A long weekend

Time passes slowly these days, I miss her so much at every hour of the day or night. This long weekend was another grim reminder of what I have lost. She would have planned a getaway,researched places, made reservations and told me which days to take off to maximize the trip. Or if we were in the city, she would have planned shopping, movies and getogethers at home.

Life with her was a celebration there was never a dull moment. There was always so much to do and so little time to do it. There were times I used to just stay at home and watch cricket. Even at home she would make sure we enjoyed every moment, ordering in, calling over friends.

I remember once during the long hospitalizations, I was at home catching a break, I didn’t like being at home without her so I messaged her and told her I was getting bored. Her exact words were “there’s so much to do” and she went on and actually gave me a list. I think this ever busy happy spirit was something that defined her.

Even the long and impossible treatments failed to dampen her zest for life. On days she was feeling better, she would be up and about – calling friends and family, checking out the latest news and enjoying even hospital food. We used to chat on whatsapp all the time, I would get a lot of messages on such days. I had a lot of answering to do as well on how I was managing things-was I checking the school diary, did I pay the cook… and many such nuances of daily life which were her domain earlier. So late one night I told her that Facebook had bought whatsapp, I was pretty sure being in hospital and sick she wouldn’t have heard about it. I was wrong as usual, she even knew how much was the deal worth.

I think about all the long weekends and holidays and there’s a place I can associate with them. All the good times were her creation. We just tagged along. My life was busy and full much like hers.

Now with her not around, I have to think about what to do, where to take Nishu and keep him occupied. It’s suddenly a very hard life. It’s like someone has knocked the wind out of me. It will take getting used to, not everyone is capable of spreading joy and happiness like that. Some people come into the world with that purpose and when they are gone it makes the others feel if it was all real and not a beautiful dream.

But maybe some free and happy spirits like her are meant not to be caged. They just fly away.

” When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”

A Beautiful Quote

Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.

The Aftermath of it all

When the mind has been constantly under trauma for a long period of time,it begins to work in ways so strange that you feel like standing on a beach while waves upon waves wash all over you. Only thing this is not holiday and there is no water only your own emotions. Life seems like an endless flashback, images and voices long forgotten but stored in some remote corner of your cranium make their grand entry.

I have been feeling the full impact of the events of the past seven months in the last few days,it has left me drained. The time during treatments was one of action and constant planning so even though it was physically and mentally demanding, the mind was occupied and every day was something to anticipate. I read extensively,made notes,talked to doctors and generally kept a punishing schedule managing hospital,work and home.Of course this was nothing in comparison to what she had to undergo,we only worked from the sidelines.

Now,with everything in the past,life seems to have come to a standstill.There are no plans to be made or things to anticipate.There is a deafening silence around and a sense of acute loss which seems all encompassing. Also is a sense of losing this battle,I know the doctors in all their good intentions move on to other patients,friends move on to live their own lives which they should.But for me,time stands still- I can’t go back and moving forward seems meaningless. I have lost everything in this battle, I’m weary and wounded.Somehow I still breathe.

I realize the ‘negative’ intent of my words but I won’t lie,this is how I feel. Call me maudlin or  a pessimist but for me this is as bare as it gets,it’s all out in the open here.I guess I have never been sadder in my life. Before she came into my life, I was a loner, an introvert and always alone in a crowd. But living these wonderful years with her, I changed. Some of her zest and enthusiasm for life and people rubbed off on me as well.I started opening up to life.I looked forward to every day,treated people well and tried to make a difference in my own small way.I didn’t care much if I lost or won at work,my usual refrain to colleagues was “Life’s great outside work”. I knew even if I failed to achieve something,we always had each other. This thought was like a lifesaver for me,I lived on it.

Today,I don’t even have that cushion. My stronghold in life is gone,all my fears are now laid bare,I’m under attack and I have nowhere to turn. I depended on her so much emotionally that having to face life without her,I’m going nowhere. I want to hold her hand like I did and tell her all my troubles. I want her to casually dismiss them like she used to and tell me to calm down,there’s more to this world.

