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Vergangenheitsbewältigung

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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.




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