‘Beautiful’ she says, as she puts her delicate finger under my chin.
I try my best to battle the fast forming tears in my eyes….tears I thought I was never capable of.
‘Those eyes you have, just like your fathers’ she smiles.
I’ve seen my grandmother dress up a million times and take the effort to look her best, and yet she has never looked lovelier than she looks now, on this bed. I guess it was the feeling of satisfaction that was wrapped around her.
I watch her drift in and out of her sleep and I taste my own salty tears. And suddenly, I blurt out “I love you. I love you very much”. And a wave of regret follows. Why haven’t I said this to her often? Why haven’t I thanked her for all that she’s done for me? All those afternoons spent listening to old music. All those times I was too busy doing something else, making other plans.
She smiles. Enthusiastically, even now.
I try hard not to fall asleep. Coz I don’t want to miss a single moment. The past few days have been hazy. Everyone has been taking turns to be by gran’s side. It’s like having a baby. But it’s the opposite end of the story.
Tons of novels, answering calls, caffeine overdose pretty much make up for last week. Optimism was the theme for everyone. Not that we were living in denial. We just wanted to evade the bitterness. In these final moments, I wanted the love to remain, to overcome the sadness and the bitterness.
My gran, she likes me a lot.
My mom, I know she wishes I was more lady-like and that I kept my room clean. My dad, he most likely wishes that I was more……..well, just more. My friends, they wish I was less random and don’t get stressed out too much.
But they all love me. All of them. But love isn’t the same as liking, is it? And I don’t know how complex love can be, so I settle for liking and acceptance. More than anything, my gran, she makes me feel like a real person. And honestly, I do know how difficult that can be. But it came so naturally to her.
I miss her already. Her soft hands, her sweet smelling Cuticura powder, her favorite word ‘beautiful’ , the sound of her voice singing songs, her lovely and genuine smile, all those small things made my gran the woman I loved so dearly. The woman whom I won’t hear hum while making food or play scrabble with and lose badly.
In her sickness, our family became closer than ever (see, she did good even in her final days). The awkward glances we gave each other all saying the same things, that we’ll cherish her forever. We all look for the right words to say. Some of us mentally prepare for what we’re going to say later at the condolence meet.
Although the million people’s lives she has touched, dare not put her in just a few words, I think I’ll need just one. Her favorite one as always. ‘Beautiful’.