What Is Left When We Leave

What Is Left When We Leave

Just a little friendly warning before you continue reading. This story contains a bit of a death related graphic description. If you’re the type of person who’s easily upset by this kind of thing, it would be better if you stop here.

There were many difficult things I had to do the first 3 days after my mother closed her eyes forever. The traditions I had to follow to the letter.

One of the hardest things was probably around 2–3 hours after she passed. (I can’t remember exactly how many hours after. Time seemed to flow differently in a state of grief.)

Only the husband and the daughter(s) are allowed to perform this rite and since I am the only daughter, I accepted the responsibility.

Crying during this ritual was absolutely forbidden (as in many other circumstances after). Our tears must never touch the decease.

How I stopped the tears from filling my eyes. My eyes weren’t even glassy as I helped my dad wiped my mother’s body from head to toe.

My father talked to her lovingly throughout the process. He told her how we were going to make her look beautiful for her final journey. His voice broke a little at one point but we remained stoic throughout the whole procedure.

I read a lot and I’ve read descriptions of lifeless bodies before. I’ve watched medical TV shows too, seen some very graphic images of human bodies.

I knew this body. I knew the soul that once resided in this very body. I knew the life once lived inside this body. I had spent the last 26 years with the person who was now this body.

I must have swallowed it whole. The grief, the sorrow, the pain, the entire overwhelming sensation of having a hole inside my chest.

I remember telling myself that was not my mother. That she was gone.

That must have been how I held it together.

I learned a valuable lesson during that short ritual. (I guess it was also a form of coping mechanism where my brain distracted my heart so I could complete the task at hand.)

Temporary homes.

We don’t take anything with us when we go.

With that realization, we should always ask ourselves, with every action and decision we take,

My mother had so many beautiful dresses but in the end, she was only wearing one.

So many people came to send my mother off.

None of them said, “Oh my God, do you remember that pink dress your mother wore to your cousin’s wedding?” or “You know that designer bag your mom has? It’s so wonderful!


Months after her passing, people still came up to me or wrote me messages, telling me how my mother had helped them, how she had changed their lives for the better.

What Is Left When We Leave

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