an open letter to myself by eliza segiet
Author: ELIZA SEGIET Translated by : J.N.
Today we rarely write letters the way we used to. It was something extraordinary. Stationary, an envelope, a stamp, a mailbox and the time of waiting for a response. Now, thanks to technology, the world has shrunk to fast news. Even if a mistake creeps in, almost nobody cares about it anymore. Maybe there is still a small group who pays attention to the details. But the pace of life does not inspire literary correctness. Maybe we should try writing letters to ourselves instead of to someone else? Nobody will read it but us, nobody will criticize. No hatred is the key!
How would I like to start my letter? Maybe: Dear Eliza, maybe Beloved, or maybe just Eliza?
It does not matter! It is not important at all.
I have not had time to take care of myself for a long time. Always needed by someone, always available to someone. I began to wonder if anyone would ever notice it. I know they won’t. Good is invisible!
But if you can’t do bad, perhaps you should do good. Now I know that we do everything in life for ourselves, for our own well-being. After all, you can always pretend that you do not see someone else’s needs, but you would feel bad rejecting a person who needs your help.
There are people who, without the help of others, would probably not be able to come to terms with themselves. My friend had a very sick, infirm mother suffering from Alzheimer’s. She was bedridden and contactless for years, but still loved. Theoretically, my friend could have placed her in an institution, where she would have constant care. And yes, she did so, but after two days she took her mother back home. Why? She knew that even if her mother had a very hard time in her youth, she would never give her away. She struggled with adversities herself, but she would feel bad, as if till the last days of her mother’s life, she would not give her a sense of peace, warmth and love. Even though it was hard for her, she gave her mother all of herself until the end. In fact, almost until the last moment, her mother could feel her daughter’s care. Almost, because at the end of her life, in a hospital room, she was all alone plugged to a respirator, and my friend in another room – being administered oxygen.
The messages she sent me were shocking. Then I realized that these short text messages can be a testimony of life and death. One of them sent chills down my spine: Mom died last night, I am still being administered oxygen and I keep fighting. The funeral may be in three weeks. I hope to be out by then. I didn’t know what to respond … I responded: I am really sorry. Stay strong! I know that it is little, far too little, but I did not want to tire her and force a person connected to oxygen to answer any questions. The next text message from her was even more shocking: Mom is waiting for her funeral in a refrigerator. I don’t know if I will be able to attend the funeral, I have to be administered oxygen for now. Mom wasn’t vaccinated. Now I am choosing flowers and a coffin, all remotely.
The word refrigerator spoke to me with double strength. I was thinking about how my friend felt knowing that she could not even get to her beloved mother and say goodbye … How could she feel not knowing if she would be able to lead her mother on her last journey?
Are long letters needed? I do not know, they probably have already gone down in the history of epistolography. Now it’s time for quick, meaningful information.
Sometimes good, sometimes tragic, like the correspondence with my friend.
I think that the most important thing is to have someone to write to, to have someone to take care of, to have someone to wait for. The world has become impoverished. The momentum does not let it stop. Whatever happens, it is taken care of quickly, faster, done.
Memories do not gain momentum and the longing for time that will never come back is over. It keeps happening, it still hurts and it keeps coming back. Although it may be a good thing that memory is part of our existence. As long as it exists, we must not forget that somewhere, someone may need our support. As long as there is memory, there is life. By losing it, we are losing ourselves in a way, but we should remain in someone else’s memory. A healthy person will not erase the past completely and will even reminisce bad moments one day. After all, we are wedded to reason.
It is time for a conclusion. It is time to think about what you can do for yourself, for your loved ones, for the world. What can be done to get good news more often. Even if short, but good. Maybe you need to engrave on metal or wood: Live and enjoy life. Do not just look, but see!
Eliza Segiet graduated with a Master's Degree in Philosophy, completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Arts and Literature at Jagiellonian University. Author’s poems Questions and Sea of Mists won the title of the International Publication of the Year 2017 and 2018 in Spillwords Press. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2019. Nominated for the iWoman Global Awards. Laureate Naji Naaman Literary Prize 2020. Laureate International Award Paragon of Hope (2020). Laureate World Award 2020 "Cesar Vallejo" for Literary Excellence. Laureate of the Special Jury Sahitto International Award 2021 Author's works can be found in anthologies and literary magazines worldwide.
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