sunsets always held lots of meaning to me: they were always a beautiful sight to behold, a conclusion to the day, a spark of hope for a better tomorrow, an artistic inspiration for a better blend of colours in a technicolour life (and whatever else you may interpret it as)
but for today, the sunset means something else to me entirely: the end.
the day started like any other, with me getting out of bed a little close to noon and dragging my feet to work, loathing the pile of work I had waiting for me. if only I’d known that today would turn out differently from the others.
in reading so many books and novels, I’d always imagined death to be poetic— that is to say, when a person dies, the skies gray and the animals still themselves and hearts drop and a somber mood fills the air. perhaps, then, I’ve been disillusioned by the idea of death and what it really brings.
I was just going about my work as usual— compiling questions from various colleges’ literature exam papers— and gotten bored of seeing The Duchess of Malfi and Death and the King’s Horseman over and over again when I’d gotten a call from my mother. I was a little surprised, seeing as my mother never called me on weekdays unless it was to pick me up from work or to ask me what I wanted for dinner (and even then she would warn me by dropping me a text). instead, she was frantic on the line and had only one thing to tell me:
my only surviving maternal grandparent had just passed on. and we were to hurry over to see him one last time before the caretakers took the body away.
I didn’t believe my ears; the first thought I had was “is someone playing a prank on me?”
but deep down I knew this to be all too true and had even anticipated it— what else does one expect of an ailing person in his late eighties?
all we could do then was to make our way over before it was too late. and during the car ride this sunset was glaring at me. every minute thing begins to hold a lot more meaning than it usually does.
being in the room made me realise that no, death is not poetic: the world doesn’t stop revolving simply because someone has left the land of the living— but to the deceased’s loved ones, the world around them has been irrevocably altered. the art of passing is not poetic, but it holds the deepest of meanings to those affected.
all I can do now is mourn and feel regret over how unfilial a grandchild I’d been. in viewing the body I’d called for my grandparent repeatedly and it seemed as if his eyes were fluttering open. my rational side was disbelieving but my irrational side liked to believe that it was because I was the favourite grandchild (and only granddaughter) and he’d held out for me. now, I don’t know what to believe.
what scares me the most now is the finality of death and how permanent it is. I’m reminded that nobody lives forever and we’ve to make the most of what we have in the now else we’d regret things when it’s too late.
if you’re reading this, please don’t wait to be filial or good or loving— take action now. I feel as if I’ve made too many excuses and kept putting things off and this is the lesson I learn in return. do what you can before it’s too late.
death is not poetic but it can become the richest form of art ever to exist.
I’m sorry. please forgive me.
“That was the thing. You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it’s reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you, and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.”
― The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen