You have experienced enough of life to understand that all things are transitory. That which makes you miserable slowly goes away and that which hearten you, goes away…perhaps a little too quickly. Yet the one thing you never prepare yourself for, and what sane person would, is for the passing of a loved one. Aren’t people supposed to be the one constant thing? You may detest them, argue with them, shy away from them… but aren’t they supposed to be around at the turn of dawn?
So when they leave behind their bodies, mere empty cavities, more asleep and less lifeless, how do you convince yourself that their chest is really not rising with an intake of breath? That the family gathered around is not crying senselessly? That friends who talk of the goodness of the departed are really dedicating a eulogy?
It has taken me over a fortnight to acknowledge that my Grandma is really gone. It isn’t just the thought of never having her check out my new dresses or meet any more of my friends that bothers me. It is that I can’t recall what the last thing I said to her was. That is what the passing away of someone you love to bits does to you. Makes you regret. That you didn’t have one final chance to do good for her.
But more than that, it makes you insane at the thought that you haven’t shed a tear yet. Not because you are plastic inside, but because the loss hasn’t set in – you feel her, she’s not lost to you. Yet when I pick up my phone and look at her number in my dial-list, I know I could keep ringing her, keep hearing her dial-tone, but never hear her voice again saying, “I love you, baby”.
They tell you that the passage of time makes it easier. What they don’t tell you is that it never fills the void. You see her room, her wardrobe, her medicine box – which she carried around like her most priced possession, and which didn’t save her in the end – and you know she will never be there to touch any of it again. So you do the only thing you know to do: salvage her – from old photographs, from childhood stories her sister will tell you, from your memories of when she would wink at you taking away the veggies from your plate and letting you have her share of the fish.
She was after all your Grandma. Never a harsh word spoken to you, always the smile, the pampering, the love given. How do you come to terms with losing that?