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The Shadow Beside Me


I have never known a more beautiful, complicated feeling than that of grief. The overwhelming sense of sadness to the point where your shoulders can bear no more, yet, moments filled with chuckles and slight smiles recalling fond memories of the ones we lost.

Death is a concept I understand and even accepted until I found myself standing over the lifeless body of my father. Once filled with blood running through his veins and eyes that would light up reminiscing on jokes from the past were now as cold as ice and eyes that would remain tightly sealed forever.

I have experienced different stages of grief in my life. The grief of recovering from an illness I have no recollection of experiencing except the aftermath. Grief from the one who was supposed to alleviate my burdens but instead, used as an opportunity for infidelity while my father lay in agony. And the grief, the one which has forever left me hollow, holding onto the last bit of warmth in the inner corner of my father's elbow before letting go, realizing I would never know this feeling ever again.

“Grief is linear,” a statement I once heard on a podcast. There are moments of feeling at ease knowing this was a part of God's plan in the grand scheme of things. And there are also moments of disbelief when in the middle of a workday, there is a brief thought that crosses the mind of someone no longer existing in this world; having to actively snap out of it to come back to reality.

I search for my father in everything. I sit in his closet and hold a piece of the cloth he was wrapped in when his body was put into the ground. I ponder upon our tainted relationship and, if maybe, we spent years just misunderstanding one another. I drive by the hospital where I last saw him alive, laughing and assuring him this would all be over soon, feeling a tightness in my chest as I speed up to get away.

But that’s the thing, I can’t get away. I simply do not want to get away. This grief will remain with my family and I every single day. The grief brings us together, allowing us to sit with each other and recall his small habits. It enables us to go to the others bedroom at 1 am to cry for him without speaking any words. The grief has made the graveyard my comfort place. When filled with anxiety and complete numbness, there is some form of clarity while standing over his grave, where all my thoughts somehow collect together and make sense.

Grief is not something that needs to be resolved. There is absolutely no resolution in grief, as it remains imprinted on the heart and mind until we take our last breath and leave this world as did our loved ones. There is grief in the loss of the ones we spent years with, knowing their every pattern, and that of those who were gone before we could understand what it is that makes them laugh.

I fear the day I am no longer in grief, for it will mean I have forgotten him.

And so, I carry grief as if it were my own shadow, following me and appearing at unexpected moments. Yet, it is always there. It comes out with the sun and hides away with the clouds. But it never truly leaves my side, and I hope it never does.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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