“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
The previous days went by in such a whirl that the truth just sank into me. Slowly I realised the depth of the situation.
When morning comes and the first words I hear that day was, he’s gone. I did not actually have an initial reaction. Perhaps I don’t know what to feel, for it was the first time it was so close to me. I’ve hear such news, of my paternal grandfather. I was old enough to remember but strangely I did not grieve. Such close ties, yet so emotionally distanced.
Was it me? I saw his last moment, I saw the paramedics struggling to perform CPR, trying her best to save him.
I remember he loved chocolates.
This time however, I felt awful. I understand what how not seeing him anymore means. I needed to grieve. It was all so fast I did not have to time to do so, none of us did. The dawn he passed, the morning we knew, the noon the wake. Everyone was in such a rush, it didn’t seem real at all. Like a nightmare, and we were are trapped. Relatives came and go. Mom said he was very fortunate; considering living through 81 years and all of us are there. Throughout the entire process no one cried, none broke down. It was visible though, that many walked around with tears in their eyes. The part that saddens me the most was when the eldest came, the tears in her eyes, when she slowly got to the casket, her pain of sending off someone younger. His brothers although always smiling when with us young, never left the wake for long. Seeing them lingering round the casket, walking to and fro, talking to him pains me. This is the second time they lost someone so close, the first being my maternal grandfather. Then I was four months old and couldn’t remember anything about him. I used to think I was the bearer of absolute misfortune, because after carrying me once he passed. I used to cry myself to sleep night after night because I saw the photographs of him playing with my sister, celebrating birthdays with her. I screamed unfairness to God. I lost faith in God. I guess I was too young to understand, but when he passed too, the same dreadful feeling came back. Because he too was so close. I am confused to which what saddens me. The feeling of the damned jealousy, or grieve. For it I feel guilt, for being such a brat. I know if I was old enough then I would have received the same amount of love. But now, I deeply regret, for not learning enough dialect to hold a proper conversation with him. Every time he would come and talk to me, each time ending with smiles because I couldn’t fully understand. I blogged about him once. When he made me feel so loved. He became the closest man I knew of a grandfather. He rebuilt my faith in God. Or more appropriately, I begged for God to be real, for my loved one to be happy. I am never a religious person, never one to believe in rituals and the afterlife, and the stuff the Chinese do for the afterlife. The incense, the papers, the rites, the prayers. We kept the fire going because some say it will light up the way to the afterlife, I hoped for it to all be real, for it would mean peace and enjoyment he never got this life, to happen in a better place.
My family argued, to which I kept quiet, because I know, they are all grieving. But what actually pricked me was, I could not even be part of that, because I never let myself that close. Even with my grandma, I could not. Maybe all I have are silent love, hidden. Am I trying to protect myself from pain? Because it is not working, it worsens the feeling, it makes a fatal mixture of guilt, jealousy and self loathe. I couldn’t even get angry for not seeing him for that last few minutes.
I am more relieved now, after getting the load all out here. I am sorry, I could not bring myself to talk to anyone about this. I thank the friends who asked about my wellbeing, I am fine, or soon I will be. I normally get over things pretty quickly, just that sometimes in the middle of the night the back of my mind rises up and overwhelms me. I must be lucky, in a sense, to experience lost truly, only at the age of 18.