Life is very surreal at times....sometimes more often than not...
For example, last week we went with four other couples - our close friends from Dubai - to the Maldives - sans children. We had been talking about taking a holiday together for some time, but then the idea to go w/out the kids came up a month or so later. I was hesitant of course as this was the first time I would leave Erin. While I knew he would be fine, I felt guilty of course.
We all met up at the airport - everyone after having a hectic crazy work week, so happy to finally get there. However, I felt like I was watching some kind of movie or t.v. series about friends going on vacation...It wasn't me who was actually going.
We arrived to the Maldives sometime late in the night and then had a 45 minute boat ride to our island. It was pitch black. Even though we had finally arrived and were assigned our rooms, I still could not believe we made it.
It was only the next day when I woke up and actually plunged into the beautiful water that I realized I was on holiday. It felt good. I felt a little less guilty, but enjoyed the novelty of sleeping in late w/out an early morning toddler wake up call.
We had a great time relaxing, laughing and enjoying each others' company. I still had moments of the dream when I would not quite believe I was on holiday. Once the dream was very vivid as I was on the pier waiting for everyone to arrive for our snorkelling trip. As they rounded the corner on the beach all colorful and ready to go, again I was wathing a film.
After four relaxing days, we had to return back to life. I watched the film close as we walking to the boat that would transfer us back to the airport. Was I really there, or was it just a dream?
It was a wonderful dreamlike film, but that dream sadly turned into a nightmare. The evening we got back my father-in-law went into the hospital. He had been having some health problems over the last few months and things were acting up again. Unfortunately, he passed away the next morning.
It was incredibly shocking of course. Again, things went back into surreal, film mode, but only a film of a differen kind. We flew to Istanbul immediately. And while I was there a part of it, sharing my husband's and his families' grief, it was as though I was watching a movie again.
In part this could be a result of experiencing my first Islamic funeral in its entirety - I have been to funerals before, but have never witnessed the entire thing. While theoretically, things are the same, I find Islamic funerals more hands on - or raw, for lack of a better word. However, it was still as though I was watching it through a lens. It wasn't a defense mechanism by any means. As probably with many people, when someone dies, we all wait to wake up from the nightmare. However we didn't wake up.
The film still continues to some extent, but I think if I were directing it and had to end the show somewhere, I would do it as I was leaving Istanbul. We flew over the city, in the direction of the Bosphorous. Just before this beautiful stretch of water, we flew over the graveyard - its quite a large one, and since I know the city well, easy to spot. I looked out of my window and could clearly estimate the area where my father in law is buried. Where just that same afternoon I planted tulips on his grave.
Now back to Dubai, the film is still going...I'm still not quite believing he passed away, that he is gone. That his grandson who he loved so dearly will not get to know him. I know he will be dearly missed by many - especially his family. However, he lived a beautiful, full life and that is something that they will recall and celebrate in time. It was a happy, full life - the kind of story that happy movies are made of.