Graphic by Janice Lin/MiC.

We would starve if flour didn’t change into bread, and we would freeze if wood didn’t change into fire. For us who are constantly in motion, change is inevitable.

But this time it wasn’t 

the same kind of change.

As grains of sand chased the wounded wind

Migrating from the desert to this mourning street

Those little grains infiltrating every empty corner

Touched the cold ground and covered its scars

Listened to the wind mourn and dried its tears

Saw the crowd disperse

Then flew away.

As I opened my eyes to cry

The wind carried the sand into my eyes

I shake the grains off

Then cover my eyes and never open them again. 

I am allowed to cry when the wind is too strong

I’m allowed to be, allowed to fall, allowed to heal

Before living, confronting, accepting. 

I wasn’t ready.

After the careful talk

The worried stares

The quiet concern

I just didn’t care.

But the sand was running out

So I allowed myself a peek

 I still wasn’t ready

To open them completely

That smile and kindness aren’t found everywhere

I close my eyes again and feel the familiar scent in the air.

I still wasn’t ready 

To let go of those summer days

The hands that held mine

Now lying empty on the bedside.

I’ve walked these streets long enough to know everyone

By name, last name, and addresses

I now fear the day I saw them wearing their black dresses

And I look at them and see my grief mirrored

Their mouths straight and their faces withered.

When will I have the courage to accept this change?

“Everything we did together death did not erase

His name is spoken like it’s a familiar place”

Our life goes on and he’s still in it

One has his smile, one his kindness, 

One has his passion, one his dedication, and one his wisdom.

So no, my grandpa’s death wasn’t one of those changes. It was about the journey of change, one filled with grief and denial, followed by guidance and realization.

MiC Columnist Mariam Alshourbagy can be reached at