Clearing a ton of photographs from my phone recently made me realise that I am the kind of person who is afraid to forget about all the beautiful things that I have ever set my eyes upon on this earth. That is why I take photographs of everything – places, people, things, sunrises and sunsets; basically everything because I believe that in everything’s own ways, everything on this earth is just so beautiful. And I don’t ever want to forget any of that, or any of those moments.
I guess that is probably how I am practically a photograph hoarder right now. (Thank god for the improvement in technology and the existence of hard disks with huge memory space)
That aside, I also remember the times when I was completely in the moment of whatever that was happening and I could not take my phone out to take a photograph to remember that moment forever. Moments when I am sad, or when I am in a complete state of trance (or I would call, temporarily on another planet).
Times like this, I try to write.
So that I’ll never forget.
It was a good morning and my brother and I made plans to go to the gym in the morning. We were right about done with our workout and we were about to go grab our bags and leave the gym to go home – when I received a call from my Dad.
“Come over to Grandpa’s house now, he passed away this morning.”
My brother and I left the gym immediately without changing. As we were taking the steps down the stadium to the main road, I remember asking myself why I was feeling so calm. This was never how I expected would happen – I’ve always thought that I would break into tears immediately, or that I would let out a loud and long wail as I collapsed onto whatever ground I was standing on before. But I did none of that. I was calm. Scarily calm, but calm.
Got home and showered and changed and left the house hurriedly with my brother. On the train ride there, I was calm. I was still smiling. The sun was in my face as we stood near the transparent windows on the train and I felt a kind of warmth that was different than usual. I was calm.
Upon reaching our station, my brother and I sped walked to my Grandparents’ house. Soon we were there and we rode the elevator up. I remember feeling like it could all be okay in the end, somehow. Because I was calm.
I walked into the place and the first person that I saw was my mother. She was walking around the living room. I walked into the house slowly and looked to my left. At my first glance, I saw my grandfather and I was afraid. I looked away quickly and walked on straight ahead immediately. My cousin came out from the kitchen and asked my brother and I if we wanted to eat some noodles cause my uncle was cooking some in the kitchen. I remembered thinking to myself, ‘How could anyone eat anything at a time like this?”
I went into my uncle’s room and placed my bag down, along with my mum’s and other aunts’ and cousins’ things. I took a deep breath as I peaked out the door and took small steps out into the living room, where most of my family were gathered then.
I looked up straight as I took a step out the room and into the living room. I was looking at my Grandfather’s carcass, and I looked away again. My uncle asked me why did I look away.
I wanted to walk away. It just didn’t feel right. I was afraid to look. I have never seen a carcass before or been in the same place as a carcass before. This was my first time.
As I took a step away from him, my aunt came over, placing her arms around me. She moved me one step forward, towards my grandfather.
“Look on now my dear, before you could never see him again.”
For a minute right there, everything felt silent. It was like everything became background chatter and it was just me, and my grandfather. I looked at him. I looked at the white bubbles that were formed near his mouth. He probably coughed that up right before he left. I looked at his frail, small body. I realised all the weight that he had lost. I looked at his wrinkled, dark, patchy and spotty skin. I looked at him as his body just laid there, unmoving. It didn’t even look like he was sleeping. It looked like he left and all that was left was just that – a body with bones and skin and a face that looked like my grandpa.
My aunt walked away. I felt the sides of my mouth curling upside down. I went into my uncle’s room and sat down.
I started to cry.
I felt an ache in my heart that was so heavy that I could not grasp for air.
All I could do was try to breathe; and cry.