The lines of knowledge still streamed across his face. Warmth from his body seemed to linger within the boxed walls that confined it. His soft, rose-kissed cheeks remained untouched. A rounded nose resembling my own fell upon the center of his face, as small patches of loose hair circled his bald head. His linear lips, which would always kiss the top of my head, lay as they had always upon his aged face. Apart from the absence of his globular glasses invariably resting on his nose, nothing about him had changed. Yet, he now but served as the empty container of a lost soul.
As my eyes met my grandfather’s lifeless gaze, my mother took my hand in hers. I did not say much nor did I feel much either. My eyes scanned the black-coated room stained with tears of despair. I could not understand why tissues pasted themselves to people’s hands. After all, would we all not end up in the same home once again? A home like this one, perhaps. The one my mother had worked tirelessly to perfect for her family who, one by one, seemed to depart from her growingly lonesome embrace.
“Lay down the roses,” my mother instructed, handing me the blossom. How fitting, a rose torn from the roots that served to sustain the plant’s blushing beauty. With its thorns removed, the helpless flower remained without defense. What once was the home of a refreshing soul now lingered as but a cut stem awaiting the reaper’s touch.
My heart slowed, pacing itself to the beat of the dead man’s. A flood moved towards my eyes, only to be blocked by the sturdy fortress of my mind. But the lump in my throat gradually continued to grow. I could feel my face reddening as though a fire erupted from my pale cheeks. Yet, my facade of impenetrable strength could not fool my mother, who eyed me carefully. Though I did not meet her gaze, I heard her comforting words through our telepathic connection. This too shall pass, she seemed to say. We are together in our hearts.
“Let’s go,” I said turning from the site of the body. My emotions seemed to precipitate into salty water pouring out through my palms. I do not remember saying much else the remainder of the evening when my mother and I finally returned back to our house. We both seemed to be unsure of what to say or do, so we simply acknowledged our loss through silence.
I entered my room and fell upon my bed. My cheeks, stained with silently dried tears, intensely pressed against the icy bed covers. For a moment, my emotions seemed to freeze. My stomach felt as though it was loaded with bricks. I lost all feeling in my arms and my legs as I simply just lay there watching the world dissolve around me. My eyes did not shut, but rather blankly stared at the ceiling for hours on end.
I finally found some strength to rise from my bed. I cautiously walked to my mother’s room. She lay there, already sound asleep. In a moment of selfish need for comfort, I softly called her name until she awoke.
“Ari jigarus.” Come my dear, she said half asleep in Armenian. My heart seemed to smile as I stepped into her bed. My mother placed one arm around me. We simply lay there, silently united amongst the billions mounted upon our heavenly Father’s great castle. We but two petals of a rose embraced by a single moment. Today we remain here together, tomorrow in another place. Though our fates await us, one thing rests assured–our hearts ceaselessly beat as one through the twine of our perpetual bond. Mother and daughter, we stand against the fatalities of the somberly ailed world.