Press play, then close your eyes. Play it again and watch the video. Read the following after you've listened to the entire song.
Beautiful, isn't it? Even if you don't particularly like Neil Diamond, it's difficult for me to fathom that someone out there can NOT find this absolutely gorgeous.
Alex introduced me to the Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack during one of those quiet, peaceful times, just simply sitting in the dark, enjoying the company of a loved one. It all really hit me at once, and I fell in love instantly.
As I begin another year at State, I find myself struggling again. Not as much as I used to struggle, but in the quiet moments, I find the darkness around the edges, that sadness that lurks just beyond the horizon, creeping in just a tiny bit towards me. Flashes of images, sudden rushes of sound, and twinges of emotions linked to long-repressed memories come to mind, and doubt follows immediately upon the heels of the memories.
I wonder a lot of things. I wonder if I'm a good person, and if I made the right decisions along my way.
In a little over two months, I will have lived for two entire years without Joey.
I feel like I've lived a thousand lives since that day. I've felt thousands of different things, and explained the situation thousands of different ways. It all amounts to the same thing, in the end.
I know not to compare myself to others....that grief, circumstances, relationships.....they're all different from person to person. I know that no fault was mine, though I remain living my life with twinges out doubt and guilt regardless.
Lately, I've been delving into these feelings, truly examining my thoughts and emotions, and I've realized that that guilt doesn't come from Joe's suicide directly.
My guilt comes from others who have suffered a loss....be it the loss of Joey or another loved one.
Knowing that these people still openly grieve months, even years, after a death makes me feel heartless, to be honest. I enjoy my life more now than I ever have before, in spite of the tragedy I experienced. Breaking up with Joe, regardless of his choice to take his own life, gave me freedom. That freedom granted me the ability to be who I was meant to be, and not just who he felt HE needed me to be. I can follow my heart, follow my dreams, and live a life that is more blessed than I ever could have imagined it could be.
I walked away and was blessed. I left him behind.
Is it my fault?
He took away my chance at normality when he took his life, and I can do nothing to change that. The scar he left by making that choice will stay with me until the day I die. However, I wear it as an internal scar...a quiet, subtle crack in an otherwise increasingly steady foundation.
Yet, as much as I am ever thankful that I am the healthy, happy, thriving twenty-year-old I am today, I feel as if I owe something to someone. While I am loved by more people than I can count, am cared for by the most amazing man I've ever met, and supported by a family I wouldn't change for anything, I feel a sense of discontent.
I've identified this discontent as guilt. I feel guilty because I am happy, in spite of the circumstances, while others continue to mourn his loss.
Then, I heard of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and it reminded me of my own outlook on the entire situation. It reminded me exactly why I picked myself up and carried on, healthy, happy, and full of a life that I am completely blessed to have been given.
"Does my life end here?
I wasn't born to drown in the ocean.
I can die here, or I can force myself to fly.
It's in me.
It's in me!
I've got to get back home.
At last, I can stop thinking, for once in my life.
Just stop thinking
and fly towards the lights in the dark!"
He may not be alive anymore, but I am.
I AM, and I plan to live while I'm alive.