4 years later

“Perhaps grief is not about empty, but full. The full breath of life that includes death. The completeness, the cycles, the depth, the richness, the process, the continuity and the treasure of the moment that is gone the second you are aware of it. Alysia Reine”

When I started out on this life long journey of grief, I wasn’t aware of where this path would take me. In the early months and years I could not really believe I could withstand this intensity of the pain. I could not understand how everything could be taken away from me in an instant.

Before my wife was diagnosed with cancer, we had a blissful life for many years. From the moment we got married in 2002, our life had been full of excitement and adventures. We had bought our first home together, travelled to exotic locations, lived abroad for many years and were so fortunate and privileged to be parents to our little boy who was born in 2007.

In the years prior to that fateful day when we got the fatal diagnosis, we led a busy but very happy and prosperous life. I was busy at work and she was busy at home being a full-time mom to a bright and mischievous child. We celebrated festivals, birthdays and anniversaries with great gusto which was so characteristic of her positive and outgoing personality.

Life seemed to be moving ahead in full steam. Every year we would go on 3-4 vacations. It was her favorite activity to research new places and plan family trips. Looking back it seems those years flew by in a blur. Of course I had never anticipated our life together being interrupted permanently.

I had thought this was how life would continue, in fact it would get even better as we looked forward to the next stage of life. We had so many things lined up – vacation trips, moving to our new house, making annual trips to our parents place and the thing she looked forward to the most – enjoying every minute of our little boy’s childhood.

She was extremely fit and led a very active lifestyle. In all our years together I never ever saw her brooding or worrying about something. If something bothered her, she would just take it head on. We all counted on her for everything from small to big, being well networked and informed she was a natural decision maker.

Disease,treatments and hospitals were alien concepts to me. Those were things I read in the papers and generally avoided. Both of us had never been admitted to a hospital. She understood the importance of good health and frequently spoke about it and it was evident in the discipline and zeal she had about fitness.

And then out of nowhere Cancer entered our lives. It wasn’t just any other easily treatable variant but Cancer in its most lethal form – Leukemia. Even after the diagnosis and the subsequent treatments, I didn’t realize how potent it was though I consider myself to be of a scientific temperament and read everything I could get my hands on about the disease. I read other people’s accounts of fighting this dreaded disease, I read in depth about treatment options and even medical research papers and studies that were publicly available.

I guess my vision was blurred because of the fact that I thought she could defeat anything. I had more faith in her than in anything else.Those seven months of gruesome treatments turned our life upside down. I found myself managing home, work, my child and the relentless  hospital admissions and treatments.

Of course this was nothing compared to what she had to endure, rounds after rounds of brutal chemotherapy treatments took her to the edge but every time  she would rally and come back and recover. Only a person with an extraordinary willpower could have endured what she did.

Not even once she would complain. In fact on the good days when she was feeling better, she was very much her usual self, checking on everything, watching  her favorite  master chef on TV and even enjoying the hospital food. We would often talk about all the things we would do once she was better.

In between treatments we found time to go on what would become our last vacation together. And then just as things were looking up and we thought the worst was over that our world folded on itself. The cancer had returned after a brief remission. Once more we rallied.

When Leukemia returns, its ferocious and the only option is a very strong dose of chemotherapy. This proved to be fatal as her body had been weakened by continuous rounds of treatments. The risks were grave but there was no other option.

Her last words to me were “I’ll be fine” and I told her not to worry about our son. At the time I had no idea that this would be our last words to each other but that’s how it turned out.

Plunged into widowhood at 39 with a young child to look after, my world collapsed around me. I had counted on her for everything from running the household to taking major life decisions. Suddenly I found myself to be the sole decision maker. I cringed with disbelief when I had to sign forms and mention that I was a single parent.

But life didn’t stop, the world moved on as if nothing had happened. There were bills to be paid and other pressing responsibilities both at home and at work. I don’t know how I dragged myself to work each day but I knew I had to keep my head down and keep moving forward. I had made her a promise and I would honor it in every way possible.

Most of the people around me didn’t get what I was going through. People whom I had considered close friends parted ways for inexplicable reasons. There were few who stayed and I’m extremely grateful for them.

I met several other people on this journey through my blog. Their thoughtful comments and their own experiences provided much needed peace to my shattered soul. I read extensively about grief, spirituality,  afterlife and many such things I had not bothered to think about earlier.

