Slice of life series #2
I lost my 92-year-old grandmother yesterday. She led a full life and was possibly the only women in her time to travel abroad all alone for 6 months even before she got married.
She was undoubtedly one of the most progressive women of her generations that I knew of.
I recall her being one of the few to tell me while I was expecting each of my treasured daughters (Baby Zo & Zi), that the gender doesn’t matter. All that is important is that the baby is healthy. It was something that I will always remember about her with fondness because as I grew older, I began to realize that people considered it a privilege to give birth to a certain gender. This thought left me shocked each time and each shock curdled the same sense of disgust in me because I was never brought up in an environment that discussed this issue because it was NEVER an issue. And thus, the extreme likeness for her progressive nature and mindset that set her apart from her peers at every stage of her life.
The last few years were tough on her with age catching up but her authoritative streak never relented and so to me her life ought to be celebrated than mourned. Life is transient and so is this body. We all need to live it now so that there is more to celebrate when we are gone.
Somehow during the last rites yesterday, I realized that people don’t yet have this outlook. In fact, my approach towards bereavement maybe frowned upon by many.
Bickering over someone walking in with shoes doesn’t matter. What we need to hold dear in our hearts is that every person who walks in there has a memory chiseled in their hearts about her that makes them smile.
Someone not covering their head appropriately during the prayers or one set of ceremonial formalities being missed or conducted a tad skewed, holds little relevance but the good wishes and strength that all pray for means something.
The fact that food needs to paid for by a certain set of relatives is inconsequential but the fact that all those around are willing to pitch in and help in every possible capacity is of more significance.
Let’s try focusing on the rights even though they be implemented askew.
Let’s try focusing on the laughs and not the cries.
Let’s focus on the happiness and not the sadness.
Sadness will come and go, it is fleeting. It will always be a part of life. Happiness and Sadness are two ends of the same spectrum. You will never appreciate one if the other doesn’t touch your soul. But once you learn to appreciate the happiness, you are sure to cherish it more, sprinkle it along and around wherever you go.
Grief is different to each person. You may choose to smile at the memories or cry at the vacuum you feel in your heart. You can momentarily be sad too. We are all human. It is your choice and it is your life. I choose to smile through the angst even if it is accompanied with tears.
Do not fear to openly express that you wish to celebrate life than to mourn death. There is nothing wrong about it. It doesn’t cast aspersions on you for loving any less or being less human. It is just the way you choose to love. And the people who still choose to judge, let them meander on their own journey towards finding the light.
It’s time we normalize celebration of life