General · Thoughts

Reading to Cope

Hello, guys!

This time, I come to you with a very difficult and personal subject. As fellow book lovers, I am sure you understand how much a book can help you in your everyday life. From something so simple as helping you learn something new to being the one thing that remains constant in your chaotic world. Books are the undeniably faithful companions or, as John Green says, the “ultimate Dumpees.” 

I really wanted to touch this subject and expand it because I have recently been reminded of just how important books are in my life. And this is where I get personal which is not really something I thought I would do often in this blog. But when there is this monumental thing you want to share, it just has to be written.

You see, I am a very lucky person because tragedy has kept its hands away from my life, for the most part. I have been blessed with a happy life, a happy childhood, a happy home… The loses that have come near me or my loved ones I suffered  because of them, and not because had lost someone. I am infinitely grateful that my life has been shielded away from the powerful and devastating blow of tragedy. Until now.

Exactly one month ago, I had to say goodbye to my dog. And perhaps you’re thinking ‘Oh, my God… I thought it was going to be something worse,” but the thing is… It is something worse. In my world, this loss is the worst thing that could ever happen to me, short of losing my parents. My dog, a beautiful Schnauzer girl called Tequila, was my absolute everything. She came into my life a couple of months before I turned 9 years old. We were childhood buddies, mischief accomplices, late-night companions and just best friends. She watched me grow from a lanky, awkward little girl to a (still awkward) young adult with a college degree and a job. She gave me 15 and a half beautiful years filled with laughter, tears, a dash of frustration and infinite love. Every single person that knows me is painfully aware of just how in love with my dog I was, so much so that it became an intricate part of my identity.

Like, if I were to have a cheat sheet to introduce myself, it would basically read:

Natalia.

  • Awkward and shy
  • Major bibliophile
  • Loves her dog more than anything

And then, in a blink of an eye, I lost a huge part of myself. I can’t truly complain because I had a whole lifetime with her, but forever is not enough when you love someone with all your heart. So, after she passed away, I fell into despair. Into this existential crisis where I asked myself over and over (and I still do) “who am I without her?” I felt so lost. I struggled to stay strong because my parents were also mourning. We all still are, since she was just so loved. But even though I stay strong and keep my head up, the lingering question remains and eats me alive when I let my guard down. But amongst all this chaos that surrounds my thoughts, there is a moment of absolute peace. And that moment is when I grab my book and get lost in its pages.

For the time I am reading, I can focus on something other than my pain. I can let go of the knot in my stomach and the hole in my heart. They don’t disappear, the burden just feels lighter for a while. This got me thinking about the incredible power that books hold. It’s not just a way to keep yourself busy or to be more “intellectual” or cool. Books can quite literally heal you and lift you up when you think there is no way out. Perhaps they can’t erase everything, perhaps they can’t get rid of the pain. But they make it easier and easing up the burden of grief and sorrow can make all the difference between giving up or pushing forward.

So I guess this is a little ode to books, for allowing me to seek solace within their pages and easing just a little the pain in my heart. They are my ultimate medicine, and I am forever grateful for the stories I am able to find comfort in.

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2 thoughts on “Reading to Cope

  1. The loss of a pet can be devastating. Perhaps your dear Tequila was in your life to show you what it is like to love unconditionally. I am now grieving my darling mother, my best friend for all my 66 years. The pain is sometimes unbearable. I have been focused so much on writing (my blog, my book, letters, Facebook, etc.) that I had forgotten how reading can be a salve. Thank you, Nat, for reminding me!

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    1. Thank you for your words, Hillary! I am deeply sorry for your loss. And I agree with you, these people or beings that mean just so much to us certainly come into our lives to teach us about unconditional love. And I’m sure your mom is looking out for you, just as I feel my Tequila is, wherever they may be.
      Writing is also such great therapy! I think in my case, I have focused so much on reading, I forgot that writing can help immensely as well.

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