Usually, the best time is those fractions of seconds early in the morning. Your eyes pop open. In that small sliver of time, you actually delude yourself that yesterday (or last week) did not happen in reality. That it was all a dream. That you can walk out of your room and you will find him, sitting in his dhoti and reading the paper, or, her, hair tied up in a pink towel, mixing up coffee, or the other him, slowly advancing towards the bathroom, or, that young one there, eating biscuits as usual although it is so bad for his health.
Of course as the day advances and you slide your feet down to the ground and brush your teeth, realization dawns. It was no dream. They are no more. Gone. For good. Not coming back. Never coming back. If you believe, you think they are with god. In a happy place, with no pollution and rough edges and traffic and bitching relatives. If you don't believe, you try to justify. Life was hard for him. Mentally and physically. The inability to read must have been incredibly painful to deal with. The bodily pains immeasureable. The thought that he was dependent on others too unacceptable. The idea that her husband went before her must have felt like an ultimate blow. The daily round of doctors and surgeons and the inability to enjoy a simple thing as going to school a month at a stretch must be so hard for a boy, almost a child. Yes, you can rationalise it away and say it is better this way, better they are gone since the being here was so filled with pain and suffering for themselves.
Which just leaves you, and the rest. The ones that got left behind. How to deal with this immense sorrow? How to acknowledge to yourself that every day you are going to wake up to a world where your father is no more? Where your dear cousin whom you hardly got to know will not grow up with you? Or your grandfather who filled so many places in your heart, or aunt, who loved you so unconditionally and to whom you never showed your affection, or, even all those young people? Sometimes you wonder if it is even possible to go on, day after day, carrying this, almost physical being on your shoulders. Your shoulders stoop. Life, your life, stretches long hard and lonely. Lonely, despite the rest of the family and friends and the thousands of people you meet.
Time the great healer, does dull the edges. You think of them often, sometimes with happiness for the times you had, sometimes with sadness for the times together you could have. But it is not so sharp any more. Not having that capacity to produce instant tears. You can talk about it, how they died, how bad the doctors were, who reacted with dignity and who displayed their true colours, how you felt at that time, or, at least, how you should have felt at that time, had you not been completely numb from it all. Who is spared? We are all mortal here. Here today, gone tomorrow.
But, this being here today and waking up to this, so difficult, so irreversible, and yet, at the same time, so very real. When they are young, you just cannot find it in your heart to accept it, to move on, to lead your somewhat meaningless life, one foot in front of the other, anymore.