It is the eighth anniversary of my mother’s passing. I can’t believe it’s been that long; I can’t believe it’s that short. Some days it feels like such a long time ago, others like it was just yesterday.

I am okay. I am better this year than I was last year. Last year I was a wreck. This year I am calm. But I did stay up till the exact time of her death of 2:42am and bawled into my pillow. I said the prayer I’ve said for her since she died, several times until I fell asleep. Several times, in case I said it wrong or it wasn’t clear enough the first few times. The plan was to go to the cemetery this morning but I was too tired.

I still see her sometimes. In my mind’s eye, I mean. I see her in this house, still. It is strange to be living in a house that used to house another person who is no longer alive. Every corner holds a memory. She’s here but she’s not. Her things are still here – her shoes are all still here.

I can picture her in her bedroom. She’s cooking in the kitchen with the radio on. I hear her singing along to an old Malay song.

I see her in the armchair in the living room. It wasn’t her favourite chair or anything. But I clearly remember her sitting there after her shower as she waited for me to change her bedsheets for her. She was too weak to do it herself. I can’t remember when this was exactly, either late August or early September. I had never changed her bedsheets for her, because you don’t really have a reason to change your parents’ bedsheets for them, do you? Later as I lotioned her legs I noticed how much weight she had lost. My mother, in better health, was rather plump. Now her cheeks were hollow, her shoulders bony. She moved slowly. She spoke softly. I finally admitted it to myself: my mother had terminal cancer.

Over time the crushing, heavy pain in my heart has become a dull ache, but if I think too hard, the grief is all new again. It’s a permanent part of my being now.


6 thoughts on “Eight

  1. I second that. You’re incredibly strong and brave. I want to hug you too.

    It’s not the same, but I sometimes swear that my Peepaw never really left my grandparent’s house. It’s not like I actually see him or “feel” anything more than this “his chair, his place” feeling. It’s sort of comforting, but heartbreaking, to feel like they’re still “here,” even when they’ve passed on.

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