unexplainable phenomenon that brings about feelings of regret, relief and an
evading sadness. It has touched everyone’s lives with a unique hand and it has
been happening since the beginning of time. It is often the end to one’s
suffering, and the start of another’s. It has the unwavering power to dig a
whole so deep into someone’s chest, that that same person fall’s into that
whole of darkness. So much so that death is not the greatest loss in
life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.
On the contrary, pictures are a way of
holding onto the one’s we’ve lost. They allow us to indulge in the memories
that sometimes we wish we would’ve appreciated more when they were unfolding.
That is why, when I look into this picture filled to the brim with happiness, I
forget the loss through the comfort of my memories. This happy memory of the
woman that adores me as much as I love her, laughing and enjoying an ice cream,
surrounded by sand which absorbs every sadness and hardship. Because right there,
in that moment, everything is peaceful.
I remember getting the news. The devil
had invaded my aunty like it had done to others so many times before. This
precious, gentle woman who adopted stray dogs and let me sleep over whenever I wanted
would be taken from us.
“Stage four” explained my dad. And
suddenly I felt alone, accompanied only by my sobs and my vomiting.
Then, when I saw her for the first
time after learning of her new partner, Cancer, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I
looked at her differently. Ashamed that I saw her frail bones and thin hair and
I could do nothing but watch. Ashamed that she had so much more life inside of
her just not enough time to live it.
“No chemo”, she insisted. She wanted to leave
with dignity, with her beautiful long hair and with the same passion that
taught me how to love without bounds and to find happiness through the
happiness that you create for others. When I heard of her unwillingness to
fight back, my anger took control.
However, looking back, I had no right
to be angry. My aunty had been fighting her own battle against anxiety and
depression for years and she had just won. She didn’t want to fight anymore.
She wasn’t giving up, she was finding peace. I admire her for her Zen and her
courage. Her courage to find peace with never meeting her grandson and so many
other moments she would never be able to share.
My dad told me about the power of
saying the Shema with someone on their death bed. So my fourteen-year-old self
found my place next to my weak aunty and began reciting the prayer accompanied
with too many tears, helping her soul’s last major act before leaving the body.
I was proud and I was determined, but I was not ready to say goodbye.
As I mentioned, death brings about
unmeasurable pain and I finally understood this when I saw it leaving my dad’s
eyes through his tears. His tears stained his cheeks with infinite sadness of
losing his sister. The person he once laughed with and the person who helped
raise his children.
It scares me to think about whether
when they buried her, if she decomposed and that’s what is left of her. Or, if
her soul is still watching over us or even living in someone else’s body. Before
she died, she told me that every time I see a feather, she is sending me a
message. Therefore, I’d like to believe that every time I see a feather, she is
at peace. Reflecting back it is life after death that keeps us going. It is
about completing tasks that they never got the opportunity to and doing it in
their favour. It is all the support you have from people experiencing the same
hardship. And if we, as people, can support each other in times of need, we
will fulfill the ultimate epitome of kindness.
Death. It makes
you think of what could’ve been, what should’ve been. It makes you wish you
could’ve taken a few nasty words back and in exchange, express your
appreciation and love. Every now and then, it comes around like a dark shadow
and reminds you to live every day like it’s your last, to never leave anything
unsaid and to live in your moments, in your memories. Because in the end,
that’s what makes it bearable and what makes everything okay.