Monday, March 21, 2016
I compose blog posts for me to process my thoughts in some coherent way but I have not been able to put pen to paper since the last time I wrote, or I guess tap the keys so to say. Yet it is the written word that carries so much meaning when I want to go back in time and relive or remember certain moments. Pictures and videos too but when I read something some one wrote to me, it makes me feel like I am literally reliving my relationship with that person or what I myself went through when I read what I wrote. I went through this feeling profoundly when I went back to read some of the most normal email exchanges I had with my dear cousin J.
J and I grew up together though we were not in active contact with each other for a few years when I came here to study until she moved to the US after she got married. But we were very close in our own way. It was one of the few relationships which was highlighted by the laughter we shared. In a way it took away from the real conversations we should have had but it became our code. Sadly, though, now I am left with tears that I hold back because I can't pick up the phone and call her and laugh like we used to. She succumbed to her health issue few weeks back.
I visited J when she was placed in intensive care and there was some hope still left that she might make it. I try to feel that touch in my mind. Those few minutes I had with her when I could touch her in flesh and blood. When she opened her big eyes when I called out for her with her breathing heavily through a mask. Her beaming smile and tight squeeze of my hand to express her joy. Her inquiries about my children even in that weak state coming from the abundant love she had for my children. I still had hope then. I waved to her from outside her room when it was time for me to leave. I keep thinking back to her eyes and look for what message I saw in it.
The finality of death is what keeps this planet sustainable. The inevitable cycle of life. But sometimes I wish I could ask the creator to give us some clue as to what the formula for who goes when, why someone suffers undeservedly, is there any meaning to our existence etc. I think of her eyes over and over. Now I think that she knew her time had come. Yet her eyes showed no perturbance. Was she ready? Can someone leaving behind a young teen really be that calm? Where did she get that courage? Was she bottling it all up and taking it all with her so as to enable all her dear ones be able to bear the loss? I knew that might be the last time I would see her and yet I was clearly in denial and I left her a note saying that I would visit her at home and laugh and joke again. Why did I do that? Why do we delude ourselves and avoid reality sometimes? I never thought she would actually go so soon. I knew and yet I feel I didn't.
I did a lot of gardening in the backyard today. A strange sense of peace even though my body started to ache from the digging and pulling of tough weeds. I looked at the soil and the roots and the worms and I thought of J often. That her body was reduced to ashes and scattered in the river to be brought back to nature. We have memories and photos left of her. She has not died in spirit and is more alive in my heart and those of her dear ones even more than when she was physically present. Time will blunt the pain of her loss but the void will never disappear. A life taken away too soon. We had time to prepare for it but at least between me and her, we never talked about this eventuality. I could never get myself to because it felt arrogant to think her time would come before mine. No one really knows. Yet I wished I had had that conversation with her to know what she felt, what she wished for should this happen etc.
I deeply regret not making the time to visit her in the last few months when she asked me to visit mainly because of the responsibilities I had at home. If only I had known,I would have gone instantly I think to myself. At least I got to see her and hold her hand tight and convey my affection to her. I didn't feel this shaken by someone's passing even when my own father passed away because I took solace in the fact that he led a complete life and did not suffer much in his last days. With J, having grown up together and shared so many life moments, the only thoughts are, "How come? Why did she get abruptly taken away like this?". It makes me fear the suddenness of death all over again. I looked at the sky while the plane went through the clouds as I was returning home after her passing and I thought of how scores of human beings have passed on...the same cycle...birth, the struggles of survival, the trials and tribulations, prejudices, jealousies, celebrations all in its own way for each life that lived on this planet with the one certain commonality - death. As I looked at the expanse of the blue sky, the insignificance of our life didn't escape me. And yet few moments later when there was a lot of turbulence for five minutes that scared me and the person sitting next to me, I held on for dear life because I knew for the present, my life did have significance to my family. Or is that even true? Does time take care of everything? Do we just learn to survive no matter what? At the end of the day, the only realization I have during such trying times is that this moment is all I have. The past is gone and the future holds no guarantees. This moment is real, significant or not.