An Old Grief


Note: It seems I started writing this back in April but never finished it. I am now posting it as it is. It doesn’t “end” well and I certainly look bad. But do I need to explain how much I loved her and despite “waiting for it”, I didn’t want it to actually happen? All I know is that there’s a big hole in my heart.

I caressed the worn green scarf. It never left her head except when it needed to be washed. Now it’s washed but it would never be on her head again. I never fold laundry. Today, I only did it on the request of my mother. There wasn’t anything else to do either. Little did I know that I would come across her things, and the grief would pour out from my eyes.

She hasn’t been present physically the last eighteen days. She had been going mentally as well for a while. But it doesn’t beat the living together for 26 years.

She had been in the hospital for more than two weeks. Non responsive. Finally, they decided to bring her home. Mentally, she seemed to be gone but this meant we could have her closer by physically.

That Sunday morning, she did come home. She came home one last time to be taken away forever.

An hour into the death, the house started to fill up. Word spread through and on Facebook.

After two days, everyone had pictures to update or stories to share. Stories of her. And no matter how much I racked my brain, I couldn’t remember the last time I was with her.

I do remember her bad mood swings though. She was angry at me not taking her out. But I was glad that she at least recognized me.

The heart grieves but after the funeral, the tears only well up. They don’t come.

Obviously, says the brain. You had already written her off. You had said your goodbye. You were just waiting for the final day, the final breath. You had started carrying your phone everywhere, even the bathroom, in case you got the call. You didn’t want to miss it. So obviously, why are you grieving now. You were waiting for her to die. And now she is, so rejoice.

No, no. No!

Guilt washes over me. Anguished I am. I can’t deny it. I had been waiting.

Cold Feet


All day my feet were dead cold.

It was the day my grandfather passed away. The one where I was woken up to be given this news.

I couldn’t believe he was gone.

I went to his place. I spent the entire day there. I saw him sleeping the eternal sleep, wrapped up in white sheets, back from the hospital.

I listened to my grandmother lamenting that he had left her all alone. I heard everyone exclaim how he had been just fine; two weeks, last night, an hour ago. They bathed him and wrapped him. He looked serene and beautiful as always. But unlike always, he wouldn’t say anything.

All I could do was stare at him from the corner of my eye, while reading the Arabic prayer from the piece of paper in my hand.

Near evening, when they took him to his final resting place, I hugged my mom, my aunt, my sister – told them it’d be okay. Hugged a lot of other ladies; heard them tell me it’d be okay.

I still couldn’t believe he was gone.

And all day, my feet were dead cold. Just like his.

Five Years


I came home from my (two years late) A-level graduation ceremony and proudly showed him my medal.

He was delighted, and immediately fished out some cash from under his pillow (where he generally kept it) as a token of his love and appreciation.

Although he wasn’t well, when I told him I wanted to take a picture with him to commemorate the day, he insisted on getting up and sitting with me for it.

It’s only been 5 years. It’s already been 5 years.

Miss you, grand father.

 

Big Day


Something crashed outside loudly and the hefty wind rattled her window as well. It lit up with flashes and the sound of thunder rolled in a few seconds later. This was followed by a scream that was soon lost in the patter of rain.

She cracked one eye open.

It sounds like the world’s ending, she thought.

She was already cozy in bed and half-asleep. She had a big day tomorrow.

Little did she know there would be no tomorrow.

Guardian Angel


Sometimes, all she had to do was wish for it. Wish for it and think about it and it would happen.

Just look at Billy sprawled on the pavement near her. Thank you my guardian angel, she thought. Now he’d obviously think twice about yanking any little girl’s pigtails. If he ever got up again, that is.

For some reason, it looked to her as if Billy would now forever be asleep.

Oh, well. Good riddance. He had begun to annoy her a lot.

With that, she skipped on towards home, looking forward to her spaghetti supper that her mom had promised her.

Secret


“I see dead people,” he said.

This was the first time he had said it out loud. He just hoped she didn’t think he was crazy. But he didn’t think she would. He had only shared his deepest secret with her because he felt a connection with her; like he had never felt before.

She looked right into his eyes and took his hand, so that he could see – know – that she didn’t think him crazy. Not at all. In fact, she thought they were perfect for each other. She would just hold off telling him her secret for a little while longer, though.

And why not? After all, she had all the time of the afterlife.

corpse-bride

Slippers


The other day I observed my grandmother pushing her slippers to a side using her walking stick. This brought up a memory, a faint image, from a time long gone, of my grandfather doing the same.

That’s when I realized I hadn’t thought about him in a while. Which saddened me more.

Out of sight, out of mind, huh? Except, he’s not really gone. He’s all around us in his absence. He’s all around me in his absence.

With some of the things going on in my life, I really wish that he had been here. Maybe he would have been sure.

In fact, I’m sure he would have been sure.

I remember how he used to ask me to pass him something and then say “I have really long hands.”

It was always funny when he said it.

We Are The Dead


Last night, I said:

Saying you’ve lost hope and won’t come out in support for such causes is equal to saying they have won.

(Yes, I just quoted myself!) And then, I ‘read’ this:

O’Brien went on:

“[We] cannot be wiped out because it is not an organization in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible. You will never have anything to sustain you, except the idea. You will get no comradeship and no encouragement. When finally you are caught, you will get no help…You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess, and then you will die. Those are the only results that you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our own lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future. We shall take part in it as handfuls of dust and splinters of bone. But how far away that future may be, there is no knowing. It might be a thousand years. At present nothing is possible except to extend the area of sanity little by little. We cannot act collectively. We can only spread our knowledge outwards from individual to individual, generation after generation…In the face of [all this] there is no other way.”

George Orwell, 1984

And suddenly, so many things make sense. We need to get used to living without hope and without seeing any result, whatever the struggle we are involved in for this country. We need to understand that we are the dead. We need to remember that there is no other way. We need to make sure that we do this for the future, whenever that finally comes.

The Pardon


Everyone is outraged.

Once again, it would seem that justice’s ass has been kicked. The rich have wielded their magic power wand. Money/threat has been used by one group to terrorize the other, weaker one to submit. The law in the country has favored the former. “Our” religion seems to have aided these people in promoting their own agendas.

And so, everyone is rightly outraged.

There is already no hope in/for our country. This was one thing that people believed in. One thing they stood for. One thing that brought them together. And now, with the pardon, it has all been for nothing. With the pardon, the nation supported Shahzeb and his family for nothing! With the pardon, who will ever stand up for justice ever again? With the pardon, who will ever want to stand up for justice again?

Oh, people!

Giving up won’t bring you closer to this goal. Ever.

So what if once again the rich’s magic money wand waving has gotten them out of trouble? Saying you’ve lost hope and won’t come out in support for such causes is equal to saying they have won.

Forever.

We’ll get there, people. One of these days, we will get there. Slow and steady wins the race.

But I understand. Hope is a very fickle thing.