This house feels so empty, lonely and cold. My mother’s presence used to fill it up with warmth. The aroma of her simple but hearty meals cooked with love, her loud laughter, made it warm and welcoming. She knew how to turn a house into a home.
No matter how much I try, her shoes are too big for me to fill. A double dose of loss and grief has become a dark cloud over my life, too heavy for my weary shoulders to carry. Every day, I feel myself falling into a dark dingy hole. Sometimes a simple thing like breathing feels like hard labour.
Dad is sitting across me at the dinner table, quiet, staring at his supper, having it in portion in between long periods of being deep in thought. A distant, sad look replaced his bubbly, energetic personality the day we buried my mother. I often wonder how he is coping, he rarely says a word these days. He spends most of his days sitting on his favourite chair outside on the veranda, staring at distant mountains. Deep in thought.
“Baba,” I say, when he has finished eating, “Do you think you will ever be able to get over mom’s passing?”
“No my daughter, I will never get over it,” he answers, slowly pushing his plate away, before wiping his hands with the table cloth.
“But why Baba? She is gone, eventually you will have to move on with your life.”
He clears his throat, before answering.
“You see my daughter, when your mother passed away, I died with her. When her coffin was lowered into the ground, I was there with her. When we covered her grave with soil and buried her forever, I was buried with her,” he said, looking directly at me, his eyes slowly watering with tears.
“I don’t understand Baba, what do you mean? Because I am sitting with you here, you’re alive.”
He took a long sip from his glass of water, and continued, “I was married to your mother for 35 years, she was my life. When someone like that passes away, nothing ever feels the same, they take a part of you with them,” he took another sip of water, wiped his eyes before continuing, “ When she died, a big part of me died with her, so no, I will never get over her passing.”
“I hear you Baba, this must be very hard on you, the pain I feel cannot be compared to what you are going through.” Now I am feeling a warmth in my eyes, tears were preparing to flow down my face, I had opened wounds I was trying to heal.
“Right now my daughter, this man sitting in front of you has no name, his life has no meaning. I am trying to search for the meaning of my existence.”
“I am sorry Baba.” Now I am sobbing, trying to keep myself together, but everything comes back, as if it was yesterday.
Just a week after we buried my mother, while I was trying to make sense of it all, my boyfriend died in a horrific accident, the driver of the car they were travelling in to work, lost control and collided with an oncoming truck, they died on the scene. I was crushed.
At his funeral, my body was numb, arrested, without any clear emotion. Nothing made sense. It was like a bad dream, but I never woke up from it.
“My daughter, every night I weep for you more than I cry for myself. I carry your pain with me, no matter what I am doing. I try to pray for you to heal, but God is so quiet, it’s like he has left this house.”
Baba’s words opens a flood gate of tears from my eyes, I try to wipe them away, but he holds both my hands, we cry together. We’re holding hands; father and daughter. After something like twenty minutes, he looks at me, grief written all over his face, so vulnerable. It is the first time I am seeing him like this.
“My daughter, with time you will heal, you will find another man and you will be happy, I will pray for you, and I know your mother is looking out for you too. You’re too young to be going through so much pain, I admire your strength, you took after your mother,” he says, tears still running down his face.
“Thank you Baba.” I stand up, take the dishes and put them into the sink. I continue, “Good night Baba.” I walk to my room, for another sleepless night. I am empty and cold inside, just like this house. Maybe Baba is right, God left this house when my mother died, and when my boyfriend died, I died with him too.
I am only 22 years old, but just like my father, already I need a new name, another life, a new meaning for my existence. It all came too early for me.
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