Whom Do You Miss the Most?

Reflections of a Blog Post, an Epic, and Parenthood

the following text rolled through my Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed:

Whom do you miss the most? A difficult question. I love my wife, and she’s my best friend. We understand our foibles, we share our humour, we have opinions that are similar enough so we feel comfortable with each other, and different enough so we have things to discuss. I don’t miss her because she’s not gone. Perhaps I miss the shadow people, the imaginary friends and family I didn’t have. Do you ever get that feeling that things are perhaps not quite right buy you can’t say what’s wrong? That feeling when you miss a soulmate and you wonder: is it my fault? What makes this so bloody hard for me? I mean, I’m lucky: I found a soulmate. Is there just one? Can there be friends that feel like lost halves? Are the more people to tag team through life, having each other’s back, joyous, boisterous, gregarious, with that wordless understanding? I was so lucky to find my soulmate as a teenager: if we’re ever separated by that pearly gate, can we turn around and will we ever be that lucky? I fear I’m a melancholy person, and a loner. Happy to be alone, and still missing something, sad about something, not knowing what it is.

Alex’s post came within days of completing a reading Herbert Mason’s Gilgamesh. Below is a passage that mirror’s Alex’s lament:

For being human holds special grief
Of privacy within the universe
That yearns and waits to be retouched
By someone who can take away
The memory of death
Gilgamesh (translation Herbert Mason)

I think to the birth of my children, each of them. Within moments of each of their births, I recall my mind performing a strange alchemy on my memories. These small humans, fragile, voiceless, unknown began to work their way into my memories. In a way, I had always been a father. My memories of childhood friends began including the reality that I had a child then children.

I think to the similar feelings and reality of disassociation that I now experience. My children have begun their scattering. On a lucky week, I’ll hear from each of them. And more than ever, they dwell in the house of tomorrow, which [I] cannot visit, not even in [my] dreams. I wrote of this anguish in .

And my personal lament is not limited to my children. I have work friends, game friends, school friends, online friends, and other groups of friends. But these friends live in my parceled fields of my life.

Some intersect many parcels. I work with someone whom I went to high school with, our kids grew up together, we’ve played games together, they’ve been there with me during my divorce, and we’ve shared many meals together; yet even this has its complicated boundaries and barriers.

My employer pays me in United States dollars for my mental and emotional energy; And after those portions of the day, I have spent my Self. I have little remaining to share with other capitalized zombies. What does the soul impoverished bring to communion?

In my latest reading of Gilgamesh, I look to Utnapishtim—immortal survivor of the Great Flood; forever isolated and witness to the death of all of humanity. The gods—forces of the world—had separated Utnapishtim from humanity. And in this story, Utnapishtim’s has a spouse, but even then there’s a loneliness of these two folk. Alone on the other side of the world ocean.

Gilgamesh found a completeness in Enkidu; a companion representing the natural order. I, my self Gilgamesh, know not of the natural order, only that what I now have is not that.

A question for myself, have I already lost my Enkidu? Am I seeking their restoration? Or have I yet to meet my Enkidu? Am I Gilgamesh in my hubris as unrivaled king? Or am I Gilgamesh now aware of both my mortality and the death of a natural order? Have I returned to the city, seeking oblivion as I ask of those that know Enkidu?

I don’t yet know.

But to answer the question, who do I miss the most? My children. Their birth poured into all of my memories, soaking my being with their presence. Nourishing the very roots of my soul. And they continue this alchemy even as they build their house of tomorrow.