You won’t feel a thing in the beginning. People will look at you dubiously, wondering if you really care or have processed the news even. They will nudge you, shake you, and even beg you to shed a tear or two.
But it doesn’t hit until they start to disappear and you’re faced with a reality that you thought wasn’t possible. Possibilities. We never think about a dreadful possibility until it happens to us. I know this because I said it.
“It’s just impossible to imagine a life without her. I just can’t bring myself to think about it,” I had said.
But that May morning, I had to shake all possibilities and imagine - no, scratch that - I had to face a world without her. This was the day my mother died after battling cancer.
How is one really supposed to fight their own body? It’s the only safe space we return to and sleep in after a day of facing our battles. But this is what cancer wants you to do. Fight your own self, your own cells that rage against your healthy body. And so, she succumbed to her own self and gave up.
But what about her children? Her family? All her loved ones she couldn’t say goodbye to? But I guess death is more about the living and less about the dead. They’re the ones left behind with a giant, shaky boulder called grief.
You will come across people grieving, crying, and mourning every day. You may even offer your shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold on to, and even offer a glass of water as the norm dictates. You will have attended funerals and cried at the sight of memories appearing on your phone screen. I know because I did too. But this was always a fleeting feeling. People died, I cried and moved on. The next day was always a new beginning, something to look forward to.
But this was different. Something I had never felt before. It was unfamiliar, which is why it hurt so much more. Remember I said grief is a boulder? Well, actually, it’s a pebble at first.