Edit desk: Wash, Rinse, Repeat


Emily Thampoe

Imagine being out of the house and running errands for a few hours. It is mundane and, for the most part, you are calm.

You finally arrive home and once you set foot in your kitchen, you see your father walking toward you with disdain in his eyes and a knowing, bittersweet smile.

You knew this was coming and when he tells you the unfortunate news, you don’t even flinch.

You accept it because you have to.

You were more than aware of the denial rising in your chest.

You do not want this to be true, at least not now.

This is not a hypothetical situation, as some might have gathered already — this was my reality not even a full year ago.

The day my grandfather passed away was an ordinary one.  

Classes were over, so all I had left to do in my high school career was graduate. I was in a weird limbo — so, what was I meant to do with my days?

That day, hours before I was told, I brushed my teeth.

I got dressed.

I ate some breakfast.

I partook in a quintessential teenage pastime by binge-watching episodes of a TV show.

I drove to the mall to buy some dresses — one for saying goodbye to my high school classmates and one for possibly saying goodbye to my grandpa.

For some people who have been independent for a long time, tasks like driving or shopping for necessities are just a regular part of life. 

If your relationship ends, you lose a job or lose a loved one, as much as it would be wonderful for life to pause, it does not and will not. You have to get up and you have to go through your day. There is limited time to take a breather and reflect on your losses.

As soon as I completed my errands, I walked to my car again and drove back home. I returned home, where I have started and ended many journeys over the course of my life. 

I walked into my house, feeling exhausted from my adventures at the mall and my incessant thoughts about my grandpa’s state. For all I knew, he could have still been alive but living very poorly as he had been for weeks on end.

This wasn’t the case.

My dad had known about my grandpa’s death while I was out running errands. He knew for a few hours before he relayed the devastating news to me.

As soon as I learned of my grandfather’s passing, it was a blur of a few days filled with phone calls to my family abroad, texts between me and my close friends, emails to school administrators, driving back and forth and packing for a brief trip abroad to attend funeral services.

A few days after losing my grandfather, I woke up.

I brushed my teeth.

I showered.

I got dressed.

I ate some breakfast.

I got in my car and drove to my high school graduation practice.

It was just a regular day filled with ordinary activities.

As much as I wanted to let myself sit in my grief and dwell in it, I had to keep moving.

Even when life goes at a slower pace or completely stops for another person, I felt like it was imperative to keep on living. 

Whether that means taking an exam, filing tax reports, writing a paper, taking care of children, going to work — or, in my case, getting on a plane — you just have to do it.

And after bidding my grandfather a fond and melancholy adieu, I had to return to my reality. At this time, it was walking at graduation with a heavily-manufactured smile on my face and genuine tears in my eyes.

It’s wash, rinse, repeat — no matter the day or state that you are in.

When the day ends, it’s time to do it all again.

Em Thampoe, ’21, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached [email protected]

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