Death does a number on you in ways you did not know.
I used to attend funerals and I had all sorts of emotions. Thinking about the departed, the loved ones and the struggles they will face moving on. It was easy to rationalize things because it was never me on the spot.
Until I lost someone I dearly loved.
I could not say goodbye, I could not cry, I had this big hot potato in my throat that just would not go down. A part of my brain rationalized their death, but the other part became numb. It froze. It refused to admit the reality. I was confused, I had so many mixed emotions all fighting to be let out. There were so many things I wanted to say to them but could not bring myself to it. I wanted to tell them that I loved them one more time, I wanted them to know they meant the world to me. I felt guilty at the promise I had made, several months but had been unable to deliver.
I never said goodbye, I never passed by the coffin to see them one more last time. I could not. I was afraid, my knees would give way and I could not get up. So, I watched from a distance. I watched as others said goodbye. I watched as others passed by and shed their tears while I bottled mine.
And then I became angry.
Angry at how quickly some people moved on. Angry at how they spoke. Angry at how they did not acknowledge the loss. At how ordinary life had become to them. They made it an event and I could not stand it.
So, I withdrew, I found a corner where I could sit with my loss. I tried to be an adult Christian, reminding myself that we all die, and it was time. I kept wrapping up the emotions with tape so they could stay put, because anytime I tried to say their name, the tears shot straight up without any decorum. And so, it became a fight. A constant battle to keep myself in check.
Until I could not do it anymore and one day, the flood gates opened. The price had to be paid, the price of resistance, the price of trying to be strong, the price of grief, the price of not crying, of not saying goodbye, the price of anger, the price of closure.
I broke in a thousand pieces and wailed for days. The pain ran through my belly to the back of my spine. I could not stop it, there was no pretending. It is the price of love they say, but they do not tell you that tears can cut through your whole body and shred you like grass. They do not tell you that sometimes, the shredding can go on for days or months. You lose all interest in life, in everything. Nothing is appealing, everything is tasteless. Nothing matters at all. Your body wants nothing, and your mind lets go of everything. You stop caring about anything, all that is on your mind is your loved one, there is so much darkness that even bible verses cannot brighten it. People say things without knowing how much worse they are making it. You become like a ticking time bomb, and no one tells you about the trivial things that will trigger you in the middle of the day and punch you in the face at the memory of your loved one. They do not tell you of the battles you must fight to smile when in a crowd, or in a meeting, or in a bus. No one tells you about the chill that runs down your spine and the cold sweat that engulfs your body when your mind reminds you of past conversations, or the sound of their voice, their smell, their jokes and their favorite color or food.
It has taken years to even talk about this. Years to accept. I still have not said a proper goodbye, I still do not have the strength to. But at least, I have come out of the hole I was in, a hole that loss sends you whose color is a pitch dusty, dry tasteless black.
You do not feel it coming, it is a scent, and it is very loud and clear. I have managed to deal with sight, I have managed to deal with memories, I have that under control. But the scent, this one is stubborn! Such a unique scent, flowers on a Sunday morning with warm baking aura sort of scent.
Honestly, it is just a perfume, one of those splash perfumes you see beautiful women half naked with a grain size perfume on a billboard and you wonder, did they have to represent 90% of the lady and 5% of the product. And then there is the 5% space that is left, purely for your imagination; to do what you want with it.
I have a place I go to. It is like a cube, a place where it is me, myself, and my work. It is like being in a production factory, right where the actual mixing happens, where everything outside the tube is nonexistence. My focus in the tube is liner and razor sharp and I am at a different brain operating level. You could call me ten times with no response.
I was in the cube, and then, there it was, that scent! My nostrils were not ready! My mind was not prepared for the neurons. Like a gust of wind, the scent brushed passed me jolting me to reality, I am panicking and scared to turn around, my eyes are watery. My mind is excited and doing flips. I turn around, I catch a glimpse of the dress disappearing at the corner. Should I chase? I want to, I want to stop her, I want her to turn I know the smile that comes with that scent. I know the giggle; I still have the voice logged in my mind. Yet such moments get me desperate and sometimes it feels like I am gasping for air, like I am choking.
Damn, I hate what it does to me. It leaves me scattered like breadcrumbs and I must recollect myself all over again.
It is a year since she left, and nothing I can do will get her back. She is gone, just so you know, and it hurts like crazy, and some days are so damn tough because my mind will not stop playing games on me.