On Grief

(This blog is in continuation of On My Nani’s Passing)

I never knew how I would really feel after someone emotionally close to me died because I had not experienced this in my 27+ years of life. Now that the seal has been broken, there’s much going on at the mental and emotional level. Questions and Resolutions mostly. Where is she? In some sense, I am more present. Experientially aware of the reality of arising and passing away in a more gross sense. When I sit in quiet, listening to my gut, I sense I think an emptiness. Something shattered inside. It’s not brokenness of a depressing or defeating sort. I contemplate it being the breaking of part of the ego / illusion / ignorance (different spiritual traditions label it differently) that I by default hold on to. In short, it’s a good thing, but also comes with its share of initial shock.

I have experienced loss before in the form of breaking up with significant others. But they are still only a phone call, a text, or an email away. This doesn’t apply to my nani; I can’t reach her. Every now and then my mind rhetorically questions, “where is she?” or “where did she go?”

The body is nothing without some form of consciousness. So much so that it smells bad. So much so that Hindu scriptures (the religion I was born into) suggest cremation within 24 hours of death. Having been with her and near her during her last conscious and unconcious hours was surreal. As my mourning period continues, my mind plays images — one night she is right there talking and laughing with me and two-and-a-half days later her body has transformed into ashes. What just happened?! the shock demands.

Yesterday morning, Wednesday October 8th, was the first day I woke up with a thought other than hers. Throughout the day, for the first time since her passing, she was not the default background murmur in my mind. Life is starting to “normalize” again. This new truth has been making its way from shock, grief, anger, and some more grief to her name being prefixed by “late” and her photo having a garland over it not the latest reality but an everyday reality. It’s not news anymore, it just is.

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This entry was posted in Personal Experiences and tagged , by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

One thought on “On Grief

  1. Pingback: On Regret & Resolution | Living Vipassana

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