passing on


It wouldn’t be fair to talk only about the happy parts of life and leave out those that upset, torment, or hurt us. True, it’s never fun digging up memories stored under lock and key in the “do not open” treasure chest, but carrying that damn heavy chest (full of sad shit) isn’t fun either.

So here it is, here I am, offloading sad memories so that my load will be lightened.

Knowing someone’s out of your life can either be liberating or make you feel imprisoned (to the memories). I struggled with overwhelming guilt, and messaged panda one night, who talked sense into me. That attitude towards a person and situation, could bring out two different thoughts, even if both person and situation were tangled.

Saturday saw us (there were 3 of us) rushing to the hospital to see Xs dad. (Let’s call her X). X’s dad was ill, very ill. When X told us about it the day before, I teared in the office. Knowing what she was going through, knowing nobody could lift the burden or help her, because honestly, no one would fully understand the depths of despair, even if they say they do. How do you begin to untangle two yarn balls that have been woven together over the past 25 years?

The trip to the hospital was a slap to my face. Seeing uncle lying there. Seeing X and her mom. Three of us tottered in with snacks to keep X and aunty going, two of us burst into tears the minute we saw them. Hospitals (and airports) and places I hate being in, and having to put up a brave front wasn’t easy. I decided to forgo that thought. Uncle was in pain. I didn’t see the sparkle in his grey-blue eyes, one that I usually saw (and was sometimes envious of).

I don’t remember asking or saying much, because such questions are never easy to answer. I held uncle’s hand, lips quivering, and said hello. I told him to rest, we were here to take care of X and aunty. He nodded. We didn’t stay long (mainly because we ran out of tissues. I kid), and just before I left, I whispered that he shouldn’t worry about X and aunty, we would take care of them. He never managed a smile, but nodded in sadness.

We heard that the pastor came later in the afternoon to baptise him.

Uncle passed away the next day.

Death is imminent. Saying that, however, doesn’t make anything different. We went for the wake and the funeral. And after that, while X and aunty were still grieving, I went home, I wondered if others at the funeral were continuing with life as per normal. It sounds naive, but it isn’t fair. How can you continue the day, knowing someone’s grieving?

The logical person in me goes, “but why should life stop because something bad has happened?”

I’ve no answer to that. I guess for me, stopping life for a moment would be in memory of, and respect to the person. The fact that the person has impacted our lives, and we can’t just continue without him/her. It’s a silent mark to say, “hey. I can’t really function without you, not right now anyway. That’s how important you were in my life. You were one of my pillars.”

I got to know uncle because he always picked X up from my place when we hung out. I remember hollering from my gate, “helloooooooo uncle” and he’d respond with “helloooooooo charmaine”. Not much, but one adult and one near-adult doing that while stretching their hands out (ala hitler) would be amusing, I suppose. Our parents got to know each other too, when each party picked us up from each other’s places.

We never mourn for the dead. We mourn for the living, and their loss. 

6 sept; a special flower for a very special person.

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