don’t need some magical gateway, you’ve got it all in you, if you start you’ll finish.
Well, er, not always. Sometimes you don’t even start. Sometimes you sit all day, thinking about his loss, my loss, our loss, and you realize you don’t feel it like you used to. You just…accepted it. You came to terms with it. Sometime over the past year, a dead Chris became part of my Weltanschauung (German vocab time again; “world view”). I think I feel guilty and/or ashamed about this. Why should I? I left a little piece of my life behind that day, but there’s no reason to leave a breadcrumb trail of more little bits of my life back to it, especially as I like to believe and often claim that I have a very enlightened (perhaps a/k/a callous(ed)) view of death. So why do I feel like a dead Chris is now a Chris I know, and a live Chris isn’t, and both of these feel wrong?
I’ve had tragedy over the past year. I have mourned a few times and nearly mourned a few more. Have I supplanted tragedies? Is this possible? Do we do it consciously? I doubt it. I think we…live. These are the actions of a living soul. These are things people do in their day-to-day lives. We start anew regularly (momentarily, anon) and probably don’t notice it because we still have reminders of the past. My life has, well, greatly started anew and maybe the unanchored nature of my life since May has put me in a state where the past does not hold as it once did? (Maybe, my ass: the past is another planet to me now.)
And that’s what got me today about not having Chris anymore. Selfishly selfishly, I want to talk to him. I want to tell him about how I’ve finally gotten my shit together and am pretty damn happy. I want his advice on some things. I could greatly use his sympathy, understanding, and kindness at times. I think he would enjoy visiting me in Chicago. (I know I would sure as hell enjoy it.) He’s missing opportunities to share in his friends’ successes, and we’ve got no idea what his successes would be.
I am coming to terms with the past. I accept what has happened. I see it as it is. I am living my life as best as I can. Chris…shit, if it could be said of anyone, it must be said emphatically of him:
It’s what he would have wanted.