Everyday, my heart yearns to be with yours. When my eyes close, I see that beautiful smile of yours. When I feel cold, I can still feel the heat of your warm, soft hands grabbing hold of mine.
There are days when I fear that I’ll lose those senses, and succumb to the loss of memory that plagues so many as they grow old. But I think of you everyday. Your picture is in my heart. And I know better.
For not even death can truly take you away from me.
It’s funny, because when we parted ways, I stopped asking God for things and I started asking you. When I need help, I call your name. When life gets hard, I think of you. When I need peace, I think of when I used to sit in your lap, nestled in the cotton of your beige suit and your tan-knit vest. Your thin ivory chunni slips off of your white hair, which, as always–is placed in a little bun. I laugh as you gaze at me through your clear spectacles, wearing a grin of your own. You always knew how to make me laugh. You always put a smile on my face. Your light was so warm. Your wrinkly warm grasp is even more unforgettable. And when I need to write, I picture you just like that, and remember why it is I put so much passion into what I do.
I miss you everyday.
Loss is a torturous and horrid sensation. It is also a perplexing notion. It deprives us of what we cared for, yet it fills us with ceaseless feeling. Sadness. Anger. Pain. We lost, yet we are bombarded with entities of another sort: emotions. The greater the feeling, the greater the person. It is not always so, but loss, no matter how minimal or grandiose a being’s impact on our lives, is still loss.
When Mama passed, I felt as if a part of my heart had been broken off and hidden. I was scared, because I didn’t know if I would ever find it. How do you go on with a broken heart? How do you stand not being whole? For a great deal of time, I didn’t know how to piece myself together.
Another thing with loss: it holds no consideration of time. It is why my first piece of advice on the topic is this: whom you hold dear today, can be gone tomorrow, so live each day loving and caring despite all that may challenge you, even within the fragile hours of the day. Cherish what you have. Live and love with no regrets. Show kindness. Show care.
Though time gives no rumination for when loss occurs, it is essential to how we heal in the aftermath. Four years, and I still find myself some days, hoping to wake unto a miracle. It’s of no use though; with such loss there is only one thing we must first accomplish: acceptance. But don’t fail yourself or give up. You must stay brave. Stay strong. And find within yourself, the power to make up for that broken piece.
I keep her in my thoughts so that I can accomplish great things and overcome challenges. I keep her in my heart so I know how to be strong through them.
There’s something the world should know about my Great-Grandmother: she always gave to those who needed it most. She gave shelter to family when they didn’t have a home. She gave food to those, human or not, with growling stomachs. She tended to beings with the greatest of care. And she gave me love in my father’s place.
Another great lesson from loss: you learn, no matter how much you fight it at first, that you don’t have to be alone to get through it. After clearing the clouds obscuring my vision, I found support in all the places I’d refused to look. My mother, as she has been everyday of my life, is the other rock and portion of my heart to which my thoughts always travel. So when I did need to heal, I wasn’t alone.
Find that being. Find all the other entities that accumulate the rest of your heart. For if one being is gone, I can only hope that there are others to whom your grievances can be transformed into strength. Just keep fighting to make that lost part of your heart whole again.
That part of my heart may never be the same, but I created something beautiful inside of myself, simply by reflecting the kind of person Mama always believed I was and would be. I truly believe she saw something in me that I couldn’t. I count myself lucky to have someone who saw me at all. So now, everyday, I strive to be what she saw me as. And then, I aspire to be even better. Because of her and my mother, I know what strength is. Because of them, I know what love is. Because of them, I know what it takes to be exceptional.
So here is to the woman who loved me unconditionally and wanted me, to unconditionally love the world.
To my Great-Grandma. To my other parent. To my Protector.
Thank you for your love.
September 24, 1920 to February 14, 2012
-Kiran Bains Sahota