I’ll Meet You at The Top
There are five stages of grief that someone can experience after losing someone. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross first presented these stages in a book she wrote in 1969 called On Death and Dying. The stages she presents are as follows:
1. Denial and isolation
Not every person will go through each stage or even in the order they are presented. I, However, went through every stage when I first lost my brother. I experienced stages more than once and at different levels of intensity and did so for years until I took this trip. It had been awhile since I felt severe heartache not having Mitul around, up until my time in Paris. I bring up the stages of grief only because when I look back at my time in Paris and noticed how I displayed three of these stages in just one night
So, here’s my story.
The day finally came. The moment I came to Paris and the biggest part of my year-long journey. My brother had always said he wanted to go the top of the Eiffel Tower making that specific moment the highlight of our whole trip for him.
The day I would go to the Eiffel Tower two years after the trip we were supposed to take started off like this: I got dressed in my typical touristy Parisian wear, a red beanie trying to embody a French beret, a black and white striped tank top completed with a black skirt. Alyssa and I headed around the city stopping at The Notre Dame first where I climbed the top to see the Gargoyles that sat atop the famous Gothic-Style Church. We then headed to the grocery store to gather goodies for a picnic aside the Eiffel Tower. With fruit, hummus, a baguette and Champagne in hand, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower to set up our picnic. We played music on a speaker I had just bought, blasting Ed Sheeran as we sipped champagne and indulged in our little feast, watching the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower. Time and the sun both seemed to slip away which meant it was just about time for us to finally climb the tower for a night view of the city. My nerves kicked in at full force and just like anyone nervous and equipped with champagne, I guzzled the bottle down like it was water.
For some reason, I wanted to prolong my trip to the top. Have you ever had a moment you had been waiting for so long and once that moment arrived, you didn’t want it to pass? I guess that was what I was doing in that moment, prolonging it all. Partly because I didn’t want the moment to pass and partly because the person I was supposed to do this with was not right by my side.
So, like a master procrastinator and a grieving person in denial, I decided Alyssa and I should take photos below. Buzzing a bit, I began pose after pose for the GoPro in my Parisian outfit with a dark sky and a lit up Eiffel Tower. I was laughing and joking as I struck each pose, trying to mask the nerves that now sat in my throat ready to burst out in a cocktail of tears and screams. But, just like the picnic, the photoshoot ended and the time had come.
I grabbed my black backpack, changed back into my black flats and headed in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. Each step felt like weights were tied around my ankles, I didn’t want to face this moment. The very moment my brother and I had planned to experience together. Walking towards the Eiffel Tower served as the ultimate reminder that my brother was no longer here, that I wouldn’t ever be able to see the oversized smile on his face as we gazed up at an illuminated Eiffel Tower or feel the excitement jutting from his very being because we both were about to live a moment he had dreamed of doing for so long. Alyssa and I waited in line for our tickets. I stood there with eyes glued to the Eiffel Tower. Thoughts of Mitul rushed through my head and that’s when silent tears started streaming down my face. I didn’t want to cry but they poured out one tear drop after the other despite every attempt to wipe away each tear, as if wiping away the tears could all together wipe the sadness away. Another stage reached-depression. Where every memory of him brought me back to the night I lost him and every emotion I felt after that. It stabbed me repeatedly.
I grabbed my 14 euro ticket and headed to the elevator where tourists were packed in the large box like sardines to take us to the top. I looked to my side imagining Mitul was standing next to me calling me Dhi Dhi and telling me how happy he was in that moment. The elevator stopped and we arrived at the lower pier atop The Eiffel Tower. At that point I felt numb from it all. I zoned out the chaotic rants happening all around me from overly thrilled tourists and walked to the ramp where I could clutch the railing and gaze up at the sky above.
Looking up at the sky I thought to myself, ‘the first star I see will be my brother’. I have no idea why I thought that, but I did. Maybe because I know he’s up above watching me and that even though he isn’t here physically he would have came here to finally share this moment together. Whatever it was I then began searching the sky for Mitul. I looked in every direction in the clear, dark blue sky but there wasn’t a star in sight. It was then that I peered again to my left and noticed a beautiful crescent moon alone in the sky with just itself lighting up the night sky. I let out a smile as if to say, ‘Of course you would be my moon bhai’. A calming feeling overtook me. He made a starless night so this moment would only be us two. I continued to zone out everything around me so all my attention remained on my moon. My eyes then shifted to beautiful Paris below and every so often I’d glance back up at my moon. I climbed to the top pier knowing he was there with me. I couldn’t stop smiling knowing he had showed and as I descended from the tower and walked home in the moonlit sky, I whispered, ‘ I love you bhai’.
It took two and a half years but I finally met him at the top.