Friday, March 31, 2017

the undiscovered parts of bereavement that no one tells you about

I went through most of my life thinking I looked exactly like my grandmother.
Until my mother died and I cut my hair because I wanted change. Until my mother died and I discovered her pictures from when she was about my age. Until my mother died and I smiled so much at these old photos because she and I have the same haircut. Until my mother died and I started wearing her clothes. Until my mother died and so many of her friends told me I sound just like her. Until my sister said it to me herself. Until one day, I caught my reflection in the mirror and I did a double take because I thought I was my mother. 

And then I miss her and I don't miss her all at once. 

And she's staring right back at me and I'm smiling so much because she's right here, I sound like her, I look like her and we're the same age in the photographs of her I've collected. 

This year, I'm as old as she was when she had me. I've got so many pictures of us together in our first year together. And I've got pictures of her in the few years just before she had me and the few years just after she had me. All these are my favourite pictures now. I want to freeze myself, I want to look like how she looks in these photographs. The resemblance is near perfect, I really don't have to try at all.
I know with each day I'm growing older. Soon, I won't be the person in the pictures of her that I've surrounded myself with. I want to somehow freeze the clock on that. So then I take pictures of myself. I've taken more selfies in these 2 months than I ever have or ever will. Because I'm freezing myself to look like my mother. Because maybe when I'm dead, whoever discovers these pictures will drive themselves crazy trying to tell us apart. 

It's complicated. When my grandmother died, I really just wanted to live my days wrapped up in her sarees. I didn't and that's mostly because I have no idea how to drape a saree. 

With my mother - her clothes are more accessible to me, so is her jewelry. I'm in a phase of my life where I clearly bear an uncanny resemblance to her when she was my age. My hair looks like her hair, my eyes look like her eyes, my feet are her feet, my hands are her hands, my voice is her voice and it's so easy to get us confused. Except, well, when I'm wearing her clothes. She's obviously given away the clothes she had in her twenties and thirties. What we have left are her clothes from the later stages in her life. They are the clothes she owned as a middle aged woman in her forties and fifties. And I'm wearing them now. Young body. Old person's clothes. 

There are days when I'm confusing myself so much with this crazy traipsing backwards and forwards through time.
And then there are days when I feel oddly satisfied about being her living resemblance. 




Sukanya said...

*hugs* The ones who love you never really leave you (and those aren't my words but they somehow seemed to fit). Lots of love

Anand Shankar said...

Peace and flowers