Some families have the support of each other no matter what. What makes the military similar, is that the members have jobs that regularly remind them that their lives literally depend on each other. And their dedication and trustworthiness won’t hinge on whether they agree or disagree with each other. That’s the best part about it. That unconditional support is a powerful thing to share with someone in life.
Soldiers in action not only experience traumas together. But they also live their lives together. And the more we engage with someone—the more they are a part of our daily lives—the more they will be represented within the associations in our brains. Meaning, the challenge with losing a loved one is that they are associated with nearly everything.
Most troubling, those closest to us are wired into our concept of ‘love.’ This makes grieving particularly uncomfortable, because even loving thoughts of the departed person are routed through a painful recognition of their absence.
It’s almost as though we are the sap from two neighbouring trees who have leaned against each other for a very long time. That time represents how long we have known a person; and the amount of pressure created by the lean, represents the intensity of our feelings.
With enough time and love shared, two people can easily become inextricable. We literally become a part of each other’s consciousness. Did they teach us this, or did we teach them that? Did they open up this feeling in us, or had we felt that before?
Like some fluid, emotional history, all that sap gets mixed and swirled and twisted together in a wonderful way. And this metaphor works beautifully—for the parts of our lives we spend together. But death will come to every relationship. And even if death itself is as sudden as an Improvised Explosive Device, the more intertwined our lives are, the longer it will take to pull our halves apart.
The nice thing is, even when we do, slowly over time we start to realize that there is a still an enormous amount of them left within us. Just as some of us departs with the departed, much of them stays with us, in life. They affect what we notice, and what we think about what we notice. And those changes in awareness lead to us have different sorts of reactions in the present.
All of this literally means that, by affecting what we say and do today, the people that matter still live within our consciousness. In that way, no person in history is ever really gone. They simply go from being consciousness in their body, to being an aspect of our consciousness, in our body.
In honour of that, we can take our sincere and earnest moment of somber silence on Remembrance/Veterans Day, and we can honour the great sacrifices of others. But, in doing so, we must also remember to honour their spirit as well. Because it remains alive within hearts and minds everyone who loved that person.
In celebration of that ongoing sense of spirit, for every other day of the year, we may be best to honour lost loved ones by enjoying our lives so much, that our living satisfies both our spirit and theirs. After all it wasn’t really ever just our lives they died to protect. What they were really protecting was all of the happiness we were going to fill those lives up with.
Are we ready to do our duty? Their price was the ultimate. Let us remember that more consciously, and let us honour the fallen by creating lives we are truly grateful to be living.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.