-February 14th, five years ago, my Great-Grandmother passed away. The following tale is a recollection of a day after she went.-
A tear dribbled down my pale skin as I stared outside the translucent substance, hardly breathing. The smooth glass cooled my touch and I could see my reflected self gazing vigilantly back at me. With a little force, I shoved aside the frame and listened as the window creaked open.
The screen that held its place in between me and the outside world did nothing to halt the prevailing winds that blasted through. I shivered from the instantaneous feel of the chilled air, which nipped at my cheeks in a welcoming sensation. I huffed, and shook my hair from where the breeze had caressed it.
Maybe it’s her, I thought. Maybe she was trying to comfort me in whatever form she could manifest.
I shook my head. My great-grandmother was gone, and I had been left behind, grieving relentlessly in her absence. How does one continue on, when the most important person in their existence ceases to bear a physical presence? How does one live, when there is no one left to understand who they are?
I stared on. The earth was marred with piles of crisp leaves. Mustard yellow. Chocolate brown. Burnt red. I gazed at the multitude of colors. Even the sky was a range of scattered hues of gray. It was as if nature couldn’t decide what colors to make the world.
So it selected all of them; every hue of every shade to dye the earth.
My nails skimmed along the mesh as I observed a drop of dew slide along a blade of grass. Another followed suit. And another. Soon, the greenery was being submerged in liquid, as the heavens satisfied the parched earth with their tears.
It was soothing.
There was something about the rain that eased every fiber of my being. The ceaseless precipitation called for dance, and I yearned to twirl and throw my hands up to the rhythmic drops as they pounded against the damp terrain.
I smiled to myself, thinking of how strange a notion it seemed. Earlier I had been distraught, and suddenly I yearned to tango with the rain. But the downpour was just so easy to sense. I could see the drops splatter against the ground and the soothing pitter-patter that accompanied every collision. I could occasionally feel the splashes reach the tips of my fingers. I could inhale the crisp dewy air and almost taste the freshness of the new shower.
I looked around with a fading smile, realizing the house was empty. I was still alone. The hardly visible barrier between me and the world felt thicker then it should of, but only for a second.
“I have something to say,” I stated aloud, hearing my voice tremble, despite the calm of the storm, “I can only hope you’re listening, but I’m going to say it nonetheless. I miss you Mama. I don’t know what to do without you here to protect me. I’m scared of losing myself, because the only person to understand everything I hope to be, is the one person I can no longer see. The tears won’t stop, and I don’t know how to be okay.”
My voice finally cracked, and the liquid spilled over the brims of my eyes. Just as the rain poured to the earth, my tears cascaded to the carpeted floor.
Sometimes, tears are not a sign of weakness, but a tell-all that you loved more than your heart could bear to lose.
A strong gust of wind pushed passed the screen, clearing my face of any loose hairs, and drying my tears to an end. There was a warmth against my cheek. I blinked and ogled as the rain ceased to hydrate the ground. Far beyond the realm of my home, I could perceive the faint light of a rainbow.
I observed the spectrum of colors with wondrous eyes.
Maybe the world doesn’t want to lose any of its colors, but when autumn comes, it grieves for the trees that have lost their leaves. Leaves that will desiccate and lose their pigment. Leaves that will come to grow again. And as the fierce cold of winter passes on, and the flowers come to bloom, it’s the tears of heaven that help them grow and become something much more than what they are.
I picked myself up and emerged unto the chilled air.
Life is lost everyday. It is missed every minute. It is what scathes our souls with scars a plenty, because our goodbye’s seem less than perfect.
But just as life is lost, so much more is given. Because after the grief has dissipated like a froth from our minds, we come to uncover that which we couldn’t have seen before.
I paused, “Actually, I think I know how to be okay.”
The memories can never be lost. The inspiration can only grow. The legacy left behind is one I can carry on. The leaves still find a way to sprout on the wood they had once abandoned. The yellow grass can still turn green if replenished with water. An arch of colors can form in the sky, even on the dimmest of days. Life by both nature and the mind can be preserved in more ways than we think.
I breathed in the fresh air and smiled, staring at the spectrum in the sky. A drop of water collided against my nose, followed by another cluster that trickled along my skin. I laughed, throwing my hands up while spinning in the dampening air.
Sometimes, it takes strength of mind and endurance of heart to realize that life is full of greater possibilities. Even nature agrees, for it is after a storm, that a rainbow can be seen.
-Five years, and I’ve come to see just how many beautiful lives I have surrounding me today, and how difficult it can be for some, to see beauty when it is thought to have disappeared forever. You see, loneliness is easily felt, but it is care that truly touches the heart. And I have my great-grandmother and mother to thank for that. –
-Kiran Bains Sahota