Gone too soon.
Grief. It is an emotion that cannot be fully described unless you’ve been through it.
From the outside looking in, it seems like a difficult word or emotion and one that is associated with pain. In reality however, it is a whirlwind of emotions, an emotional roller coaster with a pain so deep that can only be felt. Sometimes through tears, deep groans, sobbing and lamentation. Other times through verbal or written expression of memories.
I haven’t experienced grief like this before or a loss like this of someone so close to me so I guess this is my way of expressing it. We all have our own way and it is important that we do. Not because this will necessarily lessen the pain of losing someone dear to you. But because learning to grieve well is a sure way to process emotions that you didn’t know you’ve had deep inside. It is healthy, it is necessary and it is the only way to truly make it another day, with one foot in front of the other.
She was gone too soon. It was sudden, too sudden. It was devastating and completely unexpected. She was so young and so healthy. She was vibrant and full of life and vigour. Most importantly she loved so well and cared so deep. It was impossible to not feel seen by her when you were in her presence. There was always something so regal about her. Rightfully so because her name literally means queen. When she walked into a room, she captured everyone’s hearts with her radiant smile, her laughter, her grace and her wisdom.
This is the impact she had on her loved ones and anyone that knew her. This is the legacy she left behind for her parents, her sisters, her husband and her little girls. Words can’t even begin to describe my heart for them. No one feels the pain of her absence like them. No one can truly understand it like them. But we can all agree with one thing. There was no one quite like her. A beautiful soul, gone too soon.
As a young girl, she was the epitome of beauty for me. I looked up to her so much. She taught me so much. I watched her every move and wanted so badly to look like her and be like her. I learnt about beauty, femininity, grace and poise from her. When I didn’t understand our culture, she explained things to me in a way I’d understand. When I’d fight with my brother as a kid, she would teach me how to let it go and be the bigger person. She often disciplined my brother and I and my parents let her because that’s how we were. We were all one big family. Boy how I miss those days. You could say she was my role model as a kid.
So many summer holidays spent together as all of us cousins gathered in her house. We literally did everything together. From waking up to eating to playing games to fighting to shopping to going on fun trips to getting up to all sorts of mischievous pranks. Those were the best days. And she was the leader. She was the glue that held our cousin gang together. She was also strong and brave and stubborn in the best way. I admired her strength. When she was away from home for college, I wanted to stay in her room. I would read her books, try to dress the way she did and talk like her, all in an attempt to be like her.
Talking about her in the past tense is not something I ever thought I’d do. None of us did. This is not the outcome anyone of us expected nor is it one we can fully accept yet. Yet here we are trying to make sense of all this. It seems unfair, it seems cruel. It is devastating and it is heartbreaking. I don’t understand this and I don’t have words to accurately describe the Rejina shaped hole that is in all our hearts but I know one thing. She is in a better place and she is probably dancing in heaven right now, knowing her.
Vellechi/Vallyachi meaning big sister as we all affectionately addressed her, we miss you. So much. I can’t wait to hug you in heaven one day. You will always be remembered so dearly. I wish we had more time together and I wish we could talk more. I wish I could hold your hand and I wish I could have held you while you fought this battle. But there are so many beautiful memories that I will forever cherish in my heart because of you, your life and the joy you always carried.
Even in the midst of unexplainable pain we cannot help but smile knowing the impact your life has left on us. And that is how you will always be remembered. Through uncontrollable tears, through inexplicable pain and shock that has left us with questions that we are still trying to grapple with, we remember you. We love you. Gone too soon, but never forgotten and always in our hearts. Always.
Rest in peace Rejina (Vellechi), you beautiful soul.