I recently wrote about a friend’s suicide, an act that took place 21-years ago. As I read a poem I’d written after his death, I sensed a character shuffling about the edges of my consciousness. The character was carrying a cloak; a cloak of sadness, anger, guilt and despair, brought forward from those tumultuous days.
I realized this character wanted me to wear those emotions again.
It was as if this character believed there were proper responses to a suicide—no matter how long ago it had occurred—and knew the cloak carried within it acceptable ones. Here, wear this, she said. In case of suicide, feelings of sadness, anger, guilt and despair are allowed. I was tempted.
The thing is, I didn’t want to feel those things. I looked outside my window and the sun was shining; flowers were blooming.
Donning the cloak-of-past-emotions would not change the past.
It would, however, overshadow a beautiful present with emotions completely unrelated to the now.
I didn’t want to relive those old emotions.
I had a choice. I said no to the character and her cloak.