underneath a paper tent

*a posting two weeks after*

Fully clothed in black colours – winter coat, combat boats and cotton scarf – my body tumbles into the hotel bed. Like a tower of legos, I topple over sideways until my head crashes into the fluffy pillow and my brown curls flop across it’s edges. Sigh. Inhale the solitude. Silence.

I am thankful to be alone.

Finally, the quietening of weeping and sniffling and laughter and chatter. Engines roar in muffled spurts outside the window. The hotel refrigerator hums a steady tune. A drum plays discomforting melodies in my head. My eyes too are dried up wells. I administer some advil to myself.

Everything around me is blurry. The picture framed over the bed is a mash of browns and reds and blues. I have no idea what the picture is. The ceiling is a white abyss, all lines and dotes have merged into one. The room itself is a singular sort of colour, all shades smooched into one. All details are unknown to me. This is what happens when I remove my contacts – the lenses that give me clarity and the ability to see rightly.

Today feels like a world without my contacts. The pieces don’t fit and the moments seep into each other, until time seems to move as a singular unit.

I saw the adults I respect most in my life weep for a dearly loved sister/daughter/mother/wife. My grandpa held tightly to my grandma as they spoke to the crowd of friends and family about their daughters life. How she is dancing with the angels, rejoicing with no pain. How one day we will see her again.

Underneath a paper tent, we placed roses on her grave. The sky wept raindrop tears and the clouds painted themselves the colours of ashes. Two sisters held onto each other, trembling, and together placed a red rose on the grave. My uncle wept behind me with his arm tucked across my shoulder, and I held his hand tightly. My mother embraced her brother – the two youngest siblings that grew up admiring their older sister – with many tears and trembling. I had to look the other direction. It was too much, the moment too beautiful. It made me weep. Because all I could hear was the heaved breathing and stifled sobs and sniffling and I love yous of two siblings that were going to miss their older sister very much.

I do not have anything profound to say about grief. Indeed I know very little about this entirely ugly and beautiful process. But I do know this. That it is breathtaking to witness – and not only witness, but be part of – a family that grieves a loved one together and [literally] holds on to each other in the weeping and continues to declare hope that one day we will see her again. A family that rejoices in her beautiful soul and a life that lived well and loved abundantly: A women who delighted in the one who matters most and is with him now, suffering no longer.

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