Triggers

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My eyes are crusty when I wake. In the dim light of dawn, I scrub my face and realize I have been crying. The kind of heaving, sobbing, heavy crying, deep in the throes of sleep. I went to bed thinking of my father in law who is recovering from an infection. Somewhere in my mind, the thoughts of one father morphed into another. The smells of the hospital, the constant beeping of monitors, the peering through the glass windows of the ICU, the defeatism that pervaded the waiting rooms.

The waterlogged body of my Appa, the waxen skin, the dead eyes, the sheen of moisture as he lay inside an icebox. The wailing, the grief that shook me inside out. I relived all of it through the night. I tossed and turned and revisited all those parts in my head I had blocked out. And I cried.

Death is a strange thing. We power through the initial days with the attitude of “I have to push through this” then we postpone grief, parcel it into tiny packages we can process slowly. We linger over photographs, rage against everything that could have changed outcomes and finally let the defeat wash over us. We think the hot grief is behind us and think of the good days, the pleasant moments and learn to laugh and smile.

Then something triggers the grief again and we wash it away in tears.