Lets talk about loss today.
Today, I diverge from my usual optimistic and happy demeanour to talk about something else: Loss. Losing a loved one. Death. Today, I’ll be saying many things I’ve never ever put together before or said and it will be more morose that you expect me to be. These days, there is a lot of negativity in the world, lots of terrible things happening to good people and I hope that if they ever read my words, they find in it what they need most right now. Hope. I’m a firm believer of the saying, “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear” and that’s what I hope to offer. This will be different than my usual style of writing, because this time I’m writing to make a difference. This is something I feel I must write, in the hope that they do a little bit in the lives of those who’ve lost everything.
For me, death was a foreign concept for a major part of my life. I’d hear about people dying, read about horrible killings in the papers but I’d always, due to my great luck, assumed its something that happened , over there, far away from me. Call it my naiveness ,luck or just a normal thing, that’s the way it was. That is, until it happened to me.
I celebrated my 13th birthday with a few of my close friends, a small party during the exams. I just turned into a teenager and the world was my stage. My paternal grandfather also came to visit, like he did every birthday. He even got me a gift on his own which was new and something he usually didn’t do, he would normally get us money to buy whatever we wanted. It was a magazine that was really difficult to find and one of my favourites, that along with my favourite pen. I loved it, hugged him and thanked him. Usually, he stayed for a few days when he came even if he didn’t plan to, we’d make him, because we liked being with him a lot. But this time, he left the next day itself, he had some work to do and I let him go due to that. The day after, that is, two days after my birthday, my grandfather, my grandpa was shot during a road mugging .In broad daylight. And he, my favourite person to argue with, the person I talked to about languages, the person I taught new things like phones was gone. Just like that.
When I found out, that evening, I was suddenly faced with something I had never faced before : loss. And it was sudden and totally out of the blue. I felt like I was in a bad dream and it wasn’t ending. I knew I was in pain, I was breaking but what caused the cracks to spread and take over ,is the pain of your loved ones around you, who are completely destroyed. The way I saw my parents that night will always haunt me. It still does. It was what, magnified my pain manifold, not the loss of the person but the pain of the living.
That is when I learnt many lessons. One, that different people have different reactions to loss. Some choose to not talk about it and try to act like it didn’t happen, for their sanity and to try to live the life as they know it. I’m one of those people. I ,for all the talking I do, do not talk about my loss. How it hurts. The memories. I just shut off entirely. There are others, like my mother, who talk about all these things. Who truly learn to live with it, or so it seems. Of course it hurts them, but they acknowledge the pain and accept it, which is braver than I can imagine to be.
I also realised that what people say about death is mostly false. No, the person does not continue to live in your heart or anything similar that romanticises the loss of a person. You feel like they’re just across a door or simply a phone call away, but truly they are just gone. Poof. Let me use a absurd metaphor for this. Imagine if your favourite book was suddenly deleted from the world. All copies just vanish and its gone. You can never touch it again, read it again. You can read the quotes you have written down, the words you remember from it and draw what you remember of the cover but, you can never ever read the whole book together ever again. What you do realise is though, that even if you feel like it hampers you functioning and you can’t imagine existing now , you cherish the fact that you read it ,you value the memories you have with it and what all it had taught you. You wouldn’t give that time away for anything nor would you wish you never read it. Slowly, as time passes ,you begin to put your own pages back together. You order them, paste them together. You put yourself back together although it takes a while and most importantly, you must remember you can never be the same again. It’s a sign that it mattered, that it took away a piece of you. But the important thing to remember here is ,that even though you aren’t the same now, you’re a you you never were and you’re just as great. You can still spread happiness and be happy, you can learn to live with it and eventually you’ll make peace with it. And even though its now gone, you will always love it from the bottom of your heart.
That’s what you’re allowed to do. The person may not exist anymore but you can still continue to love them and value them. And we the world, the people that share a planet, value the victims of the horrible things happening in the world these days, the way I’ll always value my grandfather.