Part 07

A story needs drama. But life is mostly insipid, washed
monochrome. And those are the better days. Death
demands more histrionics. A bigger stage. I wonder
about the distance to death, how many steps, how many
detours. What if I cannot walk all the way? What if I know
I am dead, for a day, for a year, what will I think about?
What will I miss? What will I want to go back for?

But the day she died, the one that took her life, I didn’t
understand the horror. There is a flurry of activity when
someone passes: there are things to get done, grief to
be expressed, people to be met. A kinetic filling of
the void. Instead of quiet. Instead of explanations.

The nightmares came later. When I was still young. When
I got older. The dead leave questions. Your life is no longer
directed towards your own end. It somehow points to
theirs. What do they think about? What do they miss? What
do they want to come back for? In the nightmares, she still
lives. And requires answers. Those are the better nights. But
this is an ordinary story. Mornings are always on schedule.

17 thoughts on “Part 07

  1. It is so odd that death invigorates life so with magnitudes, memories & nightmares. The calibration is loudest between yearning and loss. Ordinary life needs those to keep from falling asleep. … Write on …

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  2. Ah yes, I remember after Andrew died, there was SO much to attend to all of a sudden – and ongoingly, for a long time. In the end I decided it was helpful, to have my mind taken off the grieving for a while; gave me time to adjust. (It was not, of course, so with that other death I’ve been writing about.)

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  3. “Your life is no longer
    directed towards your own end. It somehow points to
    theirs.” Very true. I like the space, specially the narrative in between “what will I think about?” and “What do they think about?”.

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  4. This line struck me so deeply “The dead leave questions.” Questions they are not there to answer, a void your mind fills with its own answers, and its own questions in a sleep-breaking, endless, sterile procession. The nightmares, too. You bring us so completely here the bewildering loss of someone, and the decent into chaos we try to order with all our rituals and coping mechanisms, that yet leaves all the central matter floating like an iceberg, nine-tenths submerged, in our consciousness. Very fine writing.

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  5. Exquisite prose, Rajani. This stands out for me, having lost my mom in June of this year:
    “A kinetic filling of
    the void. Instead of quiet. Instead of explanations.”
    You’ve captured the realm surrounding the passing of a loved one so well in this chapter.

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  6. The death of a loved one throws all ideas of normal out the window. It coats all the “ordinary” moments that live in our memory with a spikey nostalgia.

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