Sunday, October 5, 2008

The mourning after

Is always the hardest.

When everyone's gone home and it's all quiet again.

You sit alone in the dark and cry softly, because everyone thinks you're alright.

After all, you're just a granddaughter.

There is the son who is still stuck in the Middle East and can't come home for his mother's funeral. The grandson whose University exams take place the following week in Sydney. The other grandson who's in Laos. The granddaughters in Australia and Singapore. The great grandchildren and the in-laws who couldn't make it to pay their last respects.

You're the granddaughter who sat beside her the morning she was sent to the hospital. The one who got to hold her hand and whisper in her ear that everything will be alright.

You, one of the few people who saw her before she stopped breathing, completely.

It was also you who made the call to her father in the Middle East to tell him that his mother is dead. It was you who went to her dead grandmother's house to unhook that picture that had been hanging on the wall for years, to be placed in front of the hearse. It was you who functioned on autopilot mode in that 20 hour day that seemed to last an eternity.

And then there is the mourning after. When you finally sit down to sort out the pieces that made the old woman the same one you cremated yesterday.

You find a wad of tissue paper in the side pocket of her duffle bag. A bunch of pins on the other side. You fold her clothes neatly and find something you least expected.

A pink plastic bag. And a bunch of rubber bands inside.

You smile to yourself, knowing that she's surprised you again.

And then you go to your room and shut the door.

You begin to cry softly, quietly.

Because the real mourning had begun and you have finally found the time to grieve for your dead grandmother.

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