That grief is non-linear experience isn’t talked about much, perhaps because it’s just so tricky to articulate. That is why it is rather comforting when art, cinema and music are able to convey what words simply cannot.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did that for me. (Minor spoilers ahead.)

Even before the movie released, we had known that it was bound to have a solemn undertone with Chadwick Boseman gone in real life, and that King T’Challa will be gone in reel life. But, the narrative Marvel Studios allows Ryan Coogler to weave around the other surviving characters is full of lessons.

At the center of it all is Shuri. Angrier, immersed in work, feeling a sense of responsiblity and trying to hold on. Everybody copes with grief differently and everyone who had been around T’Challa was processing his absence differently but Shuri’s coping mechanism felt relatable.

In an all-encompassing scene when Shuri finally lets go of the clothes from her brother’s funeral ceremony, she takes the first step towards healing. With Rihanna’s Lift Me Up playing in the background, and as Shuri was letting go, it felt cathartic.

Instead of shedding tears though, I remember smiling with her. There was pin-drop silence at the multiplex and it felt like being washed over by a wave of calm. That calm, I think, has stayed since that day. I go back to watching that scene often.

Beginning a new year feels harder when someone you love is gone. So, I’ll watch Shuri let go, be reminded of taking another step towards healing and smile again.