I wake up each day this past week to the realization that my mom’s little sister, my little brother and sister’s mom, and “Masi” to so many of us has passed. Each time my eyes open, just for a moment I feel normal until it all comes rushing back. Grief chokes me into silence, and I strain to hear joy in our house. Down the hall, I sense mom wearily turning the newspapers pages, trying to put one more painful minute behind her. Next to me, I sense my wife move around restlessly, her wounded heart mourning for someone who treated her like a daughter way before our relationship.
The house reeks of a deep sadness that had barely begun to ease up for my dad, yet now we are now back smack in the middle of a deep longing for another loving soul gone. It is fitting that she left we say because now my dad has company and for the past decades, Baby Maasi was my dad’s partner in crime for music, grocery shopping, the farmer’s market and really anything that got them outdoors when many of us didn’t feel like it. They were brother and sister by marriage, and in action, they took that relationship to an inspirational level. Yet the unfairness of their death galls me. What about us? How do we pick up the pieces?
And then for a moment, I allow myself the crushing idea of “why bother? I am gonna die anyway?” And it does feel right, to not care, to just let things be, to lay back in bed, crawl up inside the blankets and just not feel. Then images of Papa and Baby Maasi come to mind, and it hits me that although both had health problems, they lived, no thrived! They did not focus on the unfairness of life or what they couldn’t do. They lived, and ensured those around them also did to. My dad and aunt never lost an opportunity to tell me they loved me.
So I let the silence linger for a moment, I stay in bed just for a minute longer, and then I let go. I get up. I push aside the blanket. Self-pity left behind as I get up to be present, to love, to let my mom, wife and family know they are not alone in this grief. This silence is not one they get to by themselves in. I can’t take the pain away, but that doesn’t mean I allow that to be a reason not to be there.
Life and death are part of my life. It will happen. Giving up not only dishonors their memory, it is selfish and weak. So I get up, and I need find ways to continue their legacy not bring it down.