Saturday, September 11, 2010
An ominous cloud loomed over my head last September 2, 2010. A sense of forboding fear suddenly crept into my system. Signalling that something inevitable is about to happen. Something sad and unknown. I can feel it coming. So strong. So heavy... I tried so hard to brush it off my chest. Kept reminding myself that I may be wrong... yet I knew deep inside my instincts rarely fails me.
My intuition proved right. The thing that I dreaded to hear all my life has finally happened. Two simple but devastating words made me tremble to my deepest core--"Granny's dead!". She succumbed through cardiac arrest. She was 87 years old. I felt as if a bucket of ice-cold water was thrown at my face. I was suddenly jolted out of my safe cocoon. It seemed surreal. Like a bad dream. A bad joke. A big lie. A huge mistake. Tell me anything else except her death! She was supposed to be invincible, one of those people who simply must NOT die!
She was a strong woman. A fighter! She barely got sick or hospitalized. Her stamina was awesome. Up to the last years of her life she loved to travel and see the world with us. At her age, you can still see the childlike expression living in her eyes. Even the smallest things makes her giggle. How we loved pampering her! She was our "big baby" and she absolutely enjoyed it! She was vibrant, lively and full of warmth. Just the sweetest! Words cannot even justify how much sunshine she brought into our lives. She was my source of comfort, my security blanket...a home within a home.
Then I saw her. Lying still...motionless. Her head stretched upwards. The same way when she gasped for her last breath. Her lifeless body all fragile and tiny. A far cry from the once vivacious lady we all knew. It broke my heart seeing her that way! That painful scenario will forever be imprinted in my mind...
I wanted to scoop her, cradle her in my arms and make her feel my love. And then I remember thinking that she MIGHT still wake up. That she can't really be dead! I was touching, crying, kissing, holding and telling her "Granny I'm here! Please wake up! I love you!".
I badly wanted to breathe through her mouth and rescusitate her. I wanted to shake her limp body and rouse her from death. But I was powerless...helpless. I just held her chest so tight that for a moment I thought I felt her heartbeat...only to realize that it's mine. :-(
Tears were flowing everywhere as my immediate family gathered at the ICU. Comforting and consoling each other's grief. You can almost cut through the thick air of emotion blanketing the night. The heavy rains were ironically in synch, weeping along with us. While the rest of the world was peacefully sleeping.
Meanwhile, the nurses seemed oblivious. Probably numbed and used to all the tears. The atmosphere was depressingly somber. At the far end of the room, I caught sight of another patient bravely fighting for his life. It made me think that death is like a thief in the night. You'll never know when it'll strike. Perhaps another set of family would arrive. Another round of heartbreak and tears. Another possible loss in this neverending cycle called... life.
After sometime the dispatcher whisked Granny's body away. Covered in a blanket...that unmistakeable white blanket! Yet, a part of me was still in DENIAL. Still half-expecting that she'd open her eyes and say "Wait, I'm back!". And then I'd rejoice and say "I knew it!".
But her cold and stiff body crushed all my remaining hopes... I no longer have her. I will never hear her sweet voice, see her cute granny goose face and touch her soft mottled skin again. She's gone... A painful reminder that we are all but mere transients on this earth, just passing by with our borrowed lives. A wake up call that somewhere, somehow, sometime life has to end. And there's nothing we can do but accept God's will.
I felt as if I was in the movies. Silently watching all these from afar. But this time I'm no longer just a mere spectator, i'm now a PART of it. And there are no scripts or lines to read. No chance to edit and rewind the scenes. I wanted out! But this is reality. Raw and uncensored. There's no director to shout "CUT!". The film of life just keeps on rolling, capturing every moment in it's purest form.
Time seemed to be at a standstill as we prepared for the funeral arrangements. You don't even know where you get the energy to move about, to do all the necessary things. Everything seems like a blur. A whirlwind of events. Coffin. Wake. Mass. Condolences. Reunions. Flowers...etc. I felt like a dazed zombie going through all the notions. A huge part of me just wants to stay home. To silently grieve and be alone.
Hearing sad songs just ignites the pain. I'd find myself staring at space...crying...anywhere...even at public places. Seeing random grandmas walking around makes me teary-eyed. It makes me miss my Granny even more. I cant help but feel a pang of jealousy for those fortunate enough to still have their grandmas around.
And looking at the cheerful faces of strangers on the street, makes me wonder. How could they look so happy? How could their lives look so normal?...while here I am feeling so sad.
Happiness felt like it abandoned me a million years ago...when only last week I was still feeling high. But life HAS to go on for everyone, even to those whose worlds have seemed to stopped. Now I'm stepping into the other side of the fence. Where strength, hope and courage intersperse with darkness, sorrow and longing.
Sometimes I find myself in chaos. Sad that she's gone. Happy because I know she's gonna be in heaven. As a human, I hated the limitations of the physical body. But as a Christian I know her spirit will live on. Been crying. Laughing. Trying to act normal. Crying. Wondering. Missing. Having constant flashbacks. Seeing Granny's face over and over. My interval of emotions are on an all time high!...that it's already draining me as a whole.
Then there were those times when she "visited" me. Making her presence known. Three days after her death I woke up in the middle of the night when I felt a very cold sensation envelope me. It was so cold that it made me chill and shiver. I knew she was hugging me tightly...
Or when I saw that big brown butterfly perched outside the window. I knew it was her. Just watching over me. Perhaps she's tryin to comfort me, letting me know that everything's gonna be ok. That she continuously loves me...even from beyond.
Granny was laid to rest a few days ago, September 8, 2010. It was a bright and sunny morning. The cemetery looked so calm and serene. The trees were swaying along to the melancholic beats of the brass band. While the air's soothing breeze caressed my face gently as if it were Granny's palms.
As the casket was being lowered to the ground, the trumpet sounds were drowned by the increasing wailings of those she left behind. Us. I can't help but sigh knowing that the person inside is someone very dear to me.
After sometime i realized that I have to accept reality. Release her. And let her go. Give her some sense of closure. A finality. Send her off to a better place where she can laugh and giggle with the angels all day long.
Though her earthly body is no longer with us, her memory will continue to live on. Her love will forever be etched in our hearts. And everytime i'll miss her, I need not look far. All I have to do is close my eyes and I know she'll always be there.
I love you so so so much my dearest Granny...someday we'll see each other again!