An Epistle of Loss

It’s been two years. Still, the grief remains in my soul, an emblem of your absence. It never had a beginning – none I can recall. Probably won’t ever end. On some days I’m consumed with thoughts of you in this life, strong like a monsoon wind blowing through my mind. How you always appeared timid, yet you were the bravest person ever. Your winsome smile, reserved only for us. Your lame jokes that elicited laughter, not because they were actually funny, but because you dared to tell them in the first place with your irresistible sheepish grin. The day you told me the funny story of warm toast and Coca Cola, and it became the foundation for a few of our inside jokes. How you’d been sad when my relationship ended, sad to see me pretend unbothered, and you were of half the mind to call the ex for an earful, but you didn’t, thankfully. You cut a comical figure every time you wore those reading glasses of yours, perched on your nose, while you peered over them to read with poor bare eyes.

On some days I’m plagued with those last moments, and the tears don’t stop flowing. Your glazed eyes that morning. Your tongue lay heavy in your mouth. The death rattle. The pain and helplessness we all felt. Your silence. Your comprehension of happenings around you, even though you lingered by the door between two worlds. Three deep breaths, each one deeper than the other, before finally, you stepped across the threshold of afterlife. When that nurse pronounced you dead, I scolded her, ordering she perform CPR on you or I would. In retrospect, I wonder why? Was I aiming to prolong your suffering? Three more days, please, I begged your body, holding your hand. But three more days for what? Cancer had ravaged you so mercilessly that in truth, death was your peace. Still, it hurt.
There are days I struggle to remember what you looked like, and those are the days that fill me with guilt and dread. I forget that your face was perfectly sculpted; your small eyes and short lids; your nose, flat, yet narrow. I forget the wide birthmark by the side of your mouth. I forget the unusual color of your lips, same as the insides of a ripe, juicy peach. I forget the gap between your incisor and your molar, hard to miss whenever you smiled.Time is slowly but surely eroding my memory’s images of you. I hear it’s bound to happen – inevitable – but I don’t care. I don’t forgive myself for those days.

I loved you with a passion that’s come to be associated with my persona, and a protectiveness that reversed our familial ties – I became your mother and you, my dear daughter. It shaped all my plans for our future. You would move in with me once I got a job and could afford to get my own place. I’d work my bones off to place the world at your feet, for you were that deserving. The desire to spoil you rotten fuelled my ambition. You were always the primary reason for the dream.

On occasion, too, I’ve hated you with equal emotion. In heated moments too many to count, I spewed hateful words, some of which I meant and some of which I didn’t, just to hurt you. There were days I felt you hated me, times I felt like your least favourite child. After anger waned, I’d realize I was being silly. I also can’t deny that I did take you for granted now and then. It was the reality of our relationship, and however it may be perceived by people, I apologize to no one for it.

I wasn’t always in the wrong though. My sentiments weren’t always unfounded. By default, humans are flawed and you were no exception. But I choose to forget that now. Lately, I find myself speculating on the possible dynamics of our relationship if you’d known then that I was bipolar. Would you have been more understanding, more tolerant of my excesses and outbursts? Or would you have been the stereotypical parent this side of the world, dismissive of mental health-related topics?

I’ve loved you since I could say the word “mom”. I’ve trusted you even longer. Were you not, after all, the channel through which I entered this world?

It’s been two years. Still, the grief remains in my soul, an emblem of your absence. It never had a beginning – none I can recall. Probably will never come to an end, at least not until my dying day.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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