It is always when I turn off the lights that I find myself thinking of her. A time when my mind is preparing for sleep, empty yet full of memories, agendas and resolutions.
Not a day goes by that I don’t spare a thought for my aunt. At any time of the day, I will suddenly remember her smile and with only that, it seems like she’s still alive.
I can safely say that I will think of her almost every hour when I’m awake. I may not show it, but when I’m talking to you, laughing with you, looking happy in general, I’m still thinking of her.
I’m one of those who think of dreams of our deceased loved ones as something significant, an omen perhaps..maybe a message to say hello. I’ve only ever dreamed of her twice shortly after her death. But for the past two days, I’ve dreamed about her. In all my dreams, she was dead but she was talking. As for my grandparents, dreams of them usually seemed normal and with less elements of death.
It’s funny how I don’t know who to choose to confide in about how much I miss her. I’ve only ever cried my heart out once months after her death, in front of someone and that person was my mother. My mother is like a time bomb herself. Any mention of my aunt and she crumbles worse than me. When my grandmother and mother talks about my aunt, it would be my turn to stay strong as they sigh. It’s been so long after the funeral, nobody should cry together. We take turns. But I don’t think they know. I’ve only ever spoken about her death with my mum and my grandmother; months after her death. With everyone else, I try not to talk about it.
I have best friends, I have a boyfriend, I have family members. Yet I can’t think of a single person who will understand or whom I can feel it necessary to confide in. I don’t want to alarm them. I know most of them would have little to say when I am crying my eyes out in front of them. I don’t want to put anybody in an uncomfortable position. Funny how at 3am, the only place I know where I will be understood is by conveying my tears into words on this blog of mine. Perhaps it’s the faceless readers that allows me the reciprocal anonymity to spill what I feel. It’s just not the same with people from real life.
Every time I think of her, my chest crunches into a tight ball and I prevent myself from racking with sobs. My nose clogs up as I replay her memories. It’s not so bad in the day time when there are other things to keep me occupied. Funny how it is the worst at night.
It’s hard to imagine the rest of my life without her. I’ve only just started mine and her journey ended long before mine. I thought she’d stay around and see me do more with my life. She said she would sing her infamous chinese opera song with my mum at my wedding, just like how she sang at a couple of relatives’ wedding ceremonies. When she was alive, I remember plotting how to fit the act into my dream childhood wedding. You don’t understand how badly I want her to sing now.
You know how when you like/love someone so much, you look forward to spending time with her?
The only way I can spend time with her is by reliving the memories i had with her since I was a baby.
There are some memories that I will replay constantly like the last words I heard from her on the steps of her garden as my dad drove us back to KL during Chinese New Year. Or that telephone call three days before her death, asking her who she voted for in her constituency. (She voted for PAS.) A few memories keep replaying in my head like a broken recorder. Sometimes even her funeral becomes a memory that I will replay. I frequently imagine the accident, based on what we heard from the maid, my grandmother and the other witnesses.
Then sometimes, a fresh memory comes to me. One that I’ve forgotten about from her death till now. A memory from when I was 5 years old or 10 years old, something that I haven’t thought about in years. This way, I’m spending time with her. These are my moments with her in the present; through my memories. Memories that I’ve forgotten are coming back to me, each like a new moment, a memory so old that it becomes new, almost like we’re spending time together.
I know this is not the end because I will see her again but logic takes over pretty soon and I remember that nobody knows what comes after death. Do you really get to see the people you love after you die? That’s my favourite belief. The only one thought that makes death look less like the end.