Part 4: Wisdom in Grief
Eighty seven years of joys, sorrows, fears, conquests, achievements, failures, desires, disappointments, love, hatred reduced to a pot full of ashes and bones, borne by an all-encompassing ocean, and a mind full of memories borne by all-encompassing time. The ashes and bones disappear with the swinging waves, as do the memories in the swing of humanity when the current strata of human is replaced by the next. More flesh and blood into more transcendental memories, to be replaced by another set, to be replaced by another set, until the last man breathes. In another universe, perhaps another set of materials being replaced by the immaterial. The never ending cycle of life.
And in the eighty seven (or seventy eight, or one hundred, or thirty four) ephemeral years, just how many tears shed, grudges nourished, daggers uttered, hearts broken? How many minutes spent in fear, in worry, in doubt, in anger and in pain? All for what? To be borne away by the waves and time?
Just as wasted are the smiles smiled, the hugs hugged, the love made, the sugar shared. All still borne by waves and time.
The dagger is on a golden platter. The sugar needs work. Seems so easy to head for the platter. But choosing the sugar would make the eighty seven (or seventy eight, or one hundred, or thirty four) years worth the illusion.
The wisdom must stay after the grief has passed.
I wrote the above piece on the night of my grandmother’s death last year. I shared this with a few select friends* and family at that time. It is just apt that I share it here now.
The wisdom seems like a burden at the moment. How easy to succumb to the dagger, knowing fully well that the soul would bleed. How hard to pick up that platter of sugar, knowing well that the sweetness is of being?
Some day, the wisdom may stay. Let the memory of my paati lead me on towards that wisdom.
At the exact time as I type this out, my grandmother breathed her last. Her memory would never pass, but the grief may fade over time. In fact, it already does not stab me like it did a year ago this day. The year ahead promises to be choppy, and no paati to give me the strength to face it.
But what Bill Watterson said through Calvin, of the racoon, holds good for my grandmother – “out there, she’s gone, but she hasn’t gone inside me”.
*Special thanks to Gayathri for having preserved that mail from last year.