As I was walking down our lane the other evening, I spotted several fireflies darting about. One of those little moments, when the ordinary is exquisite, I immediately stored the sight mentally, adding it to a little list I keep. This is the list of snippets and experiences I keep, to share with my father when I phone or see him. It must have been no more than a nanosecond before I of course remembered that I would no longer have the opportunity to share these little moments. I was almost physically winded by the thud of realisation.
I had thought when I returned to Yangon that perhaps grief might be a little kinder given that I am not surrounded by daily reminders of my father. I am not living in the same physical space and do not have those shared routines constantly prompting and reminding. Such naivety. Of course I am surrounded by reminders. Loss is not something external, it is within us. Contained within our emotions and memories. Losing someone does not mean that the emotional ties are gone. They are there forever.
Those reminders are everywhere. Because they are within me not without. When I received a Father’s Day marketing email from Pinterest yesterday, telling me that it is not too late and I “still have time to plan something for dad”, I found it hard to contain a mix of grief and anger. I do not still have time. It is too late. This is one of those gruelling hurdles, the first Father’s Day “without”. Without my father. I never will again have the opportunity to have that Father’s Day phone conversation, the line crackling across the distance, as I share those little snippets which I have saved up. But I can’t fairly accuse Pinterest of being insensitive. It is my association and emotions which prompt the reaction it does, rubbing invisible little sprinklings of salt into my too raw wounds. It is within me, not without.
Grief’s intensity lessens, but the loss is for a lifetime.