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No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear – C.S Lewis
Before my 20s, I had a peculiar thought; What does losing a beloved to death feel like?”
I wondered, “When is my time to feel it?”
I didn’t cry when I visited my relatives’ funeral. I observed each person’s gloomy face with tears streaming down. Perhaps in their mind, they thought of the last day they spent with the deceased. Perhaps it was a happy moment or worst. Perhaps it was hectic and chaotic. Perhaps they wished they could turn back time to spend with the deceased.
When I reached my 20s, I didn’t understand grief completely but I more or less understood pain. Yet the pain I knew at that time pales in comparison with the pain of losing someone to death.
Death is strange. One moment the person you love is right before your eyes and you can see their smile and hear their laughter. The next moment, they’re gone. They lay lifeless, in serene but painful calmness. Strangers come and go, reciting Surahs. You are lost, lost in your thoughts.
I tasted the first bitter grief when I lost my grandfather during the pandemic.
It was peculiar. He didn’t die due to COVID but pneumonia. The visits to the hospital were restricted yet the moment I knew he was to pass on, I rushed to gather all the memories that I had with him. Moments that turned into memories and Memories slowly fade away.
My experience of facing grief during the pandemic was tiring.
After the burial, I went back to college and spent my days in my room because of the lockdown, mourning and coming to terms with grief. I didn’t realise that since the burial, I had not let go the memory of my father. I carried grief around like it was a necessity. It was as though it was necessary to remind me that my grandfather was still around. I played and re-played the box of memories of him every day before I slept because I didn’t want to forget him.
Death came to us unexpectedly. As there is life, there is also death. Death always lingers on us like we’re its favorite thing. The process of undergoing grief is painful yet bittersweet.
I’ll forever teasure the memories of asking him if he wanted to eat from outside his house. “Tokwan dah makan ke belum?” “Tokwan nak roti ke nasi Ali?” or when I see him lepak at his favorite Kedai Tomyam.
I ask myself, “What if these memories will be gone? What if I forget him, his voice, his laughter, and his whimsical attitude?”
In order to remember, I dedicate my blank pages to him.