I guess, I just miss her so much that I can’t get over it. I really want her back knowing fully well it’s all lost now.Truth is all these years she protected me from everything negative that now the floodgates seem to have opened.Why did I get only 12 years with her when people grow old together? I’m not going to have her around anymore and its killing me.It’s a curse I’ve been handed by whoever decides such things.

Grief can’t be shared. Everyone carries it alone, his own burden, his own way.

Living with memories..

These days the thought that keeps haunting me is how do you live with an ocean of memories and I have enough to last a lifetime.Just as in life,her presence was my joy,now her memories keep me alive.Heck, I haven’t even accepted she is no longer with me. I get jitters at the thought. I miss her every moment,every day.I can hear voices and happy images fill my mind and heart.

The more I think of it,the more it becomes apparent. She was in a hurry,floating through life spreading happiness and warmth to whomever came in her contact. I was blessed to spend 12 years with her, she was by far the best thing that happened to me.I believe in her 37 years of life she lived more than what most people do in a lifetime. Now that I think of it,I do not recall seeing her being down ever.Good times or bad she was always her happy,cheerful self.During the long hospitalizations, when I would get frustrated,her refrain was “Things are tough,doesn’t mean you have to sulk”, and she was the one enduring the pain and suffering.

I believe even when she was scared and feared the worst,she did not show it just to keep us afloat. How I wish, I would have been honest to discuss the worst case scenario, I never did, her strength had become my hope. A certain amount of self denial also fogged me as I never imagined life without her. I wouldn’t survive that I was sure so I never went beyond that. But now I face the scary prospect of walking the path without her. It’s already a nightmare.

They say grief has stages,right now I’m supposed to be in the deepest point and apparently things start looking better in the long term. I have serious doubts.I’m not strong like her, I’m weak and ordinary. I do not have the will power she had,I get lost easily without her at my side.But I’ve been condemned to live without her,it’s become my curse.

I’ve been cheated by fate,destiny,God whatever name you call it. This was not supposed to end like this.I saw her endure unimaginable pain and suffering and couldn’t do anything other than watch helplessly from the sidelines while she fought the battle alone.Before all this happened, I was not after money or career or riches. The brightest part of my day was coming back to my family. It’s what I lived for.I was happy to just be together, that’s pretty much what I cared for.

But everything I lived for was taken away from me,in a jiffy. I’m finished,done but I need to keep breathing for I have her dreams to live for. I have to push myself to getup ,go to work.I live in the past in her memories and voices and people around me seem to be in a far off place. It’s a strange life, one that I do not recognize. Will it get better with time, I do not know. Do I want it to get better? I’m not sure. I guess I don’t know where I’m going at the present.

When I wake up,she’s not there, when I come back,still not there. Sometimes, I wonder where she is,what she is doing. I’m sure she is laughing at what I write here, she always thought I was an emotional fool. I won’t disagree but can you please come back..I’m just getting killed here without you..

There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

Bringing joy to others..

I got  a call from a close friend today who had not known of Nilu’s illness and had spent time with us in the US. His first question was that how can this happen to such a warm and fun loving person. I wish I had the answers, she was always putting others before herself. Just a couple of months ago,we had the doctor’s appointment on a saturday and the office was jam packed with no place to sit. Even though she was feeling weak she offered her place to an old patient. Helping and bringing joy to others was a way of life with her.

Even before the illness she would make it a point to treat others well.At home whenever we had family or friends over,she would be the one who would ensure everyone was being taken care of. She loved having get to gethers and would plan games and surprises. Whenever any of our old friends would be in town,she would ensure she made arrangements for meeting,food and gifts. It was never a chore or obligation for her,just a genuine sense of affection.

She had the endearing trait to connect with people of all ages. Whether it was kids or our relatives, everyone loved her company.She maintained and nurtured relationships something I am very poor at. Even the day we got the horrible news of the disease relapse,she made sure she attended Nishu’s annual day function and not only that, sent a message few days later from the hospital to his teachers congratulating them on how well the show was organized. Most people will not take the trouble to thank while even leading normal lives.

