Collateral Beauty

You know when you are getting to know someone new there's always something that defines that person, right? I remember a few years ago when I met this intriguing guy, there was something about him that captivated me and I wondered what? why he was so special? so knowledgeable? so alive? As time passed, he finally opened up to me and told me that his dad was dead. That's when I finally understood what made him so outstanding, the pain.

I was madly in love and I wanted to be part of his world and be around him all the time, his energy was contagious. How did he become like that? How did pain make him so interesting? I always wondered until it happened to me. For me, I don't know which death defined me as a person, which grief made me change. I can only say that I am not the same person and sometimes I miss that person. Unlike him, pain damaged my soul...I become bitter and empty, I don't have the same passion for life because life deceived me. 

I used to think that only old people died until my lovely friend full of life died when she was sixteen. How can you die when you are only sixteen? How can you not finish high school? How can you not experience love? How can not experience birth? How?

After her tragedy and several other misfortune, I couldn't be the same. Every year someone died, it was either a distance aunt suffering from malaria or a young person in a car accident, that clearly summarizes Angolans mortality rate. The more people you know the more deaths you will be affected by, that's the only thing death taught me. I decided that I didn't want to get attach to people, in order to not feel anything when they are gone. The more people I knew, the more broken I would become one day.

I can say that I am very social and I am always open to bond with people and create long relationships. I have traveled around this world and I am blessed to have met beautiful people and feel their warmth but if the number of people I have met in this life is proportional to the amount of pain I will endure, I rather not meet any more people. I am done! I can't go through that anymore, I just can't. I can't live my life as memory holder, just remembering moments and feelings I have shared with those people and not be able to touch or talk to them. I refuse!

I struggled to understand death, but I had to in order to be able to survive sorrow. I came up with this theory that there's a limit to kindness and evilness. If you are good and you have done all your actions with a grace you need to leave this world peacefully. If you are cruel and you have lost your sense of humanity and your malice is so profound, it's your time too...It made sense for me.

Last week I was watching this movie called Collateral Beauty, it stars Will Smith and it's about him recovering from his daughter's death. You know how Will Smith makes everything more dramatic and sad so I was ready to share some tears. The message within the movie was intended to introduce an escape for people who are suffering loss. There's a place that you can be safe if you are able to find it, it's called collateral beauty. Collateral beauty is the ability to see and wish for beautiful things after suffering from the loss of a loved one. When you are living with the pain you can't fully see things clear, you have an overdose of agony, and you fail to realize that before the darkness there was once beauty and love so strong that tragedy can't erase. The beauty is that love surpasses all and you can still feel it even after the person is gone. 

That guy saw collateral beauty in his dad's death and he continued to live his life to the fullest. It was not the pain that emotionally attracted me towards him it was his strength and optimism towards life. I remember that he told me that he chose not to be miserable because he only remembered his dad smiling and he had to continue living by his dad's legacy. It finally hit me that it's not about reaching a level of kindness but about happiness. People who are carefree and happy have managed to understand life and they are ready for the next step.

I will not give up on meeting people and experience love and friendship. I am not afraid of the pain anymore because I know that the feeling will remain in my heart. Collateral beauty is a gift that our deceased loved ones left us with, we are able to still think about that person, remember them, talk about them and that's powerful. When you can see love where darkness used to reside you have managed to understand life. I finally understood that life is a classroom, death is a teacher and love is a reward.

Return If Possible

Raúl Fragoso - November 2005
Ilva Abilio - February 2007
Demetrio - March 2016
Nilson - November 2016
JP - March 2017

Lunga Noélia Izata

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