Search for solace

I was working from home last few days. After I came back from the break, it was terrifying to be at home. But I tried to think what I was running from. It was the emptiness that was inside me,I couldn’t run away and besides no matter what happened this was still our home. How could I run away from it?

So I immersed myself between taking care of Nishu and working. I must have been drugged or something as I just worked non stop. I have no idea where this focus comes sometimes. It scares me.After couple of days like this, I have realized I need to step out and go back to work just to not be myself so much. But I’m glad I can say I’m not terrified anymore of being at home. I can take care of home, work and my little boy, he is happy with me. I owe this to her,she must have been looking over me.

By no means this is over, l have to fight the realization every day. Its hard for people to understand how crazy all of this is. There is no end to this emotional roller coaster. But this is the other side of life. I write what I feel like, I have to be honest with myself. Whom am I going to fool anyway. There are so many people out there suffering because they have lost a loved one. The social isolation is a subject in itself as people either learn to ignore or feel helpless.

I am beginning to realize that this won’t have a definite end point. It will be like one step forward and two backwards. You inch forward slowly and keep getting hit by darkness. The way she lived her life is by putting others before herself. I am far from it,I never thought through how I wanted to live.

Sometimes I think how can a person go from your life just like that, what happens to the memories,the consciousness lives doesn’t it?I don’t know because it takes a lot of time to find that within your self.These are mysteries of the universe that none can solve. But I believe all that really matters is what you believe in. I believe I will never let go,”We will be together always”, I had said. Its time to be true to that belief.

Few days back at her place we went out to the club, one of her favorite childhood memories. I remembered she said she loved the paneer pakodas, the mutton cutlets and much more. I told her she was the only one I met who remembered places by food.It was hard going there and having all these memories ambush you.However there was some live singing on and suddenly this song came up.I had vaguely heard earlier but I have listened to this several times after that night.Its pretty much the philosophy of her life.
Madhuban Khushboo Deta Hai: http://youtu.be/8NrNLeGfnB4

Strange how you find the truth in unlikely places.Talking about songs,another few favorites here,

Tu Is Tarah Se Meri Zindagi Mein: http://youtu.be/vjh20uFlzKI
And this one recommended by a very dear friend,
Ansoo kabhi chalke nahi-Late Jagjit Singh: http://youtu.be/5SH

Few books I have been reading:
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye
Healing after loss- daily meditations
The year of magical thinking
A grief Observed.
Foreverho

These have kept me from going over the edge,connecting my thoughts to people who have walked this path before. These are best hitting honest works no sugar coating or false promises.This is what I turn to in these times and reading and music provide solace.

So its my hope tonight that any person who comes here can acess these books and find some solace just like I did.
:

Unaccepted Reality

I realize new things everyday. Today I was thinking what does forever mean? I once told her ”Don’t worry,we will be together always ”.It was easy to say when I could see her everyday but what of now?

The hardest part for me has been acceptance,it hasn’t happened on many levels and might never. Acceptance means somehow approving what has happened. Someone lost her life for no fault of hers. She fought so hard that only God if He exists could not be pleased. So how can this be acceptable?

It is said healing begins only after acceptance. The word healing is itself so distressing. It just means the sharp edges of grief become dull with time. You get used to the absence. I think its sort of resignation at the fate you have been handed. You do what you have to do but you are never whole again. To avoid getting consumed by grief the mind accepts it.

In the meantime, the hard life just gets harder everyday. I worked long hours today focusing on the fact that I need to work to fulfill the dreams she had for us,I always thought of work as a means to do other things that life offers. I guess that was my past. I’m not sure what I want from this new existence where every hope of clinging to my past life is shredded everyday.

I need to keep going, even when I don’t feel like it which is mostly the case. There are so many reminders of the life I had that its a battle everyday. I think about the life I took for granted but my priorities in life were never misplaced. I was not an ambitious person going places. I loved my ordinary life,it was special because of someone. So this whole tragedy hasn’t proved to me anything other than reconfirming I was so fortunate to have such a person as my soulmate. I often think what the universe was trying to tell me.
That my life was too good to be true so it ended?

I’m really asking why such things happen? I know there can be no answers but I have to ask. There is no rhyme or reason, probably an abyss of unknowns. I feel like screaming out of frustration sometimes. So much for the supreme being having a plan for each of us. What a great plan to end a persons life when her wonderful future lay in front of her. Someone who couldn’t even hurt a fly was made to consume extreme suffering and got nothing in return for the astonishing courage and strength of character she showed. So much for the architects of our destiny. Its a Greek tragedy of epic proportions.

Or this is all a plan to lead me to some kindly light.I swear all I can see is darkness, going from one tunnel to another. Bad things  keep happening to perfectly good people destroying lives in the process. Its the price we pay for belief and faith.I still remember the idols next to her hospital bed. They were forged by humans and claimed to be Gods.They just sat there doing nothing. Prayers were held in the homes of friends and family but they proved worthless as well. If something worked, it was her courage and self belief right till the last day.

