My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago. She’s gone and the most I can remember of her is a brief phone call when I was a prepubescent child. As guilty as it makes me feel, I am not in true mourning.
There is the dull sense of stun–the kind that happens when something you’ve taken for granted is gone. The idea of “someday” went with her. In her place, all that remains is a huge void in the hearts of my beloved father, aunts, and uncle. A sense of hopelessness fills mine.
On Saturday, we had what you’d call a wake at an aunt’s house. We were all stuffed into tiny plastic chairs, sticky with sweat, under a makeshift tent. My brother and I arrived separately and sat towards the back. Our parents initially took the seats to my right. When I attempted to steal a glance at my father, I noticed they had suddenly appeared in the first row. My uncle made his way to the seat next to my father, and then silence.
That is until someone began playing this instrumental piece over a sound system. (The set-up of this sound system delayed the “service” by half an hour.)
Between listening to the music and seeing my father sit up front who, when carefully observed, was just slightly slumped, I lost it. The tears that had evaded me for almost two weeks, the caught sob–all these things I attempted to hide from my brother.
Guilt and remorse and empathy ravaged me, as I sat there, fiddling with my bag. Guilt over having been selfish enough to feel no grief. Remorse over not seeing how this hadn’t been about my non-existent relationship with my grandmother. And an indescribable pain at the thought of my dad losing one of the reasons that he’s even here at all.
I write this post, knowing it doesn’t end with a “moral of the story” moment. Sometimes blog posts–and life–are like that. Instead I write this with the hope that 23 will bring me some growth. The hope that I might gather enough courage to baby-step my way past being emotionally stunted. That, if nothing else, I do slightly better for my own children, as my parents did for me.
Rest in peace.