“Imaginary friends are a common manifestation for many kids across several developmental milestones.”
I was told that as I was growing up; I had an imaginary friend. However , I started to spend lesser time talking and playing with my imaginary friend; such that my imaginary friend eventually disappeared.
As weird as it seemed after Kimberley’s death ; I started to have an imaginary friend. Let’s name this friend of mine as Mario. Mario can be such a pain at times, always talking and talking at the wrong time and place. Several occasions, I wanted to scream at Mario to shut up! There are times when Mario’s presence puts a grin on my face, as I reminisced the happy, ridiculous, stupid moments we shared. As we approached 2 years since Kimberley’s death, Mario is getting on my nerves. Mario is often disrupting my train of thoughts which results in me getting frustrated at anything and everything. Each time, I tried to ignore Mario; my heart aches ( and I have no idea why do I feel so much pain in me).
Just the other day, I told myself “ Maybe this imaginary friend of mine is just like a broken record that cannot stop blabbering information about the past. Mario kept blabbering information about how our lives were different when Kimberley was still around with us”. Most of these information aren’t useful as my eyes tend to become watery. Recalling about our lives back then, often leads us to a dark place. A dark place , where we struggle to get out of it, and put on a mask so that others would not feel that we are constantly sad and not being ourselves.
The presence of my imaginary friend made me realise that life have to go on, it will never be the same again. Perhaps my friend wants to teach me a lesson that we should treasure the past and make the best out of the future. Maybe it’s time for this imaginary friend to disappear from my life.
It’s been almost 2 years
To be exact, it’s been 678 days since Kimberley breathed her last. The past 678 days felt like I was trying to walk through and survive a hurricane. Halfway through, I realised that death is part and parcel of life progression, some tend to die earlier than others, while some tend to die later. Throughout the past 678 days, there were times when I felt that I was a pregnant killer whale that was undergoing 17 months of gestation period. That was how long it took approximately for the grief, bereavement and pain ( just a little bit of it ) to be gone.
“ Go towards the light”
“ I see the light”
People that are dying are often told to go towards the light, but what about the loved ones left behind, do we follow the route that leads to a bright and cheerful place, or the route that leads to a dark and gloomy place. Honestly, I don’t think that there is a particular route that we should follow. Instead I think that the routes then to be interconnected in some ways. Most of the time, when I’m on the dark route I would bumped into Mario, resulting in tears being shed sometimes while in the midst of a serious conversation.
“Time heals almost everything” – Do time really heals wounds or does it just transform the grief/ pain into fond memories.
26 years old. That was how old Kimberley was when she passed away. But yet up till now, I ( her dad) still remember how she ( as a toddler) would press her face onto the glass of the arrival hall eagerly awaiting my return. The times when we would quarrel due to differences when she and her sister was growing up, the look on her face at her graduation ceremony despite complaining about her university.
Will time heal wounds?
Time doesn’t heal wounds, because Kimberley’s death doesn’t mean that she is no longer a family member.
Maybe Kimberley’s death isn’t goodbye. Looking forward to the day we meet again, and I wonder would we be able to recognise each other? Would we embrace each other in warm hugs?
Up till now, death is inevitable, we are not immortals and our time spend on Earth is limited. It doesn’t matter if we die at a young age or an old age, it’s about how we deal with it, whether we want to accept it gracefully or not. Hopefully when it’s my turn to die, I would be able to accept it with the same amount of strength and perseverance that Kimberley had demonstrated.
Are you really an imaginary friend?
As I typed this tribute, I realised that Mario might not be an imaginary friend. Perhaps Mario is my subconscious, that takes on both the roles of angels and devils, advocating me to proceed on with life and/ or persuading me to retreat back into the dark phase of life. We cannot get rid of our subconscious and the various thoughts. However, we can take a step back and work towards growing and accepting grief gracefully.
Sometimes when we take a step back to breathe, social media including google photos tend to provide us with numerous flashbacks of all the memories we shared. But we should learn to embrace these flashbacks , instead of avoiding it.
Life is filled with ups and down, so let’s make the best out of it.
And happy birthday Kimberley! 🙂