There are few moments in our lives that we truly never forget. Memories that are so deep you can remember exactly where you were standing, what you were wearing, the smells in the air; every little detail of that moment. It’s not so much that we can’t forget these moments, but rather that they are truly unforgettable by our subconscious. In my experience these moments are usually wrapped in grief and loss.
When something amazing happens, something really good – I remember the news, I remember the excitement but eventually the finer details start to fade away. What dress was I wearing that day? Did we go out for lunch after or just celebrate at home? It doesn’t matter because I remember the happy feeling. But when grief is involved, I become engulfed by the moment, almost trapped.
For the last 90 days or so, I’ve felt trapped in a moment like that. I’ve continued to function in my daily life, continued to write, and continued to exist almost in a parallel universe, but the truth is; I’m kind of still standing there at the end of that hallway in that weird hotel in Delhi with the black marble stairs, silver banister and floor lights, staring at that message on my phone. It was February 27th, 1o:32 am Delhi time when I got the message – my Bibi (grandmother) had passed away back home a day ago. The confusion and irony were both overwhelming. I’d seen her just 10 days ago and she was normal, nothing was wrong with her, and now here I was in her country, getting over losing my Papa (grandfather) just three months earlier, and now she was gone too.
I feel cheated. I never got to say goodbye, give her one more hug, or share all my India discoveries with her. Just a few days earlier I sat at the Wagah Border, the exact place she and my Papa had crossed into India when they left Pakistan in 1947. I took pictures of the Atari Checkpost and Jhalianwala Bagh to show her. I even sat by the ‘Dukh Bhanjani Beri’ at Darbar Sahib and was pleasantly surprised that I could remember the story she told me about it as a kid. I felt healed by India, like I could finally put losing my grandfather behind me, yet there I was starting the healing process all over again, and possibly even more raw and hurt than when I lost my Papa.
The last time I saw my Papa before he passed, I couldn’t hold the tears anymore and when I broke down she took me in her arms and just let me cry it out. She rocked me like I was her little baby, patted my head, and told me it was going to be okay. Now that she’s gone and I’m trying to get over it, there’s no one that can put their arms around me in that same way and make everything better – and for that I feel angry and cheated some days. How could she just leave me to figure out all this grief by myself? Why didn’t she give me some words of wisdom the last time we met? Something I could have held onto and made sense of what seems like such a cruel joke. In a span of just 90 days I lost two of the most important people in my life – and as a result lost a part of my childhood. The memories, the experiences, the days that happened between just the three of us, they are gone forever. Will I ever be able to remember them as vividly as that moment in that hallway in that hotel in Delhi? Are they gone forever? I don’t know the answers to these questions, and most days I’m not even ready to face them.
Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m writing this post. It has nothing to do with fashion, food, DIY, or any of the happy things I usually write about in this space – but it has everything to do with the content you see here everyday. My Bibi was my rock, my safe space, and one of my teachers. The recipes, the stories, the DIYs I create, so many of them come from watching her in the kitchen, and listening to her stories as a kid. I may not remember all those things as clearly as the moment I lost her, but they are there, like whispers – somewhere in my subconscious.
The other day a friend told me that when someone dies life has to ‘go on’ and we just have to get over it. I know she meant well, but it just felt like the cruelest thing to say to someone who is standing in a place of grief, stuck in a moment. In my entire life I’ve never had to deal with grief so deep and difficult, and there are many days when I feel like it’s going to be attached to me forever, and other days I feel like I’ll get over it I’ll manage.
I have no idea how to end this long run on post, but I guess I’ll say thank you. Thank you for reading this post, and for reading all my other posts – for giving my words an ear and a purpose. You are step one in my grieving process and for that I am eternally thankful.
I am so sorry for your loss. And your friend was wrong (sorry!) but you never ‘get over it’. Grief is a journey in itself. You learn to live with the pain, pieces of you heal, but when the person you lose is someone you loved deeply, there are always bits of you which remain raw to the pain. I hope you are surrounded in love to help you through this time.
Hey, sweet Raj…no, you don’t get over it. Maybe your friend meant you will get THROUGH it. And you will, because we must. But you will never be the same. Some days this grief will take from you and some days it will add to you. Keep doing what you are doing. You are keeping both grandparents alive this way. Love you – and I have a hug for you next time I see you!