for my past few days in Kerala i had stomach bug & in some perverse way i found myself enjoying the sickness because it meant being doted on by achamma. she spent hours on the phone calling every relative keeping them abreast of my bowel movements. she made me porridge & steamed banana, checking on me constantly throughout the day & the night. she told everyone how sad she was that i was sick. on my final night she offered to sleep on the ground next to my bed in case i needed anything. i am constantly thinking about the things i have lost to oceans & this is one of them: the ability to love like that, as if the boundaries between ‘her’ & ‘me’ are non-existent, as if me being sick was her being sick, the porousness, the refusal of individuality. at the same time, the failure of language to express what i felt — to say i am alive because of you. after leaving achamma I thought about the last time i said goodbye to my other grandmother. she died 6 months later. how i recorded a short video from afar for her on her death bed — me fumbling through another goodbye, a bunch of words to say: “I will remember.” why do we say bye instead of i will remember? when my sister left for college i cried every night for a month. at her graduation party i made a slideshow with a poem & cried so hard i had to leave the venue. how do we go on knowing it will never be the same? how do we say goodbye to the people we love? how come it’s goodbyes that let us know just how much we love them? i keep thinking about all of things i wanted to say/could have said/couldn’t say to achamma, to nani, to the people i love or rather, the people who keep me alive. so i write poems & letters & notes from afar miss everyone & everything, regret the limitations of a tongue, the vulgarity of a hand waving goodbye.