learning to mourn

My paternal grandfather passed away two days ago.

It sounds so absolute, and it actually is. I was shocked when my mom called me and told me about it. I was scared and then silent.

This was the first time someone close to me had passed away. My grandfather, someone I could honestly say I loved, was now no longer with us. I called my father, who I imagined would be the mostly deeply affected in our family , but could not reach him.

That’s when I realised for the first time since I left home that I was alone. I had registered the news in my head, but was struggling to mourn. I had never mourned outwardly before, and without the comfort of my family, I was angry at myself for not breaking down in tears. What was I supposed to do at this point?

Was I sad? Terribly. Did I wish my grandfather was still alive? Definitely, I was supposed to visit him in July and now the heavens had snagged him away. Yet, that grief was matched with a level of calmness I had recognised in myself in almost any difficult situation. I knew things were going to be okay. My grandfather was an amazing , loving person. When I think about him, I think about his compassion. I remember everytime I sat next to him, he would hold my hand and talk to me. The conversation didn’t matter as much as the fact that we were in contact. We were in touch.

I opened up to three of my friends on campus, and indulged in their comfort. I talked about what I remembered about my grandfather and regretted how I didn’t make an effort to hear more stories from him. They quickly reminded me that my stories will be his stories as well. Every person owes a significant gratitude to his forefathers for putting him in the position he is now. My grandfather is no different – the resilience he instilled in my father was passed on to me.

For the first time, I took a slow week. I was so intent on making every second count this quarter that I was always out, distracting myself with one activity after another. Making stories, creating memories. Yet, now I wanted to stop for a while. I wanted to focus on remembering my grandfather, and his place in my life.

There’s a lot of things that’s private and doesn’t need to be shared with regards to this. Yet, for all my efforts to be respectful, I realised this is the best way I know to be respectful. I wanted to remember my grandfather the same way I remember anything meaningful in my life – by recording it here, in my blog. It helps me process my thoughts, and it helps me articulate my feelings – without needing to be excessive in sharing.

Mourning is not easy. It’s painful. But we choose to mourn, because we choose that the pain in remembering this person is worth it. We choose, because the pain isn’t difficult pain, but pain derived out of good memories.

I loved my grandfather. He was a great person, and I want to live my life in a way that honors him . I may be 22, but this is definitely a growing up moment for me.

Rest in Peace Thatta.



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