“We speak for the dead. That’s the job. We are all they’ve got once the wicked rob them of their voices. We owe them that. But we don’t owe them our lives.”
Funerals, I have decided are more for the living than the dead.
They didn’t have to tell me to do the eulogy. It was something as factual as the sun rising every morning. I was always looking for the right words, every moment. This time I had an audience. I walked up the altar in my maroon dress, because white-blue-sad colors dress code was not the one for me. I believed I was not mourning.
Maybe I never really had a clue of what I was believing in.
Dealing with death is bipolar.
I think it was my strategy of coping. Once I twisted the key and the opened the door to an empty house, I realized it was so much easier pretending like the person never existed. I became self sufficient. I discovered the perks of being alone. I had the bed to myself. No one yelled at me to get up before 9. No one asked me to get them water. No one told me I spent too much time on the time. No one. No one. No one.
It was like she was backspaced. Hardly anyone spoke of her. And when they did, I’d jam my fingers into my ears so that they’d bleed till I was deaf. It was then that I realized that she wasn’t really gone from the world. I was the one who made her non existent. Because I couldn’t deal with death.
The times I did acknowledge she once upon a time held my hand and taught me to write, to speak, to well, be, were the times I spent sobbing in the bathroom with the shower on. Or on one of those nights when the house was fully dark and I had forgotten to turn the lights on.
I was being such a hypocrite.
Because I said I believed I wasn’t mourning. But honestly, I was only so adamant to show that the ceasing of another human life didn’t matter to me. I was trying to be above it. I was trying to be noble and say I was ‘celebrating’ her life and that she wouldn’t be alright if I was sad because of her.
Because a year later I have learnt it is okay to be sad about her. But I still don’t have the courage to do it. I can’t talk about her openly. I can’t even think about her without hurting myself. And I guess that’s the point. Hurt. I’m such a coward that I won’t even revere her being because that will hurt me.
I didn’t know that death causes so much pain. That your heart finds it difficult to beat. It is such an impermeable state and there are so many questions. We are beings filled with these questions, and not just curiosity, but aspirations and hopes and wants and duties and senses and patterns of behaviors and all. of. that. is. gone.
In a moment.
In less than a flutter of a eye.
I will never understand death,
But I understood her. I knew her for 17 years of my life. She taught me to read, write, be. She taught me how to make tea. Sometimes she taught me that it wasn’t easy to be a consistent person, as on one hand she slapped me for lying and on the other hand she lied for me when necessary. She taught how to act like a girl, dress like a girl. She taught me a lot of things, like on Fridays, 203 Mayflower eats palak paneer. And she taught me to be the better person, the humble person, to always be nice because it don’t cost a thing. And it came to me naturally, all these things.
Today, I want to be brave. I want to be courageous.
Because her absence is trying to teach me all of this. There were so many things she didn’t have time to tell me, to advise me about, but her going will simply make me learn it better on my own. I will finally know how to deal with life, with the consequence of adding too much milk in the tea and with the entire idea of being alone.
I’m going to be strong enough to think about her, pray for her and cherish her. Even though it hurts. Even though it cuts at my chest. And even though it feels like death.
Thank you nana for teaching me to be the best story teller I could ever be. Without you words would be just words and my stories would be eaten up by a black hole, and I would never be writing this.