I wonder if one can actually sense the beginning of his end. Death. Manifest to mankind yet veiled when it arrives. For three days my grandfather had complained of a tightness in his chest. The fourth day there were no complains. That night he passed away quietly in his sleep. I remember how he'd take my hand and place it on his chest, directly above his heart saying, “it's like someone's standing right here". The rhythmic beat would feel just fine. To this day I wonder what had made him go quiet the day before his demise. Had he known? Could he feel it? The soul slowly gliding out of his body leaving it stone cold or was he asleep all long? I wish he had known no fear. People say there are five stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. My grandmother had only known the fourth. The news had left her in tatters. She was torn from the inside. Every day she'd go visit grandfather's grave, shower it with rose petals and come back enveloped in a new layer of gloom. Talking to her only worsened her pain so we thought it would be better to just let her be. Time passed gradually. It is July 19th. My grandparents could've been celebrating their 56th anniversary just like they always did in the backyard with all twenty five of my cousins and their parents. We'd set up a long wooden table and decorate it with huge sunflowers that we plucked from Mrs.Faizan's garden who lived next door. She despised the action otherwise but allowed us just for the sake of her friend's anniversary. The women of the family would fill the table to its corners with delicacies brought from their homes. We'd sing songs and recall moments that would leave us laughing so hard that it felt our sides would split. The sun would leave us burnt by the end of the day but we couldn't care less for happiness would swallow every other feeling. I wonder if we will feel the same way we did back in those days. Someday, maybe. Today, replacing the table is the bed my grandparents once shared. My sister and I carefully bring out the mattress and set it over the wooden frame. Following it, we spread on the mattress the finest bed spread we own -blue Egyptian silk with yellow flowers marking the borders. I place two big pillows at an angle against the headboard. One of them has sunk inside due to excess use, the other one seems fine. Next, we place a comforter at the foot of the bed careful enough to straighten out every single wrinkle. The bed is placed in the exact middle of the backyard underneath the sky which resembles a canvas painted ink blue. Speckled throughout the blue eternity are innumerable stars. One of them is strangely big and bright. My grandmother swears it appeared the night her husband left her. I avert my gaze from the sky and look towards the door where my grandmother has just appeared. She looks small and fragile in her ankle length night gown which clings loosely to her bony frame. Her hair hangs in loose curls that are gently moving with the wind. Etched on her face is an expression unreadable. But I believe she's happy. That she has reached the final stage of grief. I walk towards her, grab hold of her arm, and lead her towards the bed. Carefully, she gets on top and lies down closing her eyes the instant her head hits the pillow. I notice her lips that have curled into a tiny smile. Out of the corner of her eye falls a small tear that surfs over her temple and gets absorbed into the cotton underneath. She sighs and rolls over. Tonight, on her 56th wedding anniversary, my grandmother wants to sleep under the brightest star.
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