Sometime back, one of our close relatives mentioned to Nilu that she was having trouble finding good matches for her daughter. Nilu took over the entire project,creating online profiles for her daughter on match making sites,answering emails/calls for her. I’m not sure how many people will take time out of their busy schedules to help someone like that.

This brings me back to my friend’s question- why someone so selfless and good at heart has to be taken from us. I do not know and since the modicum of faith I had is also gone now, I do not want to recourse to gibberish like it’s all His plan. If it is,what kind of plan advocates taking good people while criminals and murderers freely roam the streets. Truth is there are no answers. There is nothing than can bring any sense of comfort. What happened was incredibly unfair. She did not deserve one bit of the suffering she was singled out for.

Seven months ago,all was well with the world. Then suddenly one fine day, all hell broke lose. Despite having so many odds against her,she fought an unbelievably courageous battle always positive and hopeful even in the face of great pain and suffering. On tough days and there were many,her exact words were “I have to fight”.

Only I know how great a loss I have been inflicted with. She was one of a kind, they are a rare species. My life now is so empty without her,its almost as if the lights have gone out plunging me in darkness.I will continue to find my way in the darkness hoping she still guides me. It’s the loss of a lifetime, my curse is to walk the path alone,I will stumble and fall but I will not give up chasing the dreams that she had. I owe her at least this much.

 

 

 

Do people really move on?

In all the well meaning advice I have received so far, the one that I find most difficult to resonate with is that with time one can move on. I do not believe this is possible.The very reason a person is engulfed in such intense grief is because a loved one is lost, the absence of someone you love dearly hurts every moment, and since nothing can bring the person back,the pain never subsides. I believe with time,people become good at managing the pain better and do what is necessary to live a functional life. But does that mean the person has moved on? The absence is there today and it will be there ten years later and for a lifetime. There is no escaping it. So how can you really move on?

I have read about healing and such but since I do not really believe in religious mumbo jumbo,I find it difficult to understand things like true healing and such.In all probability you get used to living with the pain. It’s like living with a chronic illness,it never really goes away.

I know we like to believe there is still a connection and your loved one is with you still in spirit but then its not the same as getting home everyday and seeing them open the door.The small things like talking every day,messages,making plans and even arguments is what is missed the most along with warmth only love and companionship can create. Once a person goes, with her goes all these lovely things that make life so worth living. So moving on or finding that invisible connection is at best a remote consolation.

You wake up everyday and the absence hits you like a tonne of bricks and you try to console yourself that its alright because she is still with you. That helps but then what you want is to see her next to you and be able to talk just like old times.

The difference is unmistakable and so is grief. You never move on, you only do the things everyone does and live with the pain.Its your destiny for want of a better word.

 

Going back in the world..

I went back to work today,most friends and family wanted me to. I didn’t have very high hopes nor did I think it would do me wonders. It’s just that I had no better option at this time. I couldn’t stay any longer at home,it was seriously testing my sanity and I wanted to get into some routine so that time would pass less painfully. The day was hard as expected,though my superiors were quite sensitive and understanding to the situation and offered me several options to make the transition to my new life easier. Many colleagues came up and expressed their condolences. It’s hard to say anything in this situation but I did make it a point to tell them that my wife fought courageously against a faceless enemy and she will always be my inspiration.

While on the way to work, I passed the familiar route,there were shops and malls along the way that she would frequent. I felt the familiar lump in the throat rising.It happens way too many times these days,everything seems to be a trigger. With the day gone by I was feeling somewhat relieved when I was caught unaware once again. It was evening,I came back home early and there it was my nemesis grief waiting on me, it seized me the moment I hit home.Her absence at home,I swear I wasn’t expecting it, the deafening silence that seems to echo every now and then.My already wild emotions went on a power trip.It brought happy images and voices from the days gone by which now seem like gold dust. I started feeling the desperate urge to meet and tell her about the day, about a mini cooper I spotted on the roads today, and then the sinking feeling again telling me its all over,I have lost her forever.It’s exhausting this roller coaster ride of emotions ripping your heart out at every possible opportunity.

