Just yesterday I learned that my grandmother from my mother’s side passed away. And the weight of the news did not hit me until I came home later that night. I cried, yes, but not only because I lost my grandmother. I cried because I lost a grandmother I never really knew – a grandmother I hadn’t seen for 16 years of my life. A grandmother I was never close to, because my mother never bothered to keep in touch with her, due to personal issues. Oh, how I longed to see her again, and wished that I could fill those 16 years of abandonment. But, alas! It’s too late for that. For we only realize the true value of someone when they perish.
One of my friends once asked me what my biggest fear was, and I looked at her straight in the eye and told her that death was my biggest fear. Not MY death, but the death of a loved one; whether the loved one is my husband, my family, or my closest friends. Losing someone you love more than your own life is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. Anyone. It’s like a part of you dies with them. And albeit that has never happened to me, yet; I can only imagine the traumatic impact it would have on me. I normally consider myself a very strong person, but I really don’t know how I’d cope if I lost someone I loved to the core of my being.
We live. We get jealous of others. We want things we can’t have. We show-off, just so that we can prove ourselves to certain people. We compete with others for attention. We loathe people and wish them dead. And then we die. And that’s the end of us. Most of us are remembered for a few years after we die, but then soon forgotten, or replaced by others (i.e.: second wife/husband).
I know for a fact that many people – including myself – rarely think about death. I mean, why would I? I have absolutely no reason to think about death. I married the man of my dreams – not a day goes by that I wake up in the morning and think to myself how lucky I am to be married to him. And then I have a family who’ve spoiled me rotten; a dad who, till this day, has never said no to me. It could perhaps be because I am his little girl, of course, being the only daughter and all. But he’s always been the best father a girl could ever have. And then my mother – yes, I admit that she and I don’t have the best mother-daughter relationship in the world, but ever since I got married, my relationship with her has gotten better. We go to movies, dinners, and even shop together. And finally, I have in-laws who are absolutely incredible! Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been depressed in the last two and a half years of my life.
So, yes, thinking about death is the least of my worries. But should it be? I mean there will come a time when the beautiful life that I have now will be no more. The beautiful and loving people around me will be no more. And then what? Just because I am content with my life does not mean that I shouldn’t think about death at all, for it is only a skip and a hop away, and will come knocking on my or my loved one’s door any moment. As much as this thought scares the living daylights out of me, I need to accept it. It is reality – a very depressing reality that I will have to face at some point of my life. And it scares me. Oh, how much it scares me. I often wonder if I’ll even be ready for it. If I’ll EVER be ready for it.
And then there’s guilt and regret. When I saw my mother last night, all she kept repeating over and over and over again was how guilty she felt and how much she regretted not visiting and keeping in touch with neeya janay (grandmother). She told me how she wished she could turn back time – go back two years ago, when she actually lived in Pakistan for two full months, and not once, NOT even once, called my grandmother, nor bothered to see if she was okay. I asked my mother why? Why she never called nor asked about her. And my mom just looked at me, tears streaming down her face, not being able to answer me. It was then that I realized my mother had nothing to say, because she, herself, did not know the reason why she did what she did.
Yes, I was very unfortunate to not have known my grandmother the way most kids do, while growing up. I only have vague memories of her. Of her beautiful golden/green eyes and golden brown hair, fettered with white strands. I remember her beautiful smile, which would fade as soon as my mother snapped at her. (And I have many vague memories, where I see my mother either yelling or snapping at my grandmother, and each time I am reminded of the disrespectful way she was treated, it brings fresh hot tears to my eyes.) I also remember the dolls she used to make me the few times my family and I visited Pakistan. I was five the first time she hand-stitched me a doll – it was most beautiful doll I’d ever owned.
Gosh, even writing this is making me very emotional. Perhaps it’s best I end this post here.
May my beloved grandmother rest in peace.