Saturday, June 5, 2010

GRIEF

My grandfather was a paper technologist. Every time I'd show him a book I'd bought, he'd look at it and then tell me how long it would take before the pages yellowed. Most of the time they proved him right.

I used to love the month of June, 'cos that meant my birthday (in July) was just that much closer. This year June harks back to things that make me stop and stare and wonder how unfair the world can be sometimes. Wonder about the flippancy of life. How it's there. And then, not there. How it can make you laugh one moment, and cry the next. How time sometimes won't just stop even if you want it to. Because the world is sometimes so cruel, it doesn't listen to you..and just goes on.
You might lose the person you love the most. But nothing really happens.
Your heart may be breaking and you know there's no chance of it being stitched back together. But the sun still rises. People still laugh. Some even dare to be happy. The day still stays sunny. The night still gets dark. All the while someone so important is missing. But the world doesn't change.

Grandpa didn't have an overwhelming personality that was intimidating. Grandpa was like the sun. He made things bright. He was cheerful, optimistic and he said the funniest things. He made you feel ridiculously happy.
Grandpa was like a best friend. He'd be the only one I'd read my poems to. And while I read those angst drenched verses, he listened. Sometimes he said things, sometimes he didn't. But he always made me glad that I'd read them to him.

Monday marks one year without Grandpa. Friday, the 5th, he was talking to me. Two minutes later he couldn't breathe. Two hours later he was admitted to the hospital. Two days later..while Mum and I were on our way to see him..we lost him. All it took was a phone call. And all the while I was wondering if the people in the bus with us, knew what had happened. Whether they knew how my world was crashing down. Whether they had any idea at all.

Hours later at the hospital, I saw a little girl with her grandfather. She was holding his hand, asking him to buy her something. I used to do that a lot as a kid. I'd beg and beg him to buy things for me which Mum wouldn't let me buy. And he'd always relent. And then, we'd go off together...mostly, to the candyshop.

Grandpa loved Dickens and old classics and black shoes. He always wore socks. Always.
He loved David Copperfield and Hamlet and Macbeth. Aunt Betsy Trotwood (from David Copperfield) was his favourite fictional character. He'd randomly quote her lines. And he always quoted correctly.
He was fond of nuts and fruits and hated spice.
He also hated the air conditioner. He said it gave him a headache and a sore throat.

The week after I'd think that maybe he was just in the next room. Or perhaps on an extended holiday. I hoped. But everyday, a little bit of that hope died.

Loss is something you don't ever come to terms with. It's just something you end up living up. Most of the time life keeps you distracted, but sometimes the chasm of loss opens up. And then you don't know what to do. Courtney Summers wrote a heartfelt post on Grief and Writing. I don't think any post has struck me quite as much as that. Because I felt she was saying aloud the things I wanted to say. The theme of grief and loss runs throughout my WiP, What Was Mine. And it's hard writing it because like Courtney says, it's like peeling off a band-aid. Because sometimes the feelings hit closer home. I write 'cos I want to say some things aloud. Feel things with my characters. And grief and loss are things that everyone of us has been a part of. I think it speaks to us all.

I was so mad at myself 'cos I doidn't finish my book when grandpa was gone. He didn't see my book and I wanted him too, so much...

Now it's like carpe dium. I must hurry and finish 'cos I don't know what's gonna happen next.

And while I write I like looking at Grandpa's photo. He spurs me on.


11 comments:

Nomes said...

Oh - this post is really lovely. You write so well and articulate the essence of your Grandpa so nicely that I can really get a feel for what he was like. (i can tell you are a writer!)

I read Courtney Summers post too - and thought it was quite moving.

Thanks for sharing

x hugs :)

Emilia Plater said...

Bee, I <3 you. Your portrait of your grandfather is absolutely vivid & the details of your grieving process really struck home. Everything you said is so true. It's more about living, as normally as you can, than healing. I adored Courtney's post, & yours is just as amazing. Keep on being awesome. <333

Tahereh said...

oh this was so beautiful, Bee. and so touching.

your strength and patience and love and perseverance are only a testament to your Grandfather's presence in your life. i'm so certain he'd be beyond proud of all you've accomplished today.

thanks for sharing this little snippet of your life with us.

<333

Remilda Graystone said...

Wow. Your post made me so emotional. This was very touching. I'm sorry for your loss. A piece of him still lives in you and in time, the memories won't hurt as much.

☼ Shine on. ☼

Bee said...

Nomes ~ Thank you for reading. I think when we talk about things that hit so close, the writer in all of us comes out :)

Emilia ~ I so agree with you. All that healing thing, it's all for comfort's sake. The real deal's tougher. And you just live with it, don't you?

Tahereh ~ I'm so glad you think so. You didn't just make my day, you left something inedible in your words.

Remilda ~ What you said..it's beautiful.

Glen Akin said...

This is a lovely post. Very beautiful. I never knew my grandfathers. One died before I was born, the other, when I was too little to remember him. Sad ... but you know, at least wherever he is, he's probably laughing and happy that you're edging closer to your dream. All those times he had to listen to your poems - the good and crappy ones (hahaha - that'll probably be his jokes over there: "Yeah, Bee had some really horrifying poems. I had to listen to them all!"), I'm sure he's proud of you.

Bee said...

Glen ~ Sorry that you never had a chance with your grandfathers. They always end up being wonderful folks. I was close to both my grandfathers.
And aww, you just made me laugh so hard! :D

LM Preston said...

This brings back how I feel about my great-gran. I lost her at 17yrs and still miss her so much. Thanks for sharing it was beautiful.

Bee said...

LM ~ 17 years and you still miss her...I guess that's how strongly we feel about losing someone. Thanks for sharing your great-gran too :)

Karla Calalang said...

I seriously cried while reading this. Amazing, lovely post. I wish you the best of luck with your writing. I lost my grandpa when I was fourteen and my dad when I was eight. Grief is definitely a part of all of us. I was so happy I checked your blog and read this post. <3

bclement412 said...

Oh my gosh, this is gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and beautifully written. You can channel this grief into your WIPs, and that will make them so, so, so strong and so so so powerful.

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