Why are you still here?

You survived. They didn’t.

You know it just happened. There was no rhyme or reason. They were with you one moment, gone the next.
And you were left alive.

You’d take their place in a heartbeat to spare the agony you saw in their loved one’s eyes.
A hole in the heart of a family, a missing parent, a child dead before his years.
Why are you still here?

Silence absorbs your question. Guilt crushes you into the darkness.
No answer comes.

You feel guilty for being alive. Guilty for not being dead. Guilty for having another chance at life.
Guilty for not being able – though you’re not sure how you could’ve but surely you could’ve – kept them alive.
You came home.

They went home.

You are here. They are… too.
With you. Flashes of memory. Moments shared. Fears faced.
Boredom overcome. Bonds forged. A date and hour stamped indelibly in your conscious.

Now, they are there. You are here.

The soul asks; it cannot accept sheer powerlessness.
The soul cries out because it forgets. Blinded here in this veil of earth-existence.
Unable to remember the decisions made when the adventure was planned.
The perfect control and power over every detail. Now unrecalled.
It forgets that our time here is but a game.

A game, you say? A game that sears pain so deep you are sliced in two?
A game?? Are tears a game? Rage? A mind that relives a moment over and over and over…
capturing you in sheer powerless night after night after night?
A game?!?

Where is God? Where is mercy? Where is something, anything, to hold responsible for this?
This decision that left you alive and them dead.
That gave you another chance and took theirs away.
Where is the one who decides?

A voice whispers, so familiar.
You listen. And centuries of beliefs give way.
Religion fades. A faint memory returns. Of that time, back there in Spirit World, when you were together, mapping out this great adventure. Planning how long you’d stay and how you wanted to “go” this time around. Of wanting to be tested and of the growth that would come. “How long should I stay?” you asked. “Longer than me,” he said. “But why?” “Because I’ve already learned that.” “Okay.” And you agreed.
Do you remember??

“You cannot lose what was never yours,” they told you, “don’t forget that,” they said. Years on earth left unlived, memories not made, time not spent, a whole “future” gone —
“It’s not gone,” they remind you gently. “For it was never going to be.” You cannot lose what was never yours. “Don’t play your grief forward, don’t stop living when we’re gone,” they warned. “For this is our choice, not yours. And while you will be there when we leave, it will not be yours to blame. So live.”

How do you accept that? How do you let go of the thought that it could’ve been different? A second in timing. A millimeter in distance. If you had just done something — anything — differently, if you’d been taken instead, it would be okay. They’re gone, you miss them, you want them back, they’re never coming back this time around.

Why are you still here?

“Because your journey isn’t done,” they whisper.
There are lives yet for you to reach. Hearts to love. Healing to experience.
And until every life that you are meant to grace has been touched,
Every heart yet to be loved by you and love you in return,
Every joy that you give just by being here,
Every soul that looks into your pain and grief and finds courage for their own,

Until then, this is where you belong.

If you’re dealing with survivor’s guilt and would like to share what’s on your heart, please reach out. I’ll walk with you.

Comment here or email me privately at brittareque@gmail.com. NOTE: Comments are held for personal review by me and will not be published if I feel they should remain private. I will reach out to you by email in that case. Note that any public comment you make may be made public on this site.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.