“It’s going to be okay” I tell her as she cling onto me sobbing into my dress. But as the words come out my mouth, I don’t feel like it really matter. After all she just lost her mother. Words of comfort can only go so far when you lose someone who means so much.
She collapses in front of me, now clinging onto my dress. There are more cries in the room, not just hers. “Come on mom, be just a little bit stronger” I tell her again trying to help up. My uncle pulls her up as the family surrounding us and they begin to fan her, mourning with her.
I stand on the side, barely a tear has shed and I feel more isolated. I look at the casket, wondering why I am not in as much pain as everyone else.
It took me a while to walk to the casket, and when I finally did, I still couldn’t cry. I felt myself shrugging off any kind of emotion that was uncomfortable. I stayed that way for most of the time. Zoning out during the mass, holding my mother close to me as she continued to cry on my shoulder. A hollow feeling inside as I look at the countless faces that stood there with tears in their eyes as she was being lowered into grave. A women loved by the whole village.
“I am sorry for your lost” Someone says pulling me into a hug and I hug back going through the motion as I watch the dirt fall into the grave. Flowers being mounted on top and just like that it’s done and it’s over.
It was a long drive. At least a good six hours, and considering that we just went swimming in a river. I feel exhausted. The night is getting colder and my feet are starting to get cold. My arms are wrapped around a pillow, she had bought me. Her hands playing with my hair as the sun starts to set. I open my eyes for a moment and find myself asleep on hep lap. Looking up I see the streetlights are starting to turn on. The truck is on dirt road causing us to bounce uncomfortable in the back of the pick up truck. I look next to me where my sisters are asleep on my mom’s leg. I pull my pillow closer and she starts to pat my back, causing me to drift back to sleep.
For a woman who should be taking it easy for her age, she was loud. The music blast even louder and she jumps to the rhythm grabbing me in the process, as she makes me dance with her. I try my best to keep up with her, my big pink dress making hard to dance. She threw her hands in the air, in a fit of giggles almost tripping over her own shoes. Panicking I rush to catch her before she falls as does everyone else near me. But she brushes the hands away jumping and dancing to the music once again, the quiet and reserved grandmother not there for tonight. For now she enjoys the moment that life offers despite having such constant negative things in her life…. So this is where I learned to embrace the moment.
She lived in the lifestyle that meant animals are from the street. But I had gotten attached to a sweet little dog around her house. He indeed was a street dog, never knowing real kindness from a human. But he was kind when I approach him, she tolerated that I fed him, and put her way of thinking behind her when I noticed he was sick. Tears in my eyes I begged for her to help him. She grumbled about having to take care of it but only smiled when I cheered up again after seeing him recover. And when the summer was over, she continued to take care of him.
She grew up poor, couldn’t afford to pay or go to school, so when she saw me walking down the stage, a diploma in my hand. Her tears were of pride and happiness. Hugged me for ten minutes straight as she contemplated what school was. Made me realized how precious education is, and to pursue knowledge. A smart girl could do whatever she wanted, and won’t let herself suffer.
Mother was always busy working four or three jobs, she was almost never around. And father he had his moments when the drinking became too much. In one way or another they both left me to figure out what growing up meant alone. That when she came in, when I cried over a boy, or my grades, or even learning what being a woman meant. She hugged me when I was uncertain and told me that we were bright enough to take on what life threw at us.
I am in my room, it feel like if I called, she will still pick up and the joy it felt when she was able to remember my name and who I was. But still I go with every passing day just knowing, reasoning that we aren’t immortal and that life is a cycle. I accept that fact that I won’t be able to ever have her call my name again. That she won’t be waiting outside her house, waiting for us to come inside and eat. The smell of freshly clean clothes as she did load of laundry weekly. The feeling of her hands soothing my back when I was frighten of the unknown. I accept that there will never be a physical hug or words of comfort.
I move on.
Or at least I find comfort in knowing she isn’t struggling anymore. I have her visit me in my sleep, in different memories. Like a film in my head that helps me not break down for her death. She is at my side, smiling as I move forward with my accomplishment and happiness.