There is no solution really to this mess, no easy way out,no place to hide. Friends and family in their good intentions want my old self back. How do I tell them – that part of me went with her. What is left is new to me as well. I have trouble understanding this new self,I’m on shaky ground,it has a habit of moving from beneath me unannounced, it’s scary.I do know what I want- I want her back, I want our old life back but everyone tells me its of no use to think on those lines. It’s really over. I need to make a new start to a destination I do not know.I’m alone in this journey,I need to fight my demons and find my way to somewhere.

One thought that always soothes the mind is that she is still with me though I can’t see or hear her. Call me crazy but I still talk to her. I know she watches over me.I have been through a lot in a short time. If this too is an illusion,I’m grateful for it.

 

Few Outings and related trauma..

I had lost the sense of days till someone reminded me that today was Sunday.Not that it was any different from rest of the days,grief continues to creep up on me sometimes unannounced.I was forced out to lunch at my sister’s place today. It almost worked generously helped along with few glasses of wine until I almost forgot for a moment and got caught up in a conversation.But then it all came back with a furious blow,events of the last few weeks began floating by one by one till I was numbed again.I closed my eyes and hoped for it to pass.

I went out for a walk hoping the fresh air would clear the fog. It didn’t. Instead I started reminiscing about the old days when our life was perfect.We went out for dinner and guilt hit me as soon as I entered the restaurant. I could picture her sitting across,it was almost real.Again voices in the head till I could no longer follow the conversation at the table,I wanted to run away half way through the meal.

Is this how life is going to be now? I look around and the world seems so happy,maybe it was always like this,only I hadn’t noticed. I feel terrible anger towards no one in particular. I have no target to aim. We had a faceless enemy.It’s besides the point.People seem to have moved on and why shouldn’t they, she was not a center of their world like mine. They still have their partners intact. I don’t, my life has been in a free fall. 

I have to go into work tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it. I can’t take any more condolences and grim faces standing around me. I know the enormity of my loss,I don’t need stark reminders.But like so many things that have happened,I do not have a choice. I have to face the world and accept the fact that my life has changed forever.Why did this have to happen, what did I do? How can our life end up like this within a space of seven months? No one answers the whys. Is this what they call fate or destiny?It makes me even more miserable. People say I have to make a start but I don’t know where I am going anymore. I feel lonely and lost.

But then I look at the lovely picture on my phone,its hers. I get a warm feeling and I suddenly start feeling better.I had forgotten,we are in this together.

 

A week without you

In the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic event in my life,I spent a week at home grieving,yearning and generally feeling miserable and lonely.I missed her every moment, voices from the past rang in my ears and there was a time I felt I was really losing it. Spending time with Nishu has kept me sane. I guess its a pattern that is going to repeat itself many times in the coming days. I browsed through pictures,videos and chats and they seem to calm me down somewhat.

Grief is a long and a lonely road with apparently no destination.Its like a train running on a circular track-round and round.When I look at the world outside my window, it hasn’t changed but time seems to have stopped on me.I have started fearing nights and mornings,they starkly remind me of what I have lost. I sleep fitfully and wake up feeling tired,they say it gradually becomes better.I have no idea, I haven’t been here before.

Many friends have come and offered condolences. These have been most awkward situations. Strangely on these occasions I’m generally feeling stoic.I don’t know what to say,neither do they.Some ask about the disease and the treatment. I know enough about it. I researched it for seven long months,I know too much and most of it is terrifying. I don’t want to think or talk about it anymore. In between I received couple of emails from our Dr. It was very thoughtful of him and offered me some answers to questions which have been worrying me in the aftermath.In the larger scheme of things, its all pretty pointless now. But still, I’m grateful for the emails.

There are moments I feel desperate to talk to her,I have so many things to ask. I have to relearn how to live life now. These are things no one prepares for, it hits you like a truck.You feel like waking up and wondering what the hell has been going on.The world seems to have turned upside down while you were asleep.