Today I’m married again and have a great family. Life is good once more and I have come a long way since those early days. I used to read that grief changes and I can understand what it means now. It never goes away and there are always days and moments when it rears its head out of nowhere and in most unexpected places.

I’m still bitter and angry about what happened and how unfair it was. I don’t know if I will be ever able to make peace with it. I have moved forward not ‘moved on’ because no such thing exists.

Our son just turned ten and he’s a bright and happy child. I talk to him often about his mother telling him funny stories and all the things that she used to do for him. He has a new mom in his life who also loves him a lot and he begins each morning with giving her a big hug. He also has a big brother now and though initially it was hard for both of them, they have bonded and are now just like any other siblings. They share a room, fight, play video games together and are protective about each other though being boys they would never like to admit it.

Life turned out to be very different from what I had imagined. Just a few years ago, I would never have imagined undergoing so many life changing events in such a short time. I have changed in ways that sometimes I also cannot understand completely. Life meanwhile has continued to move on regardless.

Yesterday marked four years since I lost my wife. The loss was multifold as I also lost my best friend and the person who knew me inside out. We were together for 12 years and though I should be grateful I got those with her, I also feel a deep sorrow that she was taken so early and left behind so many unfulfilled dreams.

I don’t look for answers because nothing can justify her absence. Her extraordinary spirit is very much alive and with me always through life’s ups and downs and I carry her in my heart wherever I go.

Yesterday when I woke up and looked outside I saw cherry blossoms  blooming on a tree nearby. They were her favorite flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A life full of colors

“Red: [narrating] Sometimes it makes me sad, though… Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”

Today is the festival of Holi in India. It’s a festival celebrated with colors, with joy and with abandon. It was my late wife’s favorite festival. After four years, I still hate to put the word ‘late’ or departed before her name. She was anything but late, full of energy and perpetually busy.

This festival gelled so much with her personality, her presence was electric. She didn’t have to do anything to create this impact but it was just the aura that she had. If she was around, you would feel it instantly. She was a natural leader, taking charge of things and bringing everyone together.

So much of life has passed by in the intervening years but I feel her void everyday. Its like living with a huge void that is impossible to fill. Memories come and go and lately I have started a personal project to write about them. I’m fearful that in time, they would start slipping from my grasp and they are all I’m left with.

When I started this blog, I wanted to immortalize her through my writings. But now I don’t write here that often. I write much more privately in my journals and on the memory project that I’m working on slowly but diligently.

When you lose someone so dear, its hard to explain in words what you feel on such occasions. The vocabulary that you need to express what you feel doesn’t exist in the form of letters and words. You feel the pain always – sometimes its in the background and sometimes it all just comes back.

March is a difficult month for me. I lost her in March and also its my birthday month. But March in India also has the festival of Holi and I believe its only fitting. If anything else, I want her to be remembered for things that really set her apart – her indomitable spirit and her incredible zest for life.

She would have probably admonished me for feeling sad and down. It was just not the way she looked at life irrespective of the circumstances. When I see pictures of people celebrating I often feel that familiar lump in my throat because she was supposed to be here but isn’t.

She was only 37 and left behind so many unfulfilled dreams. She wanted to travel and do so many things, the little home projects that we had planned, the 40th birthday celebrations that never came for both her and me, our son’s childhood that she had lived for and so many things.

Cancer took a lot away, it took away the central figure around which our lives revolved. Over the years, I have become so much more responsible and different from what I was. The innocence and a sense of invincibility has been replaced with indifference to life at times. I have felt the weight of the world.

But I have carried on regardless. There have been good days too. I have come a long way in these years. Today I’m able to participate in life again, I have been able to rekindle my old interests and hobbies. I have a new family and its because of them that I have been able to go forward in life.

Grievers suffer in silence. They are expected to be strong and carry on as if nothing has happened. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms. Mine is to write, to take long solitary walks or just observe nature.

Few days ago at night I just happened to look up and saw it was a clear night and the stars and the moon glittered, its something that never fails to move me. I thought to myself ” I don’t even know where you are”. It’s a thought I struggle with a lot. I wish I had some answers.

But on the other good days, I see her in the colors around me, in the chirping of birds in the morning, in the beautiful formations they make when they fly home in the evenings, in the joy I see in children playing outside, in the festivals and all the good things in life. I know she loved life and specially festivals and celebrations.

