I haven’t been out from the house for the last two days.
As mentioned in the previous post, grief is an old acquaintance of mine. However, when I think I understand it better, grief shows a different side to itself. Perhaps, this is the first time I get to experience it far away from my siblings. I don’t get to weep openly every time another extended relative comes to the wake. I also can’t help with tidying up – or anything that would keep grief at bay. I can’t jump into the deepest point along with the others, immersed in puffy eyes and streams of tears.
So, grief is internalised. It’s gently humming – it doesn’t come out in a roar.
Grief makes me retract. I don’t feel like talking to anybody. I don’t mind reading or sending messages through the numerous platforms – but I prefer the silence and serenity. Yani took a day off with me yesterday as well – she sensed that I wanted to be left alone – and I appreciated that as well. By the end of the day, the constant waves of grief had abated, and I slowly let my silly self appear again like a tentative meerkat, casting its eyes over the horizon.
Despite this deep, dark valley that I’m steadily trudging along, I do see specks of light coming through. I get to experience of the joy of vulnerability. I don’t need to be the strong, independent person all the time. Two of our dear friends messaged us yesterday morning. They had left two coffees and something for us to eat. It was such a blessing for us that left me speechless. In the evening, they also messaged us that they had bought us some dinner from the Indonesian restaurant in town, and left the food at the porch. Their thoughtfulness and their sensitivity was a blessing to me personally, something that I would treasure for life.
Mama would’ve wanted me to bounce back quickly. Before Papa passed away, Mama was the kind of mother who didn’t take too well to self-pitying children. When I was small, I remember the days when her hypertension gave her headaches, and even in such moments, she would fuss around making breakfast for us – or at least ensure that my younger brother and I had our glasses of milk and our breakfast. Mama was the one who taught me to be independent – letting me go on my own to my English course classes when I was only Grade 3. We didn’t have a car – so Mum told me to take two public transports to Santa Angela English Course from our house in Kiaracondong. She told me to just wave at the driver from the other side of the road, and the conductor would cross the road to fetch me, she said. Somehow, she had her trust and faith that nothing would happen to me. It’s this no-nonsense love that she bestowed upon her children. I know she loved us, she was like a loving lioness.
I’ve shared here before, that even after Papa’s funeral, and my sisters told me to accompany Mama in their bedroom. I remember in the middle of the night, Mama rolled to her side, extended her arm – expecting Papa to be there and when she couldn’t find him, she just released a sigh. She didn’t wallow in self-pity.
Mama, I understand now that all the emotions and frustrations before you left us, is because you couldn’t do what you thought you could still do. Your failed eyesight and your lack of mobility had made you powerless and useless – I know now, as much as the children told you to just be thankful of how much we, the family, had achieved, you were not the kind of person who looked wistfully, smiled, and bathed in gratitude. You still wanted to contribute. You still wanted to ‘do’.
So, Mama – to honour you, I’m bouncing back. You would’ve wanted me to. My grief would be humming for a long while, I know – when it roars, I know that you’d want me to get up again, dust myselff off, and move on.
“Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5b (NLT).