I thought I knew what grief was

Your thought grief would just be the omnipresent lump in your throat or the unexplainable ache in your legs, but it’s so much more than that. 

They say grief is love persevering. What they don’t tell you is how grief turns you juvenile and aged at the same time. Grief is following your mother around at the funeral because you’re lost and scared and don’t know anyone, but it’s also sleeping 9 hours and still feeling exhausted.

Grief is the pain in your right abdomen that you only feel when yawning. You’ve never had to clutch your stomach like this before. It feels almost theatrical. 

Grief is asking why, why so soon, and why her. Grief is the relentless questions that come, peppering, but you know no one has a damn clue. So you pen them down and tell yourself you don’t need answers. It’s not helping.

Grief is trying to sleep in your favourite chair back at her now-purposeless apartment, but crying once you closed your eyes. You never even know tears could escape from shut eyes. Grief is covering your face with your hair (and looking like a ghost amidst a solemn family gathering) because you refuse to let your family see those tears.

Grief is braving your dust allergy to go through dozens of old photo albums, filled before you were born. Then, upon realising her left eyebrow is slightly more arched, grief is rapidly Googling “are eyebrow shapes hereditary” because there’s nothing you want more than to have inherited any physical characteristic from her — if only so you can carry a part of her with you — even when she gave birth to your father and you look exactly like your mother.

Grief is wondering whether you deserve to cry. And then crying anyway when you see her face in the coffin. It feels uncomfortable. You’ve never seen her wearing red lipstick before. Fuck, you’ve never seen a dead body before. 

You haven’t even attended a funeral before. No wonder you don’t know what grief is or how it feels. It’s been three weeks since she passed and you still don’t know anything. 

(Note: I wrote this the day I heard the news. The writing was disjointed, with no proper flow or coherence. It’s been three weeks since and it stings less, so I rewrote and edited it last night. Then I went to sleep and dreamt about her funeral again.)

BANNER CREDIT: UNSPLASH/@GERALTYICHEN

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