Letting Go

Blogged Bliss May 31, 2023

I woke up to the sound of hushed voices. Squinting my eyes, I tried to train them into the sudden brightness. What time was it? I looked at the clock with the help of the light coming from the door which was slightly ajar. 2.00 a.m. It was dawn and the voices were growing urgent and kind of distressed. Pulling my robe over, I went out to find what was going on.

I climbed the steps down without making any noise. The living room was lit, and my Mom was sitting on the couch leaning on my father. My father was holding her. I could hear muffled sobs erupting from her. Dad saw me first. His eyes locked into mine, filled with something I have never seen in my father’s eyes. Unshed tears welled in the depths of them. I started to ask something but the moment I opened my mouth, Mom saw me and came rushing in to hug me.

I didn’t know what I was feeling. I knew that I was just stuck at that moment. Frozen. “What is it, Mom?”, I managed. Mom didn’t say anything. I could feel the tears drenching my robe. Suddenly I was trembling. “Damn it. What is going on Mom? Just tell me!”, I shouted for I couldn’t keep it any longer.

It was Dad who spoke. “It’s Gramps. He… he has passed away, Kay.” Dad was saying something else but that was all I could hear. Tremors took all over me. I wasn’t feeling anything. I felt numb. I thought the passing away of a loved one meant intense grief, but this didn’t feel like that, only felt like I have also ceased to exist. I pushed Mom away who clung to me and ran up to my room slamming the door shut. I could hear Dad calling for me, but no one came to console me. They knew better than that.

Memories surged past my closed lids. Gramps was my mom’s father who cared for us for as long as I could remember. He was bald and had a huge belly, which we played drums on as kids. I could hear his barking laughter which chased away any darkness in any room. He used to make us a swing each time we visited him for the New Year. When I would argue with my mom, he was the one who came to the rescue always taking my side. He used to sing to us in his melodious voice when we were feeling sick. Told us stories with unexpected twists. Made us tea and scolded us for not waking up early. I didn’t realize that tears have started to slide down my cheeks. I didn’t believe it. Gramps couldn’t be dead. He was very much alive.

We knew he was going to go eventually. Doctors guaranteed him only four months. He had bowel cancer. The day we were given the diagnosis was the day my mom lost her foot in the world. We were all shaken up. Mom pleaded with the doctors to give him some sort of medication, to make him live just another day. They agreed, but the medication took a serious toll on him. His fingertips became dark like soot. He spent most of his days at the hospital and whenever I visited him, he used to hold out his hand for me. We held each other’s hands until it was time to go.

The funeral was a simple one. All the extended family attended. Mom was crying hard clinging to my uncle’s arm. Grandma was no better. She was torn. Only I wasn’t crying, and I was feeling guilty for that. I didn’t understand that at the time I was still in denial. For me, Gramps was still alive.

I was standing alone before his tombstone, feeling nothing and still as a statue. Someone put a hand around me. “It’s time to go home, Kay. Come on”, I could hear my aunt in the distance. Home? I didn’t want to go home. I was scared of how it will feel to be in a home without Gramps. Will it be like this all the time from now on? Will it all be grey, dull and so full of sadness? Will there be no more laughter at Grandma's? The only thing I could remember after that was getting dragged away by someone when only one thought swirled in my mind. “Gramps is gone!”

I did go home, and I did live there for the next few days, but the grey was real. Life was monotonous, almost as if all the colour from my life had been washed away. I cried for no reason when I was alone in my room. I did not know why tears ran down my cheeks. I was oblivious to everything that was happening within me and around me. Often times I would curl into a ball and let my cheeks get wet. I had no focus. Everything seemed to have narrowed down into a tunnel hole. I couldn’t see beyond those walls. It was sad, what I went through.

One day Mom came to me. She was also grieving but she has had enough of my suffering. I remember very vividly when she put my head in her lap and kissed my forehead. Then she said, “You know Kay, one day we all have to go. It’s inevitable. It just happened to be that Gramps got his ticket sooner, but he lived a good and adequate life, Kay. You should just let him go.”

At that moment I realized it. It wasn’t just that Gramps left. I was also holding onto him, not letting him go. I was suffering by holding a memory until it crashed. If I am to relive it each time by remembering, I had to let go of it and keep it intact. That’s what I should do and what I should have done. I am the one to free myself. As this thought crossed my mind, I swear I heard Gramps’ rich laughter as if to say well done. After a long time, I smiled and thought of paying Gramps a visit. My Mom had forgotten to mention a very fine detail. A bush of wild roses as white as snow was growing on top of the grave. My favourite flower which Gramps used to grow.


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