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.

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Dear Friend


Dear S,

Here’s the letter that  I should have “written”…

I just counted. I’ve known you for around twelve years now. Half our lives. Feels like forever, though.

When I look back to how we became friends, I would have to give a lot of credit to fate. Your birthday came at the perfect time. And if you hadn’t fallen ill and required my help in catching up, we might not have jump-started this friendship.

You became a part of my life at a time when it wasn’t at its best. When I had just been handed some new challenges and things weren’t easy. But of course you didn’t know that. Yet, in your own special way, you made it better. And easier.

Hence, in retrospect, I’m very grateful for deciding not to change my section, even if the first reason was that I’d rather have Mrs. Wallace as my English teacher.

I’m sure you remember Mrs. Wallace. She isn’t an easy person to forget and the main reason isn’t that she gave us both a hard time. She just made sure that even twelve years later (and more, hopefully), we’d still be friends.

I can’t believe that in about a week, you will be embarking on a new phase in your life. That you’d be married soon and going far, far away. Or that you’re the first one of us to bite the dust. That we’ve finally reached this point in our lives. That you’d go from a Ms. to a Mrs.

It’s only an addition of an “r”, I suppose but I still can’t wrap my head around it. Because I still feel like we’re two awkward teenagers just plowing through our lives…

Being loud. Being obnoxious. Talking for hours over the phone after spending the whole day together at school. Knowing each and every detail of how we spent the day. Knowing every extended member of each other’s families. Exchanging notes during lecture. Stopping at the canteen for samosas on the way to transporting class books from the basement to the top floor. Visiting your dad for junk-food money. Being the victim of teacher politics and still holding strong. Eating mountains of that strawberry toffee that I can’t remember the name of. Arguing over stupid things. Crying at the end of the Murree trip together. Making up for everything with a simple hug. Random walk to Masoom’s every other day. Studying over the phone with your brother.

There’s so so much more! Even after we left school and weren’t together everyday, you were there for me.

But most of all, what I remember is how you made me a better person. How you helped me communicate better and open up to people. How I tried so many new things with you around.

I don’t know how you put up with this presumptuous nerd all these years. But maybe, it’s because I was your presumptuous nerd.

Because no one else would hold my cold, dead hand during lecture to try to warm it up and make me feel less shivery.

I less than 3 you, S!

Yours,

Today and always…