September 9

My eldest uncle, dad’s oldest brother, lost his battle to cancer on this day around 26 years ago. 

Each year, as September 9 rolls by, it is a dark and gloomy day for us. Even though I was only 1 when my uncle  died, and I don’t remember anything about him- only stories, I am just as much affected by his death.

All of my family gathers at my grandparents on this day. Aunts, uncles, cousins. Dad and his siblings don’t go to work today. We have lunch and dinner with my grandparents. Dad visits my uncle’s grave with all the men. They feed the poor in my uncle’s name. We desperately try to lift my grandparents sad moods. It’s a ritual that is happening ever since I can remember. 

Of course, losing a child is hard. And it is the worst thing ever. Especially, if it’s your first born, too. My uncle died at 35, leaving behind two children. Babies, really. 2 and 4 years old. My grandmother raised them. His daughter is like my sister and we have grown up together. And maybe that’s why her pain is my pain and why this day is painful for me, too. 

I have never seen my grandmother break down before. She has always stayed strong, composed. She is the kind of woman who takes on a challenge and climbs the highest mountain without a sweat. She is never weak to the world. Sure, she has been emotional at times, but barely. Until today. 

It’s a worst kind of feeling, when you hear your grandmother sob like a child does. It wrecks you, it shatters you… It cuts like a hundred knives. And I can’t get the sound out of my head… 

I started crying, too. Everyone did.

Today was a very gloomy day, indeed. 

It’s been 26 years, but some wounds never heal… I have so much love and respect for all the parents who continue to have courage after losing their children…. You are brave and surely, your patience and courage will be rewarded. Amen. 

No matter how old or young, children should bury their parents. Not the other way around.  

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