Dead people can’t hear

Written a week after my Oma died.


I just came back from my dad’s side family gathering to commemorate Oma’s passing. We usually do this when someone died. I wasn’t exactly enthused to come along. It’s not because I don’t wanna honor her memory, it’s just I try to stay away from the things these people are capable of. My Oma isn’t your typical run of the mill grandmotherly type of Oma. She was a force to be reckon with. She was an acquired taste; she wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. She would speak her mind that didn’t go well with people. そう言うおばあちゃんでした. I think it would be fairly normal if a lot of people didn’t like her.

As for me, she’d say that I dressed ‘slordeh’ and weird (which came from her as she too stood out from the crowd), she’d tell me what to do, and tell me that my boyfriend was cute but looked like a cicak (house lizard) because he’s skinny. Most of the times I find it endearing and amusing, rather than annoying. Sometimes, I tell stories about her to my friends while mimicking the way she speaks as she is so quirky. She’d say things like, ugly looking thousand rupiah bills as ‘uang busuk’ and ‘jalan tikus’ as the road for ‘orang-orang rakyat’. She had Dutch background, so that was why she could come off as being high and mighty for us ‘inlander’.

Earlier we had this talk in the family gathering about her. People are remembering her in their own way. Nice words are being thrown around as tears would come rolling down their faces. But there I was, couldn’t help but thinking that the tears will pass and our family condition would be back to were it once was again -pithy and problematic- as soon as this little soiree is over. I do hope I’m wrong but the events that took place afterwards proved to be otherwise. It was like business as usual in our clan. But I guess it’s okay. That’s just how people are. No one can change that. It’s just made me wonder why this kind of soiree is necessary in the first place.

To be honest, I’m still distraught because of her passing. I haven’t let the reality of it all struck me just yet. I need to sort things out. Last night I had a dream of her, hugging me and thanking me. I was somewhat relieved. I feel like a bit of burden has been taken from me. For a Taurus that I am, any dramatic changes takes time to get used to. I’m doing my best and I’m praying the best for Oma.


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