People live longer in our grief than in our remembrance by Antara Verma

Grief by Antara Verma
George Frederick Watts, Found Drowned, c. 1850, oil on canvas, Watts Gallery, Compton

I am addicted to grief-
It’s not that I can’t do anything about it,
I just don’t want to do anything about it.
Lifespans have increased in the past few decades.
We have learned to live with our illnesses longer
and give them a room in homes where only people belong.
My eyes are always wet and it worries my mother;
I’ve seen 20 Junes, 12 of them without my grandfather.
Why do people die?
My father built our house from scratch,
he made a room for everyone,
even my grandfather’s illness when the time came.
Now we have two empty spaces, one for Daadu and one for his cigarettes.
I was too small when I lived through his death,
I wonder if it’s too late to ask my grandmother if she’s okay. Or too soon.
I wonder if her answer is the same as it would’ve been 11 years ago,
if she ever moved on, whether the grief has now a room in her heart.
She has a picture of my grandfather nailed on the wall by her bed,
I wonder if it’s to keep herself from forgetting his face.
I have often thought about how I’d like to paint grief
For my mother, I’d paint her father but I’ve never seen his face.
And now that I can hold a paintbrush properly, I wonder if I should ask her
what he looked like. If she has his eyes.
She might tell me she doesn’t remember what he looked like anymore
because all she remembers is an absence now.
Maybe grief will outlive us all, no matter how much we increase our lifespans.

/Maybe people live longer in our grief than in our remembrance/

Antara Verma

More poems on Grieving