I feel I should live for both of us but often I fail because I’m just not wired the same way she was. She lived every moment of her short but incredible life.She took in the experiences and her grit and her courage is something I can only get inspired with but never possess.

I’m an ordinary mortal and I try as best as I can. I wish everyone peace and courage in their journeys. I read stories of others like me, I silently empathize with them because I know what it feels like. We are all alone but our life stories connect us in miraculous ways.

 

 

 

Long after.. 

Long after the music died,

Long after the people dispersed, 

Long after all the obligations were over, 

There was darkness and in that darkness the warmth of memories, 

Of lovely and unforgettable days spent together, 

Of exotic adventures and travels far and wide, 

Of laughter and happiness that seemed infinite at the time, 

Of gentle days and fun filled nights, 

Now all gone, just memories that come back to  soothe  a broken heart, 

Such have been my travels in this life, 

Endless love and now endless pain in equal measure.. 

Alive in my heart.. 

25th September is my late wife’s birthday. It’s been over three years since we lost her. She was only 37 with a full life ahead of her. We never got to grow old together like I had always dreamed of.

I don’t write here often as I did in those darkest days of my life. But I continue to write mainly to keep her memory alive. Our son was only six when he lost his beloved mother but I hope when he grows up he will know through these writings of mine about how incredible his mother was and how dearly she loved him. 

She loved to celebrate her birthday and would remind us from weeks in advance. When I think of her I always remember this extraordinary person full of life, always smiling and always giving. She could never say no to people and would go out of her way to help. 

One meeting with her is all it took to form an association that was life long. She had that effect on people. I hardly remember a time when she was down. Her love for life was extraordinary. 

She loved to travel and see new places and it’s because of her that we traveled to some incredible places. We had a tradition of getting a fridge magnet as a souvenir whenever we visited a new place. Today my refrigerator is almost all covered with memories. 

I have continued this tradition after her passing to honor her memory. I often feel she came into my life as a ray of sunshine. I just didn’t know I would lose her so soon. I could have never imagined a life without her. 

But I have gone on despite losing her. She fought with extraordinary courage against a deadly disease to be with us and this is the least I can do for  her. 

Today I’m fortunate to have a family again and my son seems to be happy and thriving. I often remember her words when she was battling cancer in the hospital. She would ask me to go and be with our son – “I’ll be fine, he needs one of us”. And true to her wishes I have stayed behind. 

I wish I could tell everyone that it gets easier with time but I would be lying. It actually gets tougher but we learn to live with the constant pain. It becomes a part of who you are. 

I take solace in the memories of the beautiful years we spent together. That is something even death couldn’t take away from me. I was just very very fortunate to have her in my life. 

There are so many little things that I remember fondly, her love for food and peppy music. She was perpetually busy as if deep down she knew that she had limited time here and needed to experience all that she could. 

She never gave much thought to material things. The thing that made her the happiest was just being together, the three of us sitting together and playing games or going on holidays together. 

I guess my introvertness exasperated her at times but as with every thing else she took it in her stride. We were a team and I’m so proud of everything we accomplished together. 

Today there are no celebrations on her birthday. There is no music,cake and dancing that she enjoyed so much. There are also no gifts and cards I can give her. I just go about my day as best as I can trying to keep it together at work. 

I walk and my steps are heavy, my eyes tear often but then I stop,  have a piece of her favourite chocolate cake in her honour and through the lump in my throat I wish her happy birthday.

“Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion

Lost to the world 

It’s been a long time since I last wrote here. Life has been good and after everything we’ve been through I certainly know what small things in life can mean. I’ve been thinking about the changing nature of grief,of how it keeps unfolding in new ways as the years roll by. In my own case,I’m onto year four and the pain shrouds itself in myriad ways.

I read somewhere that when someone you love dearly dies,they die in a million places.They are gone not only from the present but from all the life that is yet to come. Mother and Father’s Day are behind us this year and on both these occasions I’ve felt the icy grip of deep sadness. I grieve all the moments we were supposed to have together but couldn’t.

The other thing that really hurts as time passes is that your loved one is not talked about,at least not to me. I would love to hear about my late wife from friends or family once in a while but I find that enveloped in a cold silence the world moves on. To the person who is left behind nothing can be more comforting than talking about their loved one,hearing their name again.