Friends and family on Whatsapp have been the strongest help. They have patiently heard my ramblings,my mostly incoherent self.I am grateful for their support,I would have probably lost my sanity without them.I don’t feel like talking or socialising. It seems to take a toll on me. I tried going back to my sanctuary- my books,my reading.It seems to help somewhat. As do some of the blogs from people in a similar situation.

Writing definitely provides relief,a channel to emotionally cool of. I intend to keep doing it. I have been thinking about all the things she would have liked me to do. I intend to fulfill every one of those. I feel an unexplained emotional bond with all friends and family she was close to. I believe and however spooky it might sound, she speaks through me.

A Life So Lived

I had originally created this bog with the intention of chronicling our experiences with dealing with this life changing disease. Hence the “leap of faith” in the web address. However,I never found the courage to write anything during the treatment process somehow having the unexplained fear psychosis that writing about it will alter the outcome.

Now that the unthinkable has actually happened and though I’m still having constant illusions that this hasn’t happened,that this is a nightmare I will wake up anytime from, I have decided to write down something as my personal tribute to a person who was and will remain the center of my universe and I know for many other friends and family whose lives were wondrously touched by her.My intent is not without some selfish end as this might provide some catharsis for the myriad emotions I have experienced in the short time since her passing.

My emotions are still very raw and I have lot of trouble mentioning her in the past or when someone tells me she is no more. I could not bear the sight of her picture garlanded and probably never will. Slightest trigger brings back an avalanche of memories and emotions which are hard to suppress. I have had people tell me time heals though I don’t really understand fully. I have had advice to start living again as she would have liked me to. I believe it will take me years and I probably wont ever reconcile to losing her.I know for a fact that my life will never be same without her,how can a body function without the heart?

I will probably get on with life without her and fulfill the dreams that she had for Nishu but the dreams and aspirations I had from life are all gone with her.We had dreamt the future together,we had goals and aspirations.What good are those now?

Ours was an arranged marriage,we met for the first time in 2001 with our parents. It was typical of the mockery that happens in arranged marriages, parents decide and ‘allow’ the would be couple to meet. How do you judge a person in a short meeting is beyond me but I had made it clear to my parents that I will not be part of the charade of this meet and greet sessions with probable alliances. Whenever they felt they had decided I would go and meet, it had to be a one time thing.

So that’s how we met and I don’t know what it was but there was something magnetic about her presence, a fact that many people would keep telling me later.I believe it was just her genuine enthusiasm for life and a personal warmth that was contagious. This is what I thought till she told me later that I was actually under the lens and she was watching my ‘accent’ amongst other things. I guess I managed not to goof up and the alliance was formalized.This was in Aug 2001 and the marriage was fixed in Feb 2002 so we did go through a small ‘courtship’ period.It took me a while to call her, I hadn’t even asked for her email – a fact that I got constant grief for years. I always had trouble connecting with people though once I got close I usually made friends for life. I was and am still not a people person though my years with her have changed me for the better.How can you not change when you live with such an outgoing,affectionate and a person full of life.

I remember I spent a lot of time thinking of an opportune moment to call. I tried to think about things to say-drew a blank and again put it on hold till her Birthday came along in Sep.I did want to call but I was such a disaster at such things,I was worried about making a fool of myself. However I had to bite the bullet and make the call.I have no idea of what I said but my relief was apparent when she picked up the phone.Later she said that our marriage was on the hook if I hadn’t called that day.Needless to say it was the most important phone call of my life,such a close shave!

We spoke regularly after this, spent countless hours and bills on the phone. I don’t have much recollection of those conversations now other than the fact that I was mostly listening. She did all the talking. Even then it was hard to miss the zest for life that she had,it was apparent in the way she talked.She loved life.After we got married,we discussed a lot of things and her knowledge and memory of world events and issues quite literally blew me off. I considered myself well read but I cared only about subjects I was close to,I had little idea of most other things but you ask her anything under the sun and she would casually mention reading it somewhere or seeing it on TV. I used to joke that I didn’t want to discuss work with her as chances were that she would know about that too.

