An Open Letter to Myself by Raisa Melnikova
Hello my darling.
It’s time to write you a letter. Forgive me, my dear, that I have postponed this process for a long time because of vain life, but this moment has come. Knowing your thoughts, I have so much to tell you.
And most importantly, always remember that I love you. Despite all your shortcomings and mistakes made in life, know that I am proud of you. You did not disgrace your family, and your parents, looking from heaven, would confirm my words. Father bequeathed to bear the name of his family with dignity and you did not disappoint him. Everything that you have achieved thanks to your own efforts. Striving for moral values did not allow you to surround yourself with material wealth, but this does not prevent you from being happy. I am glad that over the years you are convinced of the fragility of the material world.
The present flickers in moments, more and more filling the vessel of the past, but that vessel cannot grow, it will someday be filled to the brim, and you will face inevitability – death. How many days are left ahead, what will upset, what will please – the mortal does not know, perhaps this is good.
You know the words of the poet of the “golden age” of Roman literature, Quintus Horace Flaccus, who claims that the same night awaits people. Everyone will have to embark on the path of death. Poets at all times thought about the finiteness of human life. And the principle “Memento mori” means that one should not only remember about death, but also assume responsibility for one’s actions in front of others and oneself, since one will have to answer before the Almighty for how she lived in this world.
Death is a great mystery, into which philosophers and poets, religious leaders and mystics tried to penetrate, but so far no one has been given to solve this riddle. For those who have died can no longer tell anything. At this time, when friends, familiar talented people, close in spirit, leave one by one, in the direction of thought you increasingly think about the inevitability of death. You wonder why? They were full of energy, they still had so many ideas, unfinished business. You exclaim bitterly: “What an injustice!”
My dear, in the face of death, all values are crumbling. A person leaves in the earthly world everything that was dear to him, and as he came into this world naked, he leaves it, but leaves with a soul enriched with the experience of life. When you think about death, you should understand that it doesn’t matter if you die sooner or later, it is important how you meet death. And one must prepare for death more thoroughly than for anything else. Continuing this thought, I am not afraid to say that all life is a preparation for death, and each of us will sooner or later meet face to face with it. Everything is predetermined from the very birth: man is mortal. Death stops living and life ends.
The world of the dead is silent and powerless, but they affect the world of the living. In this regard, the notion that the dead are alive while they visit their graves has taken root in our minds. And now you cannot even go to the place where your parents are buried, and you constantly reproach yourself for this. There is no need to suffer. The pandemic will end and quarantine restrictions will be lifted. You will have time to visit the graves and complete the necessary procedures.
When a difficult moment of loss of a loved one comes, they usually say: “He left.” And this means that we do not say goodbye to him forever, we affirm that the beloved remains to live in our heart, in memory, in spiritual wills, in the deeds begun by him, which must be continued alive. Eternal life does not exist: “Every grave is the end of the earth” – wrote Joseph Brodsky. Death cannot be deceived. In Homer’s Iliad, death is personified by the terrible Thanatos, the brother of the sleep god Hypnos, who lives at the end of the earth, and he is eternal. Only once, Thanatos was deceived by Sisyphus, who chained the captive to the rock. But the god of war, Ares, freed Thanatos.
And this is symbolic. Only when faced with death, a person realizes that what matters in life is what he did while existing on earth. He comes to the conclusion that life and death are inseparable from one another. And any life is integrated into death, and death, this is not a border, but fullness and perfection, into which a person is immersed. The connection between life and death exists all the time and stretches throughout the entire human life.
Man is a small grain of sand in a vast immeasurable space and incalculable time; on earth he not only lives, but fights, resists, wins and losses. And, you have experienced all this on your own experience. And you, like every living person, have a question, why do you exist in this world, what is the meaning of existence, inseparable from the meaning of death.
You often think and doubt how little you have managed to accomplish in your life, you argue what matters will remain after you on earth. And rightly so, you should hurry to complete your plan. For in your youth you spent precious time on empty entertainment. Hurry up to be in time.
“A person dies, his soul, not subject to destruction, slips away and lives a different life. But if the deceased was an artist, if he hid his life in sounds, colors or words, his soul is still the same, alive both for the earth and for humanity … “- wrote Valery Bryusov, Russian poet and prose writer, playwright , translator, literary critic, one of the founders of Russian symbolism. And let these words be a support for you in your work.
Someday everything perishes, instead of what it was, a new one appears. Birth follows death. The meaning of life gives meaning to death. We humans are mortal. And you need to remember that everyone is destined to die, and in order to die with dignity, you must also live with dignity. If during life it is difficult to achieve equality, justice and freedom, then death equalizes everyone. But while you are alive, show more sensitivity and love for others, be more indulgent to the shortcomings of people – not everyone is able to be responsible for their deeds and actions.
You have chosen your path, and it has not always been easy. But this is your way, your ordeals and your happiness. Be happy, and every morning, when I wake up, I wish you to feel happiness because you live and wait for the moment when, after drinking a cup of coffee, you can sit down at your desk and write.
I hug you, dear.
November 15, 2021
Raisa Melnikova is a poet, prose writer, essayist, publicist, translator. Lives in Vilnius, Lithuania. Master of Education. Earlier her 20 books were published in Lithuanian. She runs a theater studio, writes scripts for performances. She is a member of the International Writers' Unions: ISP (International Union of Writers) and SPSA (Union of Writers of North America), is a member of the International Association of Writers and Publicists MAPP, an association of Russian writers and artists. Raisa Melnikova's articles are published in newspapers, she makes translations. Her poems were published in almanacs of Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Israel, India, the USA. The poet's poems were also translated into other languages. Since 2018, her 6 collections of poems have been published in Vilnius. Prize-winner of the festival in Bulgaria, laureate of the international festival "Symphony of Poetry Without Borders". She was awarded with many diplomas and medals.
©All Rights Reserved by Torkito Tarjoni