of grief

I’ve told D a hundred times since the divorce – you’ll always be family to me. I’ve meant it every single time. I’m his family, whether or not he wants me to be.

I couldn’t think of a reason why I should be upset over the death of his mother (other than the fact that I lived with her for a few years), but I went anyhow. He needs his entire family around, I kept telling myself, even though he won’t say so.

My eyes welled up as soon as I saw a distant relative (a random one, not even someone I knew well) from across the road. As I got closer, other people shifted into focus. Bhaiya. Bhabhi. Didi. Mamaji. One of the other daughters-in-law, the one whose kid used to have an imaginary dinosaur as a pet. The four-year old kid who was so smitten with how I looked as a bride that she slept in our bed for the first few days, suddenly towering above a lot of elders, who had now begun to stoop. Everyone looked different.

I saw dad sitting in a corner with his hands folded, eyes closed, and head bowed, stoically listening to the hymns that were being sung. And then I saw D’s older brother, looking just like dad. I was surprised I never noticed the striking similarity when I lived in their home.

I heard murmurs. People were talking about how the ex-daughter-in-law had decided to show up. I avoided making eye contact for as long as I could, but I could feel the sides of my face burn with the attention. It was almost as though they were shocked that I came and were waiting for me to betray some emotion.

I think I did a pretty good job of staying stone-faced through the ceremony, but my walls crumbled the second the priest asked the family to step up.

I wanted to stand up but I couldn’t – I have considered myself family for ten years. I still call his father papa, his sister didi, and his brother bhaiya. I never stopped. I had been worried about his mother’s health for months before she finally passed. Why must I stop now?

Because the day I decided to leave D, I crossed some kind of invisible line out of that family.  

On my way home, it occurred to me.

She was nearly seventy when she had objected to the length of my knee length skirt. It was too short by her standards. I was late three nights every week.

She had pestered me about the undercooked onions so much that I pushed myself to learn to cook them perfectly. I now make the best baingan bharta Mister claims he’s ever had.

She tried to teach me how to make amla sherbet. I didn’t want to learn until one day, many years later, I was no longer living with her and I wanted to have some. I tried a recipe off the internet, but it never tasted as good.

She told me every time I pulled out a saucepan to make tea, wash it first. I got upset every single time because she never waited to see if I would wash it on my own. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I wouldn’t do it if she hadn’t told me.

She hated it when I bought a red bedsheet, one I thought she would like, for the diwan in the living room. It’s too bright, she had said, while she sat on the diwan, munching on muskmelon seeds. I stormed out of the room, convinced that she was being mean on purpose because she was sitting on a red bedsheet that she had bought. Years later, I exclaimed, ‘my eyes! my eyes!’ when Mister’s mom pulled out a bedsheet the exact shade of red.

When I got home, my eyes were burning with everything I had held back for two days. It’s been a week, and though still don’t really miss her, I am grieving.

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Blogger. Crazy bitch. Stalkee. Weirdo magnet. Wannabe housewife. Corporate Slave. Find me at anawnimiss.wordpress.com!

35 thoughts on “of grief”

  1. I’m sorry. These things are complex. I’m dreading the day something similar happens in my life. And the judgements people make! I’m sorry you got trolls on your last post – I’m just catching up. Hope you’re okay.


    1. Thanks Nara. I hope you don’t have to face any of this. How are you doing?
      As for the troll, she has been at it all day (yes, I know who it is) and that’s not really bothering me. I have dealt with her nonsense before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m good. I do have an ex whose family I was really close with, so I can relate. I think nobody can know what goes on in a relationship and it’s nobody else’s business. Hope you’re okay. X


          1. I don’t understand people that hide behind the cloak of a faked name. If someone has an opinion, stand up and be counted. People often take sides during divorces and/or breakups. What they hear is usually the slanted story provided by those whom they are close to. So they attack, armed only with one side of the story, which is usually flawed. I’m sorry that you had to deal with this, Ana.


          2. The thing is, D is far too respectful to badmouth me. It’s these random, self-righteous people that meddle. I’ve tried very hard to not blow my lid, but as you can see, trolls will just not give up.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I don’t get worked up over petty people, Rob. It’s just sad that the troll went to such lengths to make their displeasure known, and then refused to have a real conversation about it. Meh, their problem, not mine!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Feels wrong to “like” this post.
    Loss is loss, whether it is in or out of family. As is love.
    Grieve fully. Otherwise it will catch you unawares at a later time..


  3. It wasn’t easy at all to go there, to show your sympathy most of all because you had a very hard time with her. You cannot be blamed for feelings that are not there since you were not even welcomed to have them!


      1. It is amazing how we do things instinctively and looking back we see the effect. You were not ready before to understand but now you are…. that is all that matters. It was your journey to get here. And now you arrived. Much love to you, Anawni!


  4. If I write (sigh) can you feel it? That is the only comment I really have. The other’s said it better. Sounds like you handled the situation well. Grief can be a mystery when it comes and why and its intensity, but always hard to lose someone that was a major part of your life, regardless of the feelings you had for them. I didn’t press like. I wish there was a “support” button that I could press.


  5. Stay blessed Anawnimiss and you’ve fulfilled your duties as a human being. Held your might. I feel that we learn to brush aside glances in such a situation and should ignore naysayers.


  6. Grief is a complicated animal. I don’t really have anything to contribute, other than agreeing with the others who said you did the honorable thing, and no one can fault you for that. And I’m sorry you have to deal with trolls. I guess from a positive perspective, you are important enough to them to spend time trolling you. (Okay, maybe not, but at least they only make themselves look bad, not you. )


    1. Your being around to talk to me means a lot more than you’ll ever know. My life right now feels like a tragicomedy, with the baby-related exasperation and the confused feelings about my ex MIL’s death, and now this troll. Sigh. I can use all the support I can get.
      (Btw, only last week I was telling Mister my life lacks adventure! Remind me never to say that again.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My mom always says, be careful what you wish for! Haha! Still, maybe these are tests to strengthen you more. (I know – we never really feel like we NEED them.)


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