I guess many times people don’t want to bring it up as they find it upsetting or they think they are reminding the griever. But the truths is that we never forgot so there’s no reminding. Sometimes I talk to my son about his mother and try to keep her memory alive. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find him watching a Harry Potter movie. I told him how much his mother loved the series. She would have been thrilled had she been around.

It’s small inconsequential moments like these when her absence really hurts.She should have been around watching her child grow up, teaching him new things,attending his school functions,fretting over lunches and homework but she got to experience none of it. I remember how much she was looking forward to him being in grade one so that the longer school hours would give her some much needed time to herself.

But life turned out differently.By the time grade one came along,she was gone and I had taken on the role of being both Mom and dad. The year she was diagnosed with cancer,she had at least four trips planned none of which happened. In her honour I made two of those alone as a single parent with my son.

The city and the community I live has already changed so much. There are new shops and facilities that open up but she isn’t around to experience any of it. It’s almost like she’s been left behind frozen in time while the world has moved on. I guess now I understand what it means to die in a million places.

Four years ago around this time I was living my last months of normal pre cancer life with her. I didn’t know it then but I was just months away from my world coming crashing down upon me. But at that time I could see nothing coming ,a long life stretched out in front. But it turned out so differently.

It’s not that I’m not grateful. I’ve come a long way since then. Today I’ve a loving family again and quite honestly I never thought I could experience happiness of any sort again but I do. I’ve regained many things that I thought were lost forever. But I’m no longer the same person that I was. I’ve learned to live with a perpetual void.

I like taking solitary walks. Some days during mornings or at dusk, I just stop to hear the chirping of birds in the distance,I look at the amazing colours in the sky and I pause. In that moment I experience a deep sense of loss and peace at the same time.

Another year of absence 

Yesterday another year went by in my journey of afterloss.The date holds some very painful memories which I have written about in the hope that in time I will be relieved of them. 

Today is holi – a festival of colors in India. It was also my late wife’s favorite festival. I guess it had a fair sprinkling of all the things that she greatly cherished – colors, music, food, dancing,  the company of friends and celebration. 

She is deeply missed by all and the void she left behind in the lives of everyone that she touched is irreparable. Sometimes I wonder what she would want me to do with my life but then again I can only guess. 

Grief and loss is extremely unique and extremely personal. I find that I am always alone in my memories. The person with whom I created these is long gone. I can’t turn around and say “do you remember the time..”. 

From time to time as the mood strikes me, I try to come here and write about her in the hope that this way I can honor her life and the extraordinary person that she was. 

In all honesty, even after three years sometimes it’s difficult to believe everything that happened. It’s true that with time the nature of grief changes. The pain I feel today is very different from what I felt in the initial days and months. 

It has settled in my bones and become a part of who I am today. In my long journey, I do come to places of peace and rest from time to time. Today I’m married again and have a wonderful family. I find that I look for peace and contentment in seeing them happy and moving forward. 

Yet there are days when the happy memories of my past make me melancholy. Some days they do make me smile but I always remember “how strange, how sad, the days that are no more”. 

In the past year, we settled down as a new family in a new home. We went on holidays and life has been good despite the challenges. I’m proud of the things that we  have accomplished together. A few years ago all this did not look possible. It’s only in retrospect that we realize how far we have come. 

My journey continues on this plane.I remember the last few months when we fought cancer. She was the bravest soul I have met and shrouded in her strength I had also clinged on to hope that life could go back to what it was. All through her treatment she never ever complained but soldiered on with a steely determination so typical of her. 

I remember that the last program that she watched on TV was master chef. I guess it just typified the incredible attitude that she possessed of living life to the full regardless of the circumstances. I don’t possess that but I always derive strength and courage to go on from her example. 

Evolving grief


I don’t write too often these days. As time passes I have noticed that the urge to share and write about my experiences have diminished. The feelings however have not certainly. Grief is a life long journey,it’s not something that just goes away with time. It’s hard to exactly translate how loss uncovers itself as days,months and years go by.Many days it stays in the background and then on others days it leaps back with a ferocity that is totally unexpected.

I’m nearing three years since my life changed for ever. Life has continued to change in myriad ways since then. Today I have a brand new life and a family whom I love very much . I’ve continued to move forward with my life while trying to integrate my loss . Sometimes I feel I’m successful and making progress and on other days I feel I’m failing. Either way life goes on regardless.

