Friday, 16 November 2012

The problem with no solution.

My grandaunt's husband passed away today. I was never really close to him, and only saw him a few times a year. At dinners here and there, apart from the usual Chinese New Year family gatherings. But he'd always been very gentle, very kind, and very nice - he and my grandaunt were, like, the only old people in the family who didn't constantly criticize my size or weight. And he was one of the few elders in the family who spoke English. He had a good life - a loving wife, a happy retirement, successful children, happy grandchildren.

When I first got the news, I didn't know how I would feel about it. At first I thought, oh, it's going to be just like the news of death of a distant relative - you say oh, that's sad, didn't really know him, the family's going to miss him. But then I lay in bed and stared up at the ceiling and realized just how much he was going to be missed - and by who, and tears started streaming down my cheeks.

I remembered the image of my grandaunt crying at my grandfather's funeral just a few months ago. She was sad, she had lost her brother, and my grandfather was a wonderful man. But what about losing her husband? The pain and grief can only be amplified. I thought about that crying face, and how much she must be mourning her husband's death. Losing the person you wake up next to every morning, the one you care about most in the world, the one you've spent almost everyday of the last 40 or 50 years of your life with... the pain is inevitable. It's like a problem in your mind's heart that you can't fix, the problem with no solution. If you're a little kid and you fall down and scrape your knee, your wound heals over time and the problem goes away. If you have a problem with your boss at work, you can leave your job or request a transfer, and the problem goes away. If your car ran out of gas and you need to get home, you can call a cab, and the problem goes away. But if you lose the love of your life and the person you've shared so much of your life with, well, that loss doesn't go away. The days ahead look emptier, never the same again.

I cried for my grandaunt. But I hope she knows that she is still surrounded by other people who love her, like I do.