We went on countless vacation trips after marriage both in India and US.She was a pro at researching places to visit and planning trips. We were forever planning vacations and getaways.I had to do nothing more than drive to the destination or provide credit cards. I had to just show up,everything else was taken care of.Once at the resort she would check out the menu.Being in love with food was another of her passions.She loved to try new restaurants. I was never a foodie,in fact till our marriage I hardly remembered what I was eating.Being with her I also started relishing food, her enthusiasm was so contagious.

The years we spent together in the US were the best years of our life. Again,I had the master planner with me,apartment hunting,finding out places to shop,eat,tourist destinations around were all a breeze. We would initially stay at a hotel and by the time I would come back in the evenings she had a list of apartments to visit ready.She had already done the research, called up the apartment people and fixed up appointments.In time I got so used to it that I left all these things with her, it was really her domain. She quickly became the goto person for all other newbies.When we were expecting, she was the one who decided hospitals,gynos and even pre birth classes. Once again, I just accompanied her to the appointments and paid the bills.

We went to Disneyland,Grand Canyon,New York,Toronto and numerous other destinations. In many of these, it was just the two of us and the highway stretching out front.We talked and talked all the way,I never needed company with her around.In one of the early road trips post marriage,we went to Florida with some of my colleagues. I was the only married guy in the group. Many years later whenever I ran into any of these folks, they first inquired how was Nilu doing then they asked about me. As usual she had created a positive impact in a short time something that was very characteristic of her warm and affectionate nature.

I guess she was just extremely smart. I was and still am terrible with directions and in those days we didn’t have GPS or cell phones. So she would navigate and I would blindly follow. She was extremely good at remembering routes,maps,landmarks-she had it all mapped out in no time.Years later when I bought a GPS unit,I joked to her that now I can finally go out without her and not manage to get lost.

We came back to india in 2010 and again so typical of her nature she took charge in researching and deciding schools,finding out all the details that are needed for a family to lead a typical daily life.She was an outgoing person with a magnetic personality. People and specially kids would hang on to her.In no time,she had formed a huge social circle. Our home phone would ring every ten minutes with someone or the other calling. After a while, I got tired of picking these calls when she wasn’t around. I ended up getting a verbal volly but did not mend my ways.She was terrific with kids,planning out movies,lunches,arcade games with Nishu and his friends.

She was involved in every aspect of Nishu’s life right from his school,classes,summer camps,toys,games everything. I ran a busy schedule and hardly had time during week days and by the time the weekends came,I was down and out. I was also lazy and more of a stay at home person.But she had the weekends plans all laid out,where we had to go,where we were shopping,eating everything was expertly planned.In time, I had changed so much that I used to ask mid week about what we were doing on the weekend.

There are numerous things I have learnt from her. Politeness and affection for people regardless of age or background.She made sure Nishu would say please and thank you.She was very particular about it. Of course if she had to fire someone then also she had no match.Usually she had a good reason to and it mostly worked too.

I guess we were like two distinct but completely last pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.She the outgoing,smart,life of a party and me the recluse,lazy,laid back.We did have our fair share of squabbles like any normal couple but I mostly gave in most times.Mostly it was me at fault and like any self respecting husband I had trouble owning up.We spent countless weekend nights ordering in,enjoying food and drinks over a movie.She was a big fan of romcoms many of which I had trouble staying awake till the end.Though in real life I guess I was the one with messages and gifts.She hated things like valentines day and stuff saying they were hollow and commercial.I had to agree.She would watch the food channel all the time till it drove me crazy sometimes.I used to say “we are watching food channel 9am on a weekend morning!!”.Even during the long hospital stays,she would watch that all the time.I guess the passion for food and everything related went with her gregarious personality.

She lived each day to the full and packed with activities centered around the family.She made sure she called up and wished everyone on birthdays,anniversaries and other special occasions.This was another of her many endearing traits,whether it was her friends,family and even my friends she would remember and call up people on their special days.She knew what gifts to give to whom,what did people like including Nishu’s friends.I can confidently say that she was the best mother,wife,friend..she made every relationship count.In all these years,I have never seen her being critical of someone or making fun of anybody.She had mostly good things to say about everyone.Only a person with a heart of gold is capable of such compassion.

