So. I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks. I haven’t really felt like it, because all I could think about writing was stuff that I’ve already said before the past few posts. Stuff about the despair and the hurting and the missing and the moving on. It would be repetitive but honestly, most of the time, that’s all I think about. It’s been one month of this, one month since my brother’s sudden and untimely demise, and you’d think that I would shut up already about how conflicted I feel. So I’m going to try to do that now. I’m going to try to not ONLY harp on about my pain and make an effort to talk about some positive things as well.
The weather’s been so gorgeous in Dubai, it’s almost unnatural. It’s been chilly and windy and cloudy, so unlike this city; it’s almost as if the gods of climate are trying to make me feel better. Here you go, doll, take a bit of breeze, you look like you need some. I remember looking up at the night sky today, while being battered into better shape at boot camp, and I watched as the full moon kept peeking out from the clouds every now and then. It would hide and disappear, blocked by a fluffy dark cloud, and then show itself again almost playfully. I felt as if the moon was me, or rather the me that existed before my brother;s death. Every now and then, it turns up, and I feel nearly normal again, happy and glowing just as a 20-yr-old college girl should be. And then the dark clouds rush in to cover me up again, engulfing me in the sombre sorrow of their fluffiness.
It’s the nights that are the hardest to get through. The day is filled with distractions, trivial details of following some sort of a routine to stay sane, but by night all of those are over. Sure, I try to distract myself with movies or TV shows, but that hasn’t seemed to work the past few days. In everything I watch or hear, there are always things that remind me of my brother. A certain type of outfit, traces of an old song, a dimpled smile, guitar strings and a microphone, the sound of a plane flying overhead, the license plate of a car, chicken on the barbecue grill. All these things are everywhere, they always have been, but now they seem to haunt me. They mock me, forcing me to remember things I would rather block out from my mind. The nights have become bland and bleak, monotnous and repetitive. The whole house sleeps, anyone who I consider to be a part of my support system goes to bed, and I’m left to fend or myself, and give myself pep talks, and just remind myself to breathe every time I feel tears forming.
One thing this has taught me, or actually forced me to see, is that there is a difference between people who say they care for you and will always ‘be there’ for you and those who do not have to say it but simply, actually ARE THERE as a pillar of strength. It’s made me realize which relationships matter and which people are important and I’ve become even more grateful for the wonderful friends I have. Many of them have constantly and continuously been in touch every day, boosting my morale and cheering me up with their silliness, and though I may have not said it enough, I really do appreciate it. Another thing I’ve come to realize through this experience is that people are very surprising and I mean that, for the most part, in a good sense. Negatively speaking, some people surprise you by acting very differently from their words and they disappoint you and let you down at such a time when you need them the most. On the other hand, there are also many genuinely NICE people; I mean, there have been so many incidents when strangers, people I barely know and have probably never spoken to, have tried to cheer me up and distract me, and it’s worked! They’ve become my unlikely angels, and for that too, I am grateful.
I’ve also become more conscious of how devastating death can really be. That seems like an obvious point but to so many, it’s not. Death is omnipresent, it occurs all the time but we remain oblivious to it until it takes away someone we love. A friend’s grandfather died, another friend’s aunt died, yet another friend’s 2 close friends died within a week. It happens so often yet we choose to not see it until we are forced to. I don’t know about others, but my brother’s death has made me more emphatic. Salman Taseer was shot and killed and it caused this great hue and cry in the political sphere, some people lauded his killer, others condemned him. But all I thought was, who cares? The man is gone, and its a horribly tragic time for his family and none of this sensationalizing is really going to make any difference. Their loss, their pain, that’s whats real but that’s what so many don’t see. I suppose you can’t unless you can actually relate. I’ve become more understanding somehow, and I can only hope to become a better person. As a cousin of mine said, ‘If this realization makes us all try to be better human beings in this world, then unknowingly, even in death, Jawad has accomplished a wonderful feat’.
Someone said to me today that I seem to be doing so much better in just a month. My first reaction was: JUST a month?! Do you have any idea how long and unending this month has been? Do you realise that time for me has essentially just slowed down to a snail-paced crawl and that each day has felt like a dozen? But then I shook my head, cleared my mind, and allowed myself to wonder whether I am actually doing better, and I realised that I am! Certainly, there’s only so much ‘better’ anyone can be at such a point, but I think I am getting there, slowly but surely. I don’t cry as much, I haven’t had a nightmare in about 10 days, and the depression just hits me every few days and even then, it always helps to take it out on the treadmill. Also, everytime I feel sad about Bhai or start missing him, I simply open up the blog post I made about his death (‘For My Brother’) and read the comments on it. There are so many great things people have said about him, and continue to say about him everyday and that actually lifts up my spirits. I like that he was such a memorable individual. Yet even this has its disadvanatges, it seems so unbelievable to me when I read condolence messages for him. They are for my brother. MY BROTHER. And all over again, I cannot believe he’s gone.
Sometimes it does still feel like this is all some weird, twisted dream but that feeling doesn’t last so long anymore, and the reality sets in sooner than it did a few weeks ago. Have I become accustomed to Bhai’s absence? It’s disturbing to think so, and I don’t think I could say that I have, I still expect him to turn up at any point, back from a business trip to Jordan, bearing gifts of soap made from the salt of the Red Sea. I know that’s not how it is, and even though it hurts like hell, I like to let myself imagine all these possibilities. It’s like when you have a wound that’s become scabbed, you know its wrong and it’ll hurt but you still pick at the scab, almost as if it’s some sort of addiction, until it finally comes off, and your wound is exposed and open again and you’re back at square one, waiting to heal. That’s how it is for me when I look at his pictures or listen to his music and songs. I don’t think this feeling will ever change, this is something that won’t ‘get better’.
It’s been 31 days out of a nightmare, each of which have been filled with moments of torturous remembrance of my brother. January 18th. It makes me think of so many ‘if onlys’: if only I’d had more time with him, if only we’d talked more that last day and I hadn’t kept my headphones on while he was sitting right in front of me, just a few feet away rather than forever gone as he is now. I’ve been dreading this day but also awaiting it, it’s a landmark of sorts. I won’t ever stop missing him, but atleast I know I am somewhat capable of living while missing him and yearning for his presence. That counts for something, right?