The world demands that you get back to it. The sooner you do, the better because it's only your and your family's life that has stopped; the rest of the universe has no clue that it needs to slow down for any reason and it won't.
Even in a shared grief, one's pain is ultimately one's own. People can empathize, and even sit and cry beside you, or be there by your side on sleepless nights or for mindlessly watching television but ultimately the periodic stabbing of your heart from the inside is only for you to experience.
Will things ever be the same again? Yes, the pain will lessen (even if it doesn't seem believable right now) but no, you don't really completely recover from a brother's death whose (tithi) birthday falls on Raksha Bandhan, ever. You can't and you won't.
What is humbling and at the same time like a punch in the stomach is the realisation that there are people whose loss is unimaginably more than yours. It's not just your pain you have to deal with- the perceived pain of the parents, the grandparents and the 4 year old elder sibling, who shared their lives with him far more than you ever did... the heart breaks all over again with the weight. If I'm feeling like this, they must be feeling a thousand times worse, experiencing his absence in every waking moment. How does a parent deal with a 3 year old son's death? How does a grandparent face the taking away of their best reason for staying alive? How does a 4 year girl deal with the fact that her younger brother is not coming back? The heart breaks and breaks some more. There's a violent desire to protect my kid sister from the ugliness of what death has done. But how painfully weak we are that call ourselves adults. I am still in Delhi. I'm afraid that if I go to Bhubaneswar, I won't want to come back. Not in 3-4 days, not in a week... I'm afraid not even in a month. My self preservation instincts suggest that I should not go and I'm heeding them.
Human selfishness truly has no limits.
Or maybe it's self care. But even then I don't know how right it is. How right is this careful immersion in the pages of a colouring book, preparing myself little by little to get back to the world? How right is posting my small projects on Instagram so that I feel that I did at least one useful thing in the day? How right is this preoccupation with getting back to normalcy at the earliest? I sense that I have been doing it since the first day of my grieving. Feels like strategically cheating my heart.
The funny thing is, grieving not a linear process. You get complacent that you are handling it well, and out of nowhere there's a kick on a part of your body you didn't know could feel things.