Recently we celebrated my younger sons ninth birthday.It was his third without his beloved mother. I remember the last birthday we celebrated together.She had just been back from a very high dose chemotherapy treatment and yet she made it a point to celebrate her little boy’s birthday as if nothing had happened.I felt too stressed to celebrate that day and it was certainly difficult to feel happy with all the uncertainties that cancer can bring into your life.

But she was different,her spirit remained untouched by the disease.I remember her laughing,clapping and throughly enjoying her little boys birthday.In the years when all was well,she would plan for months – deciding the venue,shopping for outfits and exploring new cake receipes. I guess this was the highpoint of the year for her. On the birthday she would always take a picture on the exact time of his birth.

The first birthday that we celebrated without her,I tried my best to do everything as she would have liked. It had only been a few months since her passing but I felt I couldn’t let her down.So we celebrated as we had always but without her it felt soulless. However to see our son happy and enjoying with his friends made it all worth it.

The duality of grief can be very difficult to handle. A perfectly happy occasion sometimes has grey hues underlining it. It’s a new normal that I have learnt to accept. I feel the pain everyday at realising she is missing out on his growing years and so much else.So many milestones and occasions and she’s not around to experience it.

I guess this is the greatest challenge for people who have undergone deep loss – integrating the loss into life that goes on and living with that bottomless void each day. I hear a lot of ‘everyone’s life is difficult ‘ and that is true but other life challenges don’t even measure up to the endurance that is required to go on in the face of loss of the most important person in your life.

The thoughts that she’s already missed out on so much is unnerving to me. I don’t know how it will feel to have the years go by. I look at pictures of people who celebrate their anniversaries every year, I marvel at the years they have accumulated together. And I’m constantly reminded of what I have lost. I got twelve years and they will stay with me forever. I just didn’t think it will be over so soon when we were looking forward to life so much.

And yet,life goes on..

Always loved

Today is a sacred and special day for me as its my late wife’s birthday. She would have turned 40 today. She would often talk about all the plans she had – of having a big party with all her loved ones, of going on a solo holiday with her friends and many others which remained unfulfilled. 

She loved celebrating her birthday. It pains me no ends that today there’s nothing I can do for her. Why fate had to be so cruel to us I would never know. She would always call people personally to wish them on their birthdays. Even when she was sick and in the hospital, she would call and try not to miss an important occasion. I guess she had a  way of making people feel special. It was one of her many endearing traits. 

There are so many birthdays that we celebrated together. Often it was just us, a quiet dinner or lunch interspersed with phone calls from family and friends. The last one we celebrated together, she had just been back from another grueling round of chemo but she never let it show. We spent a quite evening at home. I treasure that memory a lot, the last one together. 

When I look back everything feels like a dream. We had many years of uninterrupted happiness. At the time it didn’t feel like we were making memories. Of course no one expects their lives to be cut short so mercilessly. 

In a way I’m glad that her last birthday was spent at home and not in the hospital. It was fitting, a last hurrah. Of course at that time despite the harsh reality it felt that we had just hit a road block,that life would go back to what it was eventually. However as I’ve found out, your wishes and dreams have no bearing on reality. 

One of the main reasons I write this blog is to keep her memory alive. It’s a precious record for my little boy to know his mother when he grows up. There’s little else that remains other than memories and I do not want these also to die with me. 

This is the third birthday since her passing. The first one was extremely difficult. It’s not that today it’s gotten any easier. It’s just that you learn to carry the burden better. 

I will be always infinitely proud that I got to spend so much time with such an extraordinary person. If there is any consolation, it’s that she spent her life laughing and chasing her dreams. Even a deadly disease like leukemia couldn’t touch her indomitable spirit. 

Till her last days she fought with extraordinary courage to reclaim the life that had been taken away from her without any rhyme or reason. In the end she left me a much better person than I was when we first got together. 

So today when I can’t do any of the things that you normally do for your loved ones on their birthdays, I quietly pray to her to protect us from harm and keep showing me the way forward. 

Always loved and never forgotten. 

2 years today

Today marks the second anniversary of death, I’m still unsure of how to attach ‘death’ with someone who was so alive. The heart still refuses to believe what the mind has known all along. I’m not sure if it will ever feel real, if it will ever sink in. There’s nothing good about this day as it permanently marked the end of life as I had known it. In one single instance, the innocense and spontaniety about life evaporated.

