Grief Became The Accessory That I Carried Everywhere With Me

I've been a second hand witness to grief most of my life. I've dried tears rolling down cheeks, I've placed flowers at gravestones and I've even been a stoic shoulder to cry on. Up until this year; when I was inducted into the morbid fold of the grief-stricken. It wasn't watching from the front row anymore, it was stepping inside the ring. Initially, all I felt was numbness. While the rest of the world seemed to be weeping around me, I was powering through my routine on auto-pilot. I initially felt relieved that maybe, just maybe, I was one of those people who could process loss healthily. That didn't last very long though. It was beginning to feel like I was made of two different people. There was the one who woke up with hope in her heart and positivity to take on the day. And then there was her; the other half who felt almost handicapped with anxiety that this was actually my reality and life somehow had to go on. Unfortunately, the latter reared her head by afternoon and refused to leave until the wee hours of the night. Suddenly the automated routine I had gotten accustomed to was coming undone. Bottom of the barrel, meet me.

Grief has a way of consuming you. Trip into it and you'll find yourself on a riverbed, trying your hardest to push through the surface for a gulp of air but look down, and there are weights around your feet. It pulls you in and doesn't let go, even when your mind and body are begging for something, anything to feel better. After months of mentally staying afloat but barely; when I thought I couldn't fight the all-consuming feeling for a second longer, it's almost as if time stopped and suddenly, the pain in my chest didn't feel so debilitating any more.

(More: What 13 Reasons Why taught me about healing)

You don't ever stop missing the departed, you simply begin to heal enough to not miss them as much. As days pass, the empty void in your chest begins to feel less empty.  Even months down the line though, I don't believe it ever truly fills up. You may move past loss, but you can never really forget it. I'd be in the middle of a work dinner and a glimpse at the white shirt I'm wearing reminds me of how perfectly you used to launder your whites. When grocery shopping, the smell of mangoes remind me of the looming trees in your backyard that you adored like your children. When I'm slicing cheese for breakfast, I never forget how you ensured our blue tin quota was always taken care of. The memories of our summer vacations, walks in the backyard and cycle rides are so fresh in my mind, you'd think they happened yesterday. It's comforting to relive but then there's that familiar sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realise I can't get any of those days back again, even just one more time. 


I think about how a place that felt like home must look entirely different now. I have to rely on my imagination for this part because I haven't had the courage to enter the doorway past the colourful patterned tiles ever since you last left in a casket. I think about how your vegetable seedlings must wonder where their gardener disappeared to and how the branches will droop with the mango harvest come summer. It made me realise how little meaning places have when they don't have people attached to them. When I do manage to push part the wrought iron gate and walk through the meticulously polished wooden door, I'll wait to see you in the rosewood sofas, in the back door through the kitchen where you'd escape into your garden and of course, in the cushioned armchair that had, and always will have, your name all over it.

(More: Why we keep making resolutions every New Year)


Trending on Style File