You think you’ve gotten over someone’s death, that you’ve come to terms with your loss. That you’re done with your grieving. That you have moved on.
Then, one fine day, you see reminders of your beloved and tears flow again. It has been more than seven months since my mother passed away. These past few days, I have been getting fresh reminders of her. During Sunday worship for example, I can’t remember what it was that triggered my memory of mum but it was painful enough to bring tears to my eyes.
For dinner yesterday, I cooked black pomfret in tomato sauce just like how mum used to cook it. Later that evening, I went to Aeon with the kids and saw a middle-aged woman who walked like mum and again I thought of her. On Monday evening, we had pot-luck with my siblings and their families at mum’s house. It was just like old times, except that mum wasn’t there.
I have friends who lost their sons even before they reach the prime of life. Ben was 15, Wei Xiang was 8 when they were called home by the Lord. My heart goes out to their families who are still struggling to cope with their grief. When death comes unexpectedly and before its perceived time, we are caught by surprise. It may take a long time to recover from the pain of the loss especially when you are constantly inundated by reminders of them everywhere.
When you eat chicken rice, you remember that it’s his favourite food. When you walk past the computer where he’s spent hours playing, you see his lingering shadow. When you walk past his room, you remember how he used to snuggle down to sleep. When you see Pokemon at the toy shop, you remember that it was his favourite toy. When the Harry Potter movie comes to town, it tears your heart to pieces because if he were alive, he would badger you to take him to the cinema. When someone of the same age as him celebrates his birthday, you think of how tall your boy would’ve grown had he lived.
Memories… they can cause so much pain but when the ache subsides, we can smile at how our lives have been enriched by our beloved when they were alive.