My Essence Has Left the Building

I’ve woken up from the anaesthetic to find something deep inside me has been surgically removed. Ripped out of me, without an NHS consent form.

Something, somewhere in the middle of my chest, amongst my organs, muscles, fat and circulating blood. I can feel it. I can feel the gap, the space where it used to be. It’s close to my lungs, I think, or is it just that when I breathe deeply, I can more easily feel where it was?

There’s definitely something in me that’s not there now. Some vital organ, some biological function, although we never learnt its name in CSE Biology classes (perhaps it was only on the O’ Level syllabus?) it’s definitely not there anymore.

Seriously, I kid you not. Whatever it is, it’s left the building.

And its loss, the space, the void where it used to be is ever present.

Sure, I can choose to ignore it, distract myself with mundanity, or just ‘get on with life’, but if I stop, even just for a second, I can feel the hole, feel the breeze blowing through.

It’s like watching a TV series about to draw to a climax and the recording stops abruptly. Like making a jigsaw and when you get to the end, some vital, last few remaining pieces are missing. Like a book with the final chapter missing, like a long laboured script you’ve been working on and it fails to save. Like I can imagine an amputee must feel.

I remember in Week 1, a day or so after they died, holding my hand up in front of me and looking at my palm. I’m alive, I thought. This podgy, almost square hand, this wrinkled, poor example of a human hand – is alive, actually alive. Later in Week 2, the day before their funeral) we touched Izzy and Beth’s hands, under the protective blankets and wraps of the Medico Legal Centre, their home when we brought them home from Vietnam.

In the west of Tokyo there is a park called Yoyogi Park. In Yoyogi Park there is a long, wide and winding gravel walkway to a Shinto shrine, the Meiji Shrine.


Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Now, in Week 36, I went there, knowing that I’d feel the breeze blowing through the hole in my soul. I needed to go. I stood on the gravel and cried and looked at the sky.



I learnt the Shinto water cleansing ritual. And cried.

I found the Nai-en garden and sat and looked at the ornamental pond, as the morning rain evaporated in the afternoon sun. And I cried.


Nai-en garden shelter



My identity is lost and not found. How I define myself, My Essence. Ergo, my ego.

Maybe its name is Soul?


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