A companion of almost 50 years, when she saw him lying there, her expression was pensive, I assumed back then. Just deep in thought. Even though his eyes were closed, he looked melancholic, sad to have gone. What do you think of when you lose someone? You reminisce? But it isn’t the same to remember without the person who is in your memories. You can’t discuss it and paint the picture yet again. You are left with your own unreliable memory, and especially under the circumstances of having lost someone, it is more so. All cloudy.
I was a child back then, unaware of etiquettes in such situations, and yet I had to stay there. It was my first time, observing someone’s death. Someone close. Yes, he was closer to many more, his own children. They had broken down completely. The scene that met my eye wasn’t pleasant and I had no idea what to say or what to do. At first, I was in another flat. I was asked to stay with my sisters elsewhere. They are younger to me and were younger still back then. What were they to understand? I understood but I felt comfortable away from it all. I wasn’t ready. I was and still am not good at condolences. Then I was asked to say my final goodbye. The scene that met my eye was not pleasant but the strength that I observed in the melancholic calmness of my Grandfather, lying there motionless and my Grandmother, staring at him, was inexplicable. What do you do when you’ve lost a companion you thought will remain with you till the end of time? She had no life but him. It was a different kind of love, existing even on that day, expressed pensively.
I saw calmness in life and death that day. Death is not all about panic forever. It is, initially and the hurt remains much longer. But the calmness spread through acceptance shows somewhere in the middle. And it showed, on her face, lost in thought as she was. It showed, on his face, transported to a better world, we hoped. There was still love in her eyes. She was deriving strength from his still. She was and will always be one of the strongest people I know and I admire. An innocent yet silently gallant human. She kept deriving strength from the memories. I saw pensiveness in the life in her. But he lay there lifeless, my Grandfather. I myself was looking back at all the times I had spent with him. All the things he had done for me. All the fights we had had nearing the end as his senescence hit and adamancy grew. Yet, I looked back. But he looked pensive too, and I saw pensiveness in death. Maybe he was sad about leaving us all. Maybe he was focused on letting her know that he shares her calmness; he is a part of her reverie. Maybe. We wouldn’t know, we can only guess.
I remember going over and sitting next to her, placing my head on her shoulder, stroking her arm. I couldn’t do anything else. And maybe I became less of a kid that day, I understood the transaction. I got up and touched his feet, touched his cold face, whispered I’ll miss you and stood aside, letting the pensiveness engulf me.
P.S. Post for the daily word prompt – Pensive. Consistently straying away from consistency! 🙂