She was an avid traveller and was forever making plans to visit places. She had this fear of flying and would be a mess every time during takeoff and landing.She would close her eyes,hold my hand and squeeze it till it hurt.I found it very amusing and would have to keep a straight face to evade getting an earful.She also had a fear of heights but during one vacation trip she did the zipline adventure and quite enjoyed it.Life was always inviting and time too short for her. In retrospect, I realize she was in a hurry trying to live every moment,take in every experience and make as many friends as she could.

Death was a topic I never broached with her despite the fatality of the disease. Again its a testimony to her powerful will and ever positive nature.She feared it as most people do but I guess the fear was more from a genuine zest and love for life. Only people who live life so fully can fear death. Throughout this terrible ordeal,she never exhibited any fear at any point. Once the initial shock of diagnosis was dealt with,she gritted her teeth and went about fighting the battle in the only manner that she knew. It was the same approach with which she had lived her life-positivity,laughter and an iron will.We went through times so difficult that its enough to bring most people to their knees in no time. But not her, she was cut from a different cloth,there were times I wanted to give up-frustration and desperation peaking but she never gave up even once and I would mostly come back up ashamed at my brittle spirit. During the long and tedious months of hospitalization, there were many friends and colleagues who came up to me asking how I was managing to keep my sanity intact.The reason was her all the time,I wouldn’t have half the guts if she had shown any weakness but she never did wilt ever.

Every time she felt better she would resume life with the same zest- calling up friends and family,playing with Nishu, planning the next vacation,updating her on all the gossip she had missed due to her sickness.During such days it really felt we had beaten the disease, as if our old days had come back.During the recovery phase from each chemotherapy round, she would make a list of all the delicacies that she was going to enjoy once her appetite returned.

I have never placed much stock in religion,faith and God. From my early days,I had lot of questions to be answered and most people told me that you cannot question God’s will. It sounded like baloney to me. In my mind,God needed to be more accountable-there were children and good people dying all the time. What was God doing about it? You are telling me this was His will? She had much more faith than I did.She would keep pictures and idols with her when she was traveling and later in the hospital room. For a time,I also became a believer for her sake, I prayed for our family and for her.In the end God(not that I believe in such a concept) cheated her.People say its His will and it brings me back to the questions I have had in my mind since childhood. First we pray fervently and if God fails to deliver we say its His will. Its a nice place to be in.

Since her passing,I’ve received well intended advice to get back to life,time would heal and such. In reality, I know my life can never go back to what it was with her. How can it when the body has to live without a soul? I have a treasure load of memories that will make life without her extremely difficult to endure.I’m lost in the ocean of life,I no longer have my navigator with me.We never contemplated or discussed such a scenario but then again who does at 37? Maybe with time it gets better as they say but I really don’t believe in the time heals concept. Her absence is like an open wound, the pain will never really subside.I’m glad I told her “I won’t be ever able to live without you” many many times even before this disease entered our lives.She always agreed with the thought. I guess she had an inkling how difficult it would be for me.Only thing, I was really not counting on actually to be facing the prospect. But I have had no choice in the matter.

We spent 12 wonderfully happy years together. It was too short a time,We had dreams of growing old together and traveling the world,we had projects to complete,so many dreams for Nishu. But like a cruel savage storm,everything was reduced to a pile of dust.But then again,how many people get a chance to live with an extraordinary life partner and experience true love. I was blessed to have her in my life..She came like a breath of fresh air and sunshine in my life.Our life in retrospect feels much like a dream and I guess much of it really was.

As long as I live, she will be a big part of who I am. I owe everything to her.I don’t think I will be ever able to reconcile to the fact that I’m not going to see her again.Living without her is a curse I have to deal with. I know life will and does go on but for me there’s a before and there’s an after-the two as different as heaven and hell. Her beautiful face,laughter,radiant personality and her presence about me is something not even death can take away.

” I keep myself busy with things to do but every time I pause I think of you”.

She will be with me in this life and beyond.