Saturday, 22 April 2017

Dear Aunty,

It's been a year since you left and not a day has gone by when I don't think of you. On some days it can be a fleeting thought, but on others it can leave me sobbing. I've spent a year trying to understand this connect to you, trying to understand whether I'm imagining the closeness we shared. I still have no answers, other than to know that when I miss you it leaves me gutted.

I missed you when your grandson broke his arm, when he went to grade big 1, when he read his first sentence and when today he played his first chess tournament. I know how much you loved him. You would have been proud and you would have laughed when I told you about how he calls himself a potty launcher (he totally loves potty conversations, just like you.) You would have annoyed me to death asking about what he eats now, what he's playing, what he's saying. You always had a million questions to ask about him whenever you called. I hate that you won't see him grow. I hate that he will not know you, or love you, or miss you like I do. I hate that he will miss out on having you in his life. He will never see you cooking with a whiskey soda in hand, a little tipsy and a little giggly.

He won't know the incredible will you had. I cannot imagine what your life must have been like. To love a man so passionately that you gave yourself up for him. And then to have to share him, to have to split that love for the rest of your life. I cannot imagine your loneliness and your heartbreak. I only saw what it did to you. We look for role models and inspirational people who have gone out and done big things in life. But I feel it's people like you, who fought every day to make life just a little bit worth living. You fought the people you loved most and you fought the demons raging inside your head. And on some days you won, and those days were worth it all. I wish you'd fought harder to still be here today. It was not yet your time to go.

I remember hating you when I got married. But I was young and foolish and I didn't understand you. I think I made up for it in the last few years. I wish we had more such years together. I miss you, so much. I miss the pride you would've felt in seeing me in a documentary, in seeing my name on screen, in seeing me turn my life around. I miss you when I hear people bitch about their mothers-in-law, because honestly, I had one of the coolest. You never asked me to be anyone else.

There are a thousand memories of you that swirl through my head and almost all of them are hilarious. Your laughter was infectious and your love was so pure. You were like a little child, no boundaries. It could piss the hell out of me at times, but it also made you the large-hearted person you were. I still remember the time you raged at me and I had to call your son back from office because it was the most bizarre thing I had ever witnessed. But I also remember how genuinely apologetic you were when the storm inside your head was over. I wish I could have helped you more, so that you could have been happier, more at peace.

I thought long and hard about how to mark today for your grandson and myself. You weren't religious and neither am I. I thought of all the things that meant the most to you, and I came up with biscuits from Frontier. You and I, we're both foodies, but the passion with which you loved those biscuits, I've never seen that, before or after. So that's what we did Aunty, we bought lots of biscuits and gave them to the kids on the street. I think you would've been happy if you knew that.

I miss you Aunty, every single day. There's still so much we had to do together. And you never gave me that recipe of baingan with dahi. And I still think of you every time I break a cucumber in half so that it's not bitter. Or when I open the wallet you gifted me by mistake.

I don't know how to reconcile myself with the fact that you're gone. I still keep thinking that if I get on the metro I'll find you at home or at the hospital where I last held your hand as you slipped away. Maybe, that's why, I haven't been able to go to your house for the last year.