“Maybe I’m just dreaming out loud,”


Today marked four years since you left, and there is so much that I want to tell you about all that’s happened since and that I wish I could tell you, like the old days when I’d pop over for a visit just to sit down with you for an hour or two and tell you how my days were, knowing that you were the one person in the world whom I could trust to tell everything. Even when your state of mind had faltered and you were living mostly in the past; it didn’t matter that sometimes you didn’t understand what I’d be talking about – just being able to sit with you, having your hand in mine, my head on your lap and making me feel as if I was safe, right there and then, was all that mattered.

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“These scars of mine make wounded rhymes tonight”

We were never close. No, they made sure to draw the line upon their first disapproval of our little family. Of her. But gradually, he opened his heart and accepted us as his granddaughters. Despite that, I always only saw him once a year; twice or thrice, if there’s a special occasion during the year. His wise words were those of the typical elderly – “Study hard, build your future. Education is very important. Don’t give up halfway.

One distinct memory I will always have of him would be that one afternoon, about 7 years ago, while we were sitting at a cafe near Arab Street, and who did we see walking towards us? My paternal grand dad – or my Atok, if I were to make this more personal – struttin’ down the sidewalk in his gold-rimmed vintage Ray Bans, his hand clutching his walking cane; keep in mind that at this point, he was 83 years old and he was still as healthy as an ox, not even limping the slightest bit.

That’s one thing amazing about him – I always remembered him as being active. Always taking walks by himself, disregarding my aunt’s and uncles’ pleas for him not to; doing his prayers standing up, despite his weak knees & back.. He did all this up to the ripe old age of his mid-eighties.

Do I regret not getting to know him better? A little, maybe. Not that I was close to any of my grandfathers, not even my maternal one; somehow they both had disappointed me with something they’ve done – not that I kept a grudge, just that there’s always been a buffer zone that was created since an age I can’t remember.

But family issues aside, he was my last living grandfather. And despite having the Grim Reaper brush past me so many times, death and the grief that comes with it never fails to tear that hole in the heart even bigger every time.

May he rest in peace.

Pax et amor,

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“One step forward, two steps back”

I had imagined it in my head, played it over several times in fact, the moment when I’d let everything out and the response I would get –

That he’d be sorry. Even a meek apology would be fine; I’m not asking for much. An apology, and an understanding, no matter if it’s relayed through silence. At least that much. What I didn’t expect was the fierce resistance – the usual ego, the blaming on others, the irrelevant things that were brought up. Yes, I did imagine some kind of defense, but not to the extent where I was yelling at him to shut up so that he could LISTEN to what I had to say

I’d imagined my words to flow out eloquently, not choked out in between sobs. I’d expected the entire scenario to happen rationally, instead of at the heat of anger

Time and again, I don’t expect much. I don’t have high hopes nor expectations for anything, because things would most likely turn out the complete opposite. Even having a tiny sliver of hope might just doom everything. It’s not good to be this jaded, but this the fact of my reality; it’s like a protective layer that has grown like a web over my skin over the last few years

And it’s like the poison in my blood that I’d have to live with for the rest of my life.

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“With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept”

Last weekend, it was my grandmother’s third death anniversary. I’m not sure whether to say “wow, that was fast” or just to leave it as it is –

The funny (well, not really. More like just the way it is) thing about “time” itself is that it depends on perception. And all the constants in one’s life. For example, time might seem to fly past you because you are juggling so many tasks on hand at one go, while simultaneously time might seem to slow down even when you’re really busy because you have a deadline to meet and Mr. Time decides to be nice to you and make you feel like you have ample time to meet the deadline. Did I make sense? I hope I did, because I’m constantly at war with how time feels to me –

I’m past the grieving stage, at least. I haven’t cried at the thought of her lately, though the gnawing in my chest still hasn’t gone away. I haven’t thought of her much, mostly cos work keeps my life preoccupied but certain things/places/people will still remind me of her. I don’t feel sad each time I see any other old lady I pass by but I still can’t look at them in the eye without thinking how lucky her grandchildren must be to have her.  I don’t feel angry anymore that she’s gone, but I still wish I had someone to call Nyai just for one more day.

To put it simply, I just don’t think about it much anymore. I’m not sure if that came with growing numb, or if it was the successful result of forcing my mind not to dwell on it still.

I’ve always thought grieving would happen in stages – and those stages may take years to go through before you have everything coming full circle. But even when you reach that final stage of letting go, after leaping over the painfully high hurdle of acceptance, someone’s death will always be a part of us. We’ll come to a point when we’d barely feel the pain of loss anymore, but we have that gaping hole in our heart as the wound that can’t be healed. I wouldn’t call it a wound of glory like the one a soldier would bring home proudly as a statement of having fought a war, but the wound that death inflicts upon us is a wound that would just remain unhealed; a wound not in your flesh, but in your soul, if you will.

It’s like a scar that will forever mark your skin, or that lipstick stain on the shirt you can’t get rid of – you’ll get past the fact that it’s THERE, but you go through your day with it anyway because it’s best to just move on instead of being stuck in a state of inertia.

If she and my mom were still around, Mothers’ Day today would probably feel like it meant something to me, rather than just one other ordinary day.

Here’s to a wonderful Mothers’ Day to all amazing mamas out there.

Pax et amor,