I pushed going to my sister's to Sat morning after getting some work done in the lab. I drove- which was a first for me by myself- and it was really painless for the most part- although I was already worrying about the return right then. :)
Saturday was my niece's birthday. We had a good time-lots of kids, fun, screaming etc.
In the midst of the party, my sis got a phone call from a friend- one of her friends from high school met with a tragic accident and died while on holiday with his wife. This was someone we knew very well from being neighbours in the colony and growing up with together. My sister and I decided to drive there the next day to meet his parents and brother who had just flown in from India.
We spent all of sunday at their place- it was a horrible situation and I really have no words to describe it. A young grieving wife- very distraught and shocked parents- and their younger son- who was junior to me and i've always considered as a kid- holding the fort up bravely for the sake of his parents. It was just horrible and made you wonder about the unfairness of life, the finality of death and all those things.
A very standard reaction to sad situations is "I don't know what to say" and that pretty much sums it up. What do you say in a situation like this, when standard words of condolences fall painfully short and seem very very shallow? I learned that being there is enough, even if you cannot say much. It meant a lot to the grieving parents that we showed up- for aunty- we were a reminder of the happy times her son had, the happy growing-up memories- the fact that her son meant many different things to the various people that came there- was some kind of comfort. In the same vein, people that knew their son and had close interactions with him were able to contribute to some amount of cheer- however short-lived it may have been- by sharing happy memories of his antics, his likes/dislikes, etc. Bringing his several facets to the fore, as each person knew a different side of him.
I think the heaviness of this experience is going to stay with me for long. I keep having visions of aunty and uncle and the little brother. Life is so unpredictable and so precious.