I imagine this is what she would have looked like.
The purified, wispy white hair of later old age peeking out from behind her headscarf, loosely arranged around her rosy face. The same kind eyes and gentleness. Except, she would have had strength even then – that brilliant liveliness and loudness, the same sense of humour that so boldly painted her personality.
It’s been 10 years, my Mother reminds me.
How could it have been? Life has grown around the wound, the hollowness that was left once she was snatched away. The pain has dwarfed in comparison to 10 years of life. But it never fully went away. It never will. Grief is the mark Love leaves behind, it is where we pour all of our feelings, our care and frustration, our anger, our despair once there is no one to receive it.
Seeing her always triggers a back and forth between tears and hope. Tears because they look too similar – it’s like seeing her, hearing her, feeling her again.
And hope, gratitude that something of her survives.
How many people get that? How many people get to have such vivid recollections? As though the person was truly there again, for just a second. Who gets that? I do.
It is a kindness. It hurts but it is a kindness all the same.
I’m always a little shaken after these encounters. We all are. My sisters burst into tears as soon as they saw her. She understands, they all do. They know the pain of loss, how tender it leaves you in places, even if it’s been 10 or 20 or 50 years.
I’m 25 and well, I want to tell her. Life is long at 25; everything has both changed and remained the same. I think of you even now.
For now, these thoughts will keep falling in the timeless space of grief. But someday, someday…