cold hands

Cover Image

The night is clear and we are all so bitter at the irony in it. Stars seem to gleam just for us. The frigid air has a way of reminding us why we are here. It has been a long, exhausting week since the news of our grandmother’s death arrived. The light makes my eyes burn now. Everyday tasks have become challenges so overwhelming that just the thought of them provokes a mental breakdown. My head is consumed with a dull, growling pain and thinking encourages a pounding that is virtually unstoppable.
The church is beautiful but cold and empty. My cousins and I find courage in ourselves and in each other to find seats in the front near the casket.
There was so much tension in the air this morning before the funeral that you could feel it wherever you went. Going to your grandmother’s funeral is not really an occasion that you feel compelled to dress up for, nonetheless all of the parents insisted that we look our best. My cousins and I have shared the same house for about a week now. Somehow we have managed to form a closer bond with each other in this one week than we had ever thought was possible. All of us have been deeply touched by our grandmother at one point in our lives. She had the ability to soften the most rigid person with a single touch. Even though the basis on which we are together in this one house is to mourn her death, together we know that we have created something that can never die.
Everyone is in constant contact with each other as sources of comfort. The tears are relentlessly pouring down my face and they fall onto the backs of my hands, which clutch another pair that is close to mine. The sounds that I hear are unbearable. Those sobbing, grieving noises that I wish would just go away. Finally I realize what I wouldn’t let myself see… that those noises are coming from me. I don’t want to acknowledge what my eyes show me. The strongest people I know are breaking down, crumbling before my eyes like an old building falling to pieces. And I cry for them. They cry for their departed mother and I cry tears over tears for them. The service is almost finished and I feel blind, deaf and mute. A dull pain is making the inside of my chest hurt. The butterflies in my stomach have been going crazy for some time now. I am literally helpless and all the emotions overpower me at the thought of seeing this end.
My head spins at the sight of so much movement. People are getting up to leave. My cousins sense my immobility and help me from my seat.
United, we say our goodbyes to the one we have loved so much, who has left us. But this figure in the casket is not my grandmother. Nothing is real.
“Come on, I have to hold her hand one last time. Let's light a candle. Come with me Aji. Come with me and take her other hand.” My cousin is just like the rest of us and is unwilling to let go. “I can’t. It isn’t her. I won’t.” The ground comes crashing up to me. I can’t see anymore and everything else is blurry too; the sounds; the smells; the feelings. Someone is pressing me so tightly against themselves now that I can’t feel myself shaking anymore.
“Oh my God! Aji, her hands…her hands are freezing!” her voice quavers and her eyes are full of terror behind the layer of forming tears. Her entire body shakes uncontrollably. Everyone is broken, and once again my emotions bring me smashing suddenly into a mess of tears on the ground. “No! No…They are frozen…? !” Complete disbelief is what she feels as she sees the reality of what we have all been struggling to come to terms with. We embrace her vulnerability and she is engulfed in love. She knows we all share the same pain and the same fear.
Everything is a deep dark maroon, red passionate with love but blackened by death. The flames lit make flickering shadows on walls and pews against soft orange light. Everything seems as if it is happening in slow motion, but the feelings are falling, pouring, crashing like the power of a thousand waterfalls. As we enter the night once again, we are still. Our minds race with raging thunder clouds and we feel the cold bitterness of having to accept what is now real. 
Awe fills the air,
As the sting is slowly washed away.
The crackle and the flash
Of the recent past
Will always be remembered.
The unbelievable thought,
As the news rushes in
The implication of reality
Impacts with a bang
…Although is trying to be ignored.
Future is now questionable,
Dreams left unfulfilled.
Questions left unanswered,
Stories left untold,
Mysteries left unfolded,
Goodbyes left unsaid…
Confusion sets in,
As all comes to reality
How could this be,…
How could it end,…
How can I live without,…
An outpour proceeds
Down, and down
Until it all comes to a
Crashing, Smashing, Halt.

Created: Mar 07, 2014

Tags: sadness, funeral, death, story

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