Have you ever experienced tragedy? What about heartbreak? Intense loss? Devastating pain?
If you walk this earth long enough, you will--if you haven't already. Most of the time, these are feelings and experiences we would rather avoid. Or, they blindside us in the middle of an otherwise peaceful existence. We seemingly spend our lives trying NOT to experience the terrible feelings associated with tragedy.
But really? I think the the true tragedy is never knowing what tragedy actually feels like. Those negative feelings, as awful as they may be, actually have a way of stripping us down to the core of who we are. Think about it: surviving and finding your way through an awful experience calls upon a part of yourself that normally lies dormant. If you don't use your survival skills, they tend to grow idle.
Tragedy is tragedy, no matter the form. It rocks you to the core. It chews you up and spits you out. It brings you to your knees. It leaves lingering questions. Or, it causes you to question everything you have ever believed about your life.
It's not pleasant. You wouldn't wish for it. You wouldn't want anyone else to know it like you have. But like any other profound experience in your life, it has some magical way of putting everything else in focus. It helps you to notice how fortunate you are; makes you realize that life really is beautiful, fleeting, and sometimes very short.
Perspective is the name we give to this feeling; and sometimes we cannot have it until after we have survived something terrible. Tragedy has a way of haunting us, breaking us, and then allowing us the opportunity to try to rebuild ourselves again.
That's not to say we forget what happened or are able to pretend it never happened. Rather, I think it's a chance to walk alongside what happened---feeling those feelings and knowing that pain when it comes without being weighed down by misery.
I like to think there's a lesson in there somewhere, buried beneath the heartache and pain. Sometimes it just takes us years to find it.
"No matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone." -Haruki Murakami