My late wife lived her life with remarkable enthusiasm down to her last days.Despite the gravity of the situation, there wasn’t a day where we felt that all was lost. Infact just the day before, she had shown visible signs of improvement. I had thought that the worst was over, that we would survive this eventually.

Early in the morning on Mar 12th, I received a call from the ICU. The doctor on call said I shoud rush immediately, I didn’t know how to react. My logical faculties were on the verge of shutting down. It had been almost 10 days since she had been in the ICU fighting with extraordinary courage for life and for the people she had dearly loved.

Before cancer invaded our lives, there was not a single day either of us had spent in the hospital. She was extremely fit, full of energy and filled with a life force that was infectious. Perhaps it’s a testimony to her physical and mental strength that she was able to withstand months of such gruesome treatments.

The day before she was moved to the ICU, she was in unbearable pain.Even getting off from the bed was a nightmare. Yet, she walked to the restroom refusing support, teeth clenched and eyes fierce with determination. I guess  that was her way to defy the odds. The two channels that she had watched most during the long and innumerable hospital stays were comdey central and the food channel. Laughter and food – her two great loves.

In the wee hours of the morning when I got that call, unknown to me the last day of her life in this physical realm had begun. I was handed an xray and told that fluid had filled up in her lungs. I remember asking “surely there would be a way to drain this”, we had come so far in our battle against cancer. How could this be a road block? No one told me what next, I was just told it was serious and they would try a procedure to alter her position so that the fluid could be drained but there were no gaurantees it would work.

By afternoon, I was informed that she might need dialysis as the kidneys were failing. It was only much later that I read that this was the first sign of multi organ failure which means that the end is near. But on that day, I couldnt even remotely fathom it. I was allowed in the ICU in the evening and I sat near her – just the nurse and me surrounded by flickering screens and medical stats that defined life and death.

My eyes were fixated on the screens, I was watching the numbers go up and down. I have no recollection of what I was thinking because I wasnt – I was in a deep mental void, the kind when your brain has decided to shut down in the face of extreme stress. I dont know how long I sat like that, time stopped and freezed on me. I remember being told to take a break and go out but I didnt hear anything. Words no longer registered.

I saw the nurse hustle around and pump in more and more meds to stabilise the falling blood pressure -“pressers” as known in the medical jargon. I looked at my wife and she seemed to be in a deep sleep. The breathig was labored but it was hard to tell as she was on life support.

Then just past 910 pm, the dreaded straight line appeared on the screen. As for me, I still registered nothing. I got up and adamantly asked the nurse and she was too shocked to say anything. Then she murmurred “the doctor will soon come”. I had no idea what she was talking about. The doctor came in and as a matter of fact said “She’s no more”. Still nothing registered. I asked him how can that be as she was still breathing. Of course in my almost comatic state, I had not realized that the life support machine was still on.

I held her hands for the last time – limp and cold. She hardly looked like the person I had known all these years together. Something seemed to have left the body. The absence of the life force was unmistakable.I didnt cry or wail, tears streamed but I was numbed beyond belief. I left the hospital a few hours later, all alone in this world filled with people but without that one person who made my world go around.

I had switched off from this world. I saw everything that was happening around me but they seemed to be coming from a far away place. A few days later, the last rites over,I found myself carrying an urn of ashes.Twelve years of laughter,happiness, countless memories and unfullfilled dreams rested in that urn.In accordance with religious customs I submerged them at the confluence of three rivers.

On the way back, we stopped at a cafe on the same highway that we had gone on numerous holidays together. I recalled the last time we had stopped here, enroute on yet another vacation.I felt a brutal coldness in that moment. It was a feeling cold, unforgiving and of being scaringly alone in a world full of people.I still shudder when I think of that moment.

It was only after everything was over that the pain erupted with its mind numbing intensity. There was no getting away from it. I woke up with it and till I fell into a troubled sleep, there was no respite. My insides screamed with pain but no words would come out.It was almost like I was drowning and no one heard me.

It was then that I realized that getting out your thoughts was a healthy way of grieving. I started this blog and since then have shared my journey here. These two years have been the toughest years that I have had to face and no matter what comes next, I know I would be ok as I came through these – bruised and weary but alive and even thriving on days.

