My first experience with death occurred when I was around the age of 6. My grandfather on my dad’s side had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I did not know him, he was in India and I had only seen him through pictures my mom had shown me. At that time, I felt nothing, how could I be upset over someone I barely knew? I remember my parents sitting at the table talking about his deteriorating condition. My dad decided to visit India for a month to be with him during his last days. I felt angry, very angry. My dad would be leaving me for a whole month because of that old guy? I mean he brought the lung cancer upon himself maybe he shouldn’t have smoked cigarettes right?
I cried in my room for hours wishing my dad would not go, a whole month without him seemed like the end of the world. I would have no one to play hockey with, no one to tuck me in at night and no one to eat donuts with every Friday. My dad tried to console me but I was too angry to listen to him, I suddenly hated my grandpa for causing my dad to leave me alone. At the airport my dad gave me a long hug and told me to be brave since I was now “the man of the house,” (even though I am a girl), I had to take care of my mom. Promptly this made me suck in my tears and stop acting like a “loser.” It was hard repressing my feelings, seeing my dad leave made my eyes tear severely but I held them back, the man of the house does not cry. Time went by faster when I was at school, I had less time to miss my dad. About two weeks later, my mom got a call from India, my grandpa had died. My mom broke down crying, she slammed the phone across the room into the wall. I felt scared to approach her but being the man of the house I had to console her. I went up to her and she held me tight while she cried. I do not remember how long this lasted, maybe a few hours. As my mom cried I felt guilty for not crying, she probably thought I was such a mean person for not crying over my dead grandpa. But I could not cry, I felt nothing. I also felt guilty because I thought my anger towards him was why he died. Perhaps if I had been kind towards him he would still be alive.
When I look back on this experience today I do not feel guilty for not grieving after the death of my grandpa. I understand that my age and lack of contact with him prevented me from feeling a loss. In a way it was good because I did not have to go through that loss at such a young age. My guilt was normal for me to feel then, but now I know that my mom did not think I was a mean person for not crying. She understood my feelings and knew that I did not feel anything because I merely did not know him.
When I was around the age of 7, I had very little comprehension about my religion. I knew I was a Hindu, but I lacked understanding of what it meant. On a summer evening, I was playing on the front lawn with my mom, while she went inside for a few minutes a butterfly came and landed near me. I do not know why but I decided to step on it and...