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Even the vacuum he left behind is too precious to let go…

Khubi Amin Ahmed pens how she dealt with the loss of a loved one

As I sit to write a piece about me surviving the loss of my Nanu, my grandfather, my parent, my best friend, my confidant, my guide, my philosopher and more; I am not sure losing which of those hurt the most. It was an irreparable loss is all I know.  I am not sure – for the first time as a writer – how to pen this emotion down. I lost my paternal grandfather. That is just how blankly I can put it.

No one from my family had the courage to break the news to me. They waited for me to reach home and see it for myself. Once I saw him there – wrapped in white (a color he had always preferred), his face as peaceful as it always was – I can’t say what it felt like. I didn’t feel anything. I was numb. I probably cried. I have no memory. I remember feeling nothing. If that nothing qualifies as pain, I don’t know. I wonder if it was denial (one of the stages of grief).

I remember I held his face in my hands, told him to not leave me behind alone. That is me being as selfish as I had always been with him. I couldn’t believe he had left without meeting me. I don’t really remember any more of that day. Come to think of it, I don’t remember days after that. I think I kept sleeping in Nanu’s bed, wrapped myself in his blanket and tried to hold on to his essence for as long as I could.

One day, I remember being woken up and told that more than a week had gone by. I was reminded that I have a job and that I have to decide if I plan to go back to it. An aunt of mine also asked if I was ready to meet boys for my wedding. I remember not knowing how to deal with her.       

However bad the hurt and however devastating it may seem now, loss and grief they said is a part of growing up. We all lose people along the way and learn to accept it eventually. “Time heals all wounds.” “We are designed to recover.” “You need to move on.” “Let go.” All that and more was being thrown at me with much love and pity. While I trust their intentions, I could never get them to understand that it is the very thought of having to let go that is the most painful part! “I won’t let go of him I had said.” 

I still haven’t. I never will. Why would I want to let go of the most precious part of my life. I will cherish him and hold him close. I will keep him alive in my value system, in my beliefs. I owe him everything that I am today. I will live life like he taught me to. I will not let life weigh me down. I will live life to make him proud. He lives on in me, more than he does in his immediate kids. I will hold him close and keep drawing positivity and inspiration from him. He is the source of my faith and will always be. He is alive in me, and in my name.

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