To hold something; someone in your arms. Someone that you really care about as they slip off this mortal coil. That is one of the most terrible things I have ever experienced. Everyone fears death. Even if they say they don't, they do. No one wants to think about what comes after. Where will I go? What will I be? Can I still be me if I'm just a spirit? If you believe in reincarnation, will the thing I come back as be better than this? I hope I was a good person, but can I ever really know until my next life if I was? It's questions like these that pop up in your mind as you hold on to the one you love, trying desperately to keep them here. But even the power of love can't save them from death.
After they are gone you also hold on to the memory of them, often a little too tightly. You loved them, it's not so easy to let them go. You hold a space for them in your heart. How will you survive without them in the physical sense? You never thought about it and now they are gone.
It's not fair. Life's not fair and I don't understand why. I don't care that it makes me sound whiney. It's not fair! Why was the world built this way? Such extreme opposites. Highs and lows. It wears on your very soul. That's why you have to hold a place in your heart for that person that you loved and lost. If only to have something to hold on to. It helps you have something to cling to when this world gets too hard, as it often does. On a planet with 7 billion people competing for not enough resources, it has to be difficult. There's no other way. Only the strong survive.
The strong are those that have something of hope to hold on to. Something to hold on to in the bitter winter when you're freezing to death because the fire has gone out, the food has run out and there are not enough layers of clothing and blankets to keep out the bitter cold. The thought of the one you loved, held in a sacred space; the thought of them reminds you of what's worth living for and helps to comfort you during the hardship. It gives you the motivation to keep fighting. Always keep fighting because that's what they would have wanted. They wouldn't have wanted you to follow after them into the beyond. They'd want you to live. To experience all the joys they would never get to, so if you do happen to meet again in another life, the afterlife, whenever it is that your paths cross again, you could tell them about how you lived.
They'd sit back, prop their feet on the coffee table and settle into the comfy couch to listen to the stories of your life's experiences. The food you ate, the other people and things you loved, what passions you discovered after they were gone. The people you met as you traveled the globe, the wonders that you beheld with your eyes, delectable, tantalizing tastes and smells of things you'd never experienced before. Everything. And they would be happy for you. Of course, a little jealous that it wasn't them there by your side, but happy that you got to do it for the both of you. That at least one of you got to live. That's what I truly believe.
That's what I think of when you hold on to someone. What I thought of when I lost my husband and my son. How I held them as their last breaths were exhaled and the left me here. Alone. In the bitter cold and never-ending darkness. I survived the winter, that I did. They gave me the strength to. I'll admit I did some things I'm not especially proud of, but I did what I had to. To survive. David and I had talked about it after Thomas was born. We knew the winter would be bad. What that meant for our family. As the nights began to grow longer and the days shorter, we discussed what that line of our wedding vows meant. To have and to hold. What that meant for each of us and what it meant if we didn't have the other to hold on to any longer. David was mine and I his, we had each other in every sense of the word. Had each other's backs in their endeavors, to share our lives with each other the sorrows and joys, and to know each other intimately. That's what it meant to us. I stand by that. It's why I stayed even though I had the opportunity to leave. I wouldn't. He was mine to have and to hold and I did. Until death did us part.