It’s almost 2.30am and sleep still evades me. I’ve cooked a bowl of instant noodles (I don’t eat them usually but tonight, I felt like I needed to cook something really quickly) hoping that I’ll be sleepy once I’m full but instead my eyes are still wide awake.
I guess tonight is one of those nights when I feel much more lonely than other nights. I feel lonely from the lack of companionship. No matter how many times I’ve done this (almost two years now!), I really cannot get used to turning in for the night alone.
I still crave and prefer the feeling of having someone by my side and being able to exchange final words for the day with them. Those words exchanged right before falling asleep are usually nothing important. It can be as minute as ‘Can you pass me the pillow from your side?‘, ‘Can you put my handphone over there?’, ‘Have you set the alarm?’ or ‘Okay okay no more talking. Let’s sleep!’ but it’s truly comforting to hear and utter them anyway.
As I reflect on this concept of living alone, I’m fully aware that I’m not the only one in this position. I have many coursemates who are living alone as well and this particular part of Seoul where I’m staying has the highest rates of single-person households. That knowledge should technically soothe my loneliness. People always say that knowing someone else out there could be experiencing the same things you do usually refocuses the issue away from yourself so that you will feel less troubled over it.
Yet, it still does not stop me from feeling lonely every night. It also still does not stop me from missing home and the people there. When it comes to missing people, there’s never been a night since my arrival in Seoul that I’ve gone to sleep without my heart aching for my family and friends.
All these led me to ask myself another question: How would it feel if the people I love were to leave this world permanently?
My parents who have always been there for me. My siblings. My bffs whom I have experienced a lot of life together and in recent times, R whom I also spend a lot of time as well as share things with.
For now I still have the assurance that I’ll get to hear from them again. It’s just a matter of picking up the phone to call, text or meet them. But there will be a time when I won’t ever get to hear their voices nor be able to spend time with them no matter how much I miss him or her. There will be a time when my phone would not beep indicating I have a text coming in from them nor would I be looking for their names on my handphone so that I could send them a message either on WhatsApp, Instagram DM or even Facebook. That perhaps the next time we meet will be in the afterlife, by His mercy.
That sentence ‘Let’s meet each other again in Jannah‘ that we sometimes utter to a person when we part due to various reasons could be light on the tongue but laden with far deeper meanings. It entails a future whose length of time is unknown to us. It entails a reality and journey whose nature we are unsure of before we eventually reach its destination.
So when I reflect on the reality that there will be a time when I’ll part with my loved ones, I really pray that Allah allows us to meet again in Jannah and that He eases our path to reach that coveted destination.
Lastly, I pray that I always remember to embrace the present and the people I have in my life right now. Life is really too short to hold on to your ego, grievances, anger or whatever negative feelings you might have that could result from your interaction with your loved ones. As I think back to times when I might be angry with a family member or friend, I find that it’s always easy to respond either by snapping at them or giving them the cold treatment in such situation.
But life isn’t permanent. Death and separation can occur at any point in time. Time isn’t on our side even though we always deceive ourselves that it is. Everyday that passes is a day less with the people in your life. May I always remember to appreciate and embrace the presence of the people I have today. Amin.