I have not given up on life as that is what I learned from her. Her courage and determination in the toughest moments have inspired me to get back to life and try to live it in the best manner possible. I’m not successful on many days as the weight of memories is sometimes difficult to carry but I try to move forward a little each day.

Today the pain has eased and on most days its a dull ache untill something just brings everything crashing down but hopefully those days are far and few. I have been fortunate to find new love and a new family. Its not been easy for either of us but together we have pushed ahead towards a new life for us and our children. My new life partner is a strong but compassionate person who has not let losses in her life diminish her spirit.I owe much of my recovery to her support and encouragement.

I know that my late wife is with me on this journey and though I have abandoned God just as He abandoned me, I find peace in the fact that I have someone to whom I can pray to. In difficult moments I ask her to show the way forward and it almost always helps in ways that are difficult to explain rationally.

In this journey of two years I have found that grief isolates people. There were some who avoided me like plague. And yet I’m thankful to family and friends who stayed and offered support – through messages, reading these blogs and checking on me when I was down and out.

I have found that no matter what, you will be judged and that’s ok with me. I have never conformed to rules that people impose on others. It seems strange to me that there are some who think that one should be resigned to a miserable life after a loss. Moving forward is considered being selfish and self aborbed.

Though she lived for only 37 years, she lived a life that was full. She got to travel, make numerous friends and lived each day with energy and passion so characterestic of her.She became an incredible life partner, and the most endearing mother to her little boy. People who knew her best often remember her fondly and always talk about the warmth and happiness that she exuded. I know that because it came from within.

On days like this, though I battle raw grief again,I also take pride in the fact that she shared her life with me. We created memories of a lifetime. But losing her has also been the hardest thing that I have had to endure. I believe she would be happy to see me go forward and not give up on life.

I’m now the keeper of precious memories and her enduring legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A return to blogging

“Piece by piece, I reenter the world. A new phase. A new body, a new voice. Birds console me by flying, trees by growing, dogs by the warm patch they leave on the sofa. Unknown people merely by performing their motions. It’s like a slow recovery from a sickness, this recovery of one’s self.”— Toby Talbot

 

Its been a very long time since my last post here. This blog is very precious to me as I have recorded so many memories and days of pain, heartbreak and the occasional relief and happiness. In the months that have gone by, my life has changed in many ways which I could not have foreseen a year back.

I got married to a wonderful woman back in Oct last year. She has been on a similar journey as me and we understand each other in many ways. We are quite different individuals and that makes life interesting and enriching as we bring different strengths and weaknesses together. We have a beautiful family now with two boys aged eight and twelve.

While its been an exciting time for all of us, its also been a transitional phase as we try to integrate into a new life together.We still live in different cities but we plan to get together later this year and finally start living the life we have been planning and talking about for some time now.

We will be moving to a new house, a new community, new school for the boys. I’m really looking forward to truly starting a new phase in my life.It has taken a lot of pain,sweat and tears to get to this point but its been worth the struggles.Of course the challenges do not end, there are many new things to be learned, new issues to be addressed.

I think the reason I stopped writing was that at some point it just wore me down. In the beginning when the times were the toughest, it really helped me get my emotions out. I wrote almost everyday, through the intense pain and tears and I found that it helped me survive those days.

Though grief never really goes away, there are still moments of intense sadness but with time and effort you learn to manage it. My reasons for writing are primarily that I love to do it and also I would like to continue so that I can help others who are walking this difficult path.

As I start a new phase in my life, I want to write about the new emotions and feelings I have, the new challenges we face as a blended family and last but not the least how we are continuing on this journey to accomplish new goals and dreams.Not all of this has to be sad and serious. We had a terrible terrible thing happen to us but we are doing ok, we are doing alright.

I used to follow a lot of blogs here, and I will continue to do so because we all share a special kinship. We are survivors, we will go on to live full and enriching lives. The ones we have lost will always have a very special place in our hearts, dearly loved and forever missed. Our lives are richer because they touched us in ways manifold.

Its a journey of ups and downs, not all days are the same but I strive to improve each day.Meditation and walking has really helped me stay calm through all of this.I’m learning new things just for the pleasure of it – long forgotten dreams from my twenties have been reignited.

And then there are days that I feel I’m back in the darkness,the pain is raw again and it feels I have failed myself. I guess, its part of the healing process, and you start all over again. For all those who are on this path, please know that better days will come. For now it might seem improbable, but its true.

The journey continues..