Uganda Diaries

Frantically searching for an important document, I rummaged through all my papers up and down the Study. My mind can’t be trusted with anything anymore! My memory is shot. I exhausted myself and all my options. Over a cup of tea, I thought about all the places I had not looked through. A box full of Saagar’s books and diaries. I never read through any of his personal stuff. But that day, before I knew it, I had read all his musings from his travels to Uganda with a friend. They were there for 2 weeks to help at a local school supported by their College.

It seems when he was struggling, he wrote. Like me. He wrote exactly as he spoke, leaving some words half said and stretching out the first letter of unspeakable words. His diary was reading itself to me in his voice. I felt like he was in the room. I was an intruder. It wasn’t my place to read it. It was personal to him. But it was also my conduit to him even if it was written 27 months prior to Day 0.

It was clear that the boys were totally unprepared for the massive change. This is the note from his last day there.

30/7/2012. 2300 hrs.

“Never before have I been able to say the words “I want my mommy!” with as much certainty as now. This sucks ass. I feel like such a pathetic little shit. I hope missing Mother is no more than a manifestation of homesickness.”

A deep feeling. Then a judgement. Then an admonishment and then a substitution. A minimization. A classic example of a young man being brutally unkind to himself even though he is suffering. Being a ‘man’. Not allowing for any fragility even in the face of a harsh reality.

Fact: He missed me. Thinking of me brought him comfort. I have evidence.

How could I ever doubt that? By judging myself too critically. Why do we do this to ourselves?

That was a beautiful gift from you to me on your birthday my son. 25th birthday! Bless you my love.  

Day 865

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Work is good.
Ikebana is beautiful.
Friends are lovely.
The weather is not bad.
The volunteering is going well.
Meditations are peaceful.
Writing is fun.
Si is a blessing.
Family is great.
Smiles and laughter are coming back.
Music is returning.
Good things are happening.
Saagar’s friends are sweet.
Energetically, things feel positive.
All is well.

But I miss him.
I miss him to death. It kills me.
I miss his smile, his hugs, his smell, his voice, his jokes, his brilliance, his light.
I miss the way he made me feel.
I miss what we had and what we could have had.
I miss the cup of tea he would sometimes make for me.
I miss everything about him. I wonder if he knows how much. Our texts, our conversations, out silent communications, our shopping sprees, our travels… I miss them all. Even though he is always present, I miss him like hell. Nothing seems to lessen the missing. It is always there, like an unbearable part of me. The wretched missing and me are incurably, painfully one.

Day 844

Maybe he has a nice little flat to himself up there, with a high ceiling, big windows and an airy verandah, properly kitted out with a fancy drum kit, a ping-pong table and a cricket pitch nearby. Maybe he hangs out with his new friends and they talk about ‘stuff’ and go to the gym together. They possibly do all kinds of accents and have a good laugh. Maybe they have fancy dress  parties too. Maybe he cooks meatball curry for them and they tell each other stories about their time on Earth.

Maybe he sometimes looks down at his house that is now like a shrine filled with flowers and candles, his Mum’s eyes now lustreless, some of his socks and t-shirts that she pretends to borrow from him, his fine black Sharpie pen in her bag along with a random Arabic worksheet of his from University, Milkshake fast asleep against his favourite rectangular blue floral cushion from Ikea. Maybe he can also hear the deep haunting silence.

Maybe he remembers what happened that day. Maybe he regrets it. Maybe he visits and revisits. Maybe he is right here, right now.