The finality of death and the desperation to hold on

It’s a month today since he’s gone. Do things feel different? I don’t know. Am I more upset today than I was yesterday? Perhaps not. Is it that we just give undue importance to dates than they deserve? What’s a week or a month or a year? That he’s gone is now a reality and no date, no time, no moment can change it. All I can do now is look back on moments we spent together and be thankful for them.

Let me go back to the day that I found out about this.

12th August 2015

Just like that he was a pile of ashes. And I wanted a part of it. I wanted so many things in the last few hours, something to hold on to – his hand, a lock of his hair, or a small part of his ashes. I didn’t get any of this. Since we cremate our dead and disperse their ashes in water, I didn’t even get a grave marker. A place where I could go and talk to him sometime. Or just sit in silence, that he alone would understand. So he’s vanished really, gone in entirely leaving no trace.

I didn’t even get his stuff back. People had made off with his rings (including our wedding ring), his bag, and his phone. They had emptied his wallet and returned the shell to us along with another phone that looked completely crushed. They didn’t return even the clothes that he was wearing. I just got the shoes in a plastic bag. It was just stuff – immaterial – still it was his! Some last token to hold on to.

I took what I got and kept it in my bag automatically. I think exhaustion was taking over as I went for the ritual bath after the cremation. Still I wondered what I was trying to wash off, because the smell of death remains no matter how hard you scrub. And as hot water mingled with hot tears, I wondered if I should go and meet him. A few handfuls of sleeping pills should be enough!


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