They lied. The psychology books in first year of medschool (gawd, that was 1996!!) talk about the five stages of grieving.
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
And though I can't say the extent of grieving we are doing comes anywhere close to what my Buddy's family must be going though, our hearts and minds are in a bit of a disarray now. And it's nothing like that damn Kübler-Ross model of grieving. Instead, we seem to be going randomly between these stages:
Depression and sadness- and bawling our eyes out, thinking that he's really gone. That we'll never see him again in this world, share stories, do fun stuff.
Reminiscence- of all the fun, crazy things we did. Still cracks me up thinking of the time we made a waterbomb with some dry ice and plastic bottle (blew up so loud that we went hiding in the basement, fearful that the cops would come!). Or the time we were baking in a small room with the heater on full blast because Idiot Buddy read somewhere that warmth made fireflies blink more (apparently not)(and we were that close to popping them into the microwave to warm them up more!).
Guilt- why did I not call him more? Why did I tell myself I was going to call him after I went off-call? Why didn't we spend more time in Penang when we were visiting?
Bitterness- about why him? A gentle, kind soul. A religious, wonderful man, a doctor just beginning his family and career. I catch myself asking: Why not me? He's much more of a better man that I could ever hope to be.
Peace- knowing that he's no longer suffering. And that he's in a Better Place. That he's Home, and someday we'll meet again.
Gratitude- that though he lived a short life, that I had the honor to have known him as well as I did. To have shared so much.
It's interesting how one's mood goes quickly from one to the other. But with every passing day, it gets a bit easier. And I catch myself smiling thinking about my friend somewhere up there, probably laughing his butt off that the rest of us have to go to work on Monday. His funeral was Saturday morning Malaysian time. I hear it was a touching affair, with many loved ones sharing beautiful stories. I hear the church was packed. And Buddy got the best seat in the house from up there.