I once asked her to keep her chin up and she said her chin was already up from all the swelling, nice humor in the midst of intense suffering, But diseases and suffering know no emotions.When I look back at our conversations in the last few months,it was mostly about how to manage daily life,and in her case she was still thinking how to make it easier for everyone else.This is not much different than what we talked about during normal times.We still discussed our future after we had gotten out of this.The fear was within both of us most likely but she being the strong one would show none of it and I overcame mine just by being with her. It was pretty much the philosophy of our relationship.

These days when things seem impossible, I try to think about what she would have liked me to do and it helps me to carry on.The ocean of memories I have are dominated by the bright,smiling face and the full throated laughter.The hard part of being touched by someone so full of life is it is never possible to accept what has been.

”The problem with death is absence. After all our attempts to comfort ourselves and to make sense out of dying, we are left with a huge hole in the fabric of our lives-”I miss you. I miss you.I miss you. And then what??”

Life has been a blur

My break is coming to a close. I don’t really know if it has helped. It has allowed me to reflect on my loss and my life in the aftermath. Thoughts of a future without her seems extremely painful but there is also a resignation at the fate I have been handed. It’s not the same thing as acceptance, but a vague sense of acknowledgment at my utter helplessness.

I have no illusions, the weeks, months and probably years that are going to follow are going to be unfathomable.I will have to live and do things alone and hope I will be able to fulfill the dreams she had for us. I have little idea how I will accomplish anything. Many people have advised that who knows what the future might bring. I only know, what I have lost cannot be replaced. She was the most precious thing I had.

At this point, with the little time that has passed since life as I knew it finished, the world has moved on. Family and friends have their own lives to live and rightly so. But for the person who has lost everything in this storm, this is just the beginning of a long and tenous journey of grief and of life without a person I couldn’t live without even for a day. There is really no respite for the grieving person, the grind of daily life, bills to be paid, responsibilities all beckon oblivious to my state of mind.

While struggling through last many weeks of intense personal grief and mental trauma, I have discovered many things about this process. The first being how less is known in the society about this and even lesser support in terms of resources and reading material to help you survive an impossible situation. Second is that after some time the realization hits home that there is nothing really anyone can say that provides comfort. The only way to go through this is to realize you are not going to have much control and it’s really you who has to go thru this. It’s as lonely a journey as it can get.

It’s also pointless to count the number of days in this journey. This is because days are filled with unpredictable moments – few normal hours and then a rush of emotions and everything falls apart. There cannot be a schedule for your emotions. You live 12 years of your life with a person, you share everything, they become so much a part of your life and soul that only now you realize that your own identity was somewhere lost, you had become one. And then just like that the person is gone forever from your sight. All the things that were normal this far don’t even exist anymore. There is no one to discuss, no more messages or phone calls, no more plans to be made, no outings.. It’s all gone forever.

This is a space where no one wants to be. It is terrifying beyond comprehension. How do you confront this stark reality of your existence. This is the hardest thing about accepting something like this.

This harsh reality is most aptly described in “A Grief observed” by C.S Lewis. The words in that book describe the exact thoughts I have experienced. It was somewhat heartening to know I haven’t lost my mind totally. After all its the little things that come back to haunt you every day, all the things that you never thought you had any memory of.

Those little memories are also my source of continuing for they make me realize how much someone loved me and changed my life for the better. But I can’t ever get over the fact that it had to end when much of our future together lay before us. There was so much to do together. I go back home tomorrow and despite my personal struggles here, I’m glad I came because this was where she wanted to come after getting well.
She will always be with me but its not the same as having her next to me and I really struggle with coming to terms with that.

“I keep finding myself stifled by the company of others and then crippled by loneliness when I leave them. I am terrified and I don’t even know of what, because I have lost everything already.”

When life doesn’t go on

I continue to struggle with coping with what has happened. There are times I’m filled with disbelief. There is a lot that has happened in the last months. I’m not in a state where I can start journaling the unbelievable times of distress that we have faced. But her extraordinary courage stands out like a beacon. There are not enough words to describe it other than amazing grace. It’s a story that must be told but not right now. Maybe someday I will have enough perspective to look back on it.

At present, it’s a struggle to survive each day. But there is something within us that is bigger than the adversity we face. I have yet to find it but I know she is still the one I live for. Even on vacation it doesn’t get any easier. To imagine life without her is extremely difficult. She was the center of our world , with her positive energy and zest for life, she was literally everywhere. I leaned on her all the time and she knew it well. People say we complemented each other but truth is she was the one with all the strengths, the shortcomings were mostly mine.

From the time I have known her, I have found her to be extremely strong and independent. She had very progressive ideas on most matters. Both of us believed there was no man or women’s job, there ought to be respect for the individual. She simply loved taking care of us. It is hard to believe that such a compassionate and giving person had to go through so much. It makes me mad. There is so much we had to do together.

It makes me think what she achieved in her life is much more than many people do in a lifetime. She made a powerful impact on every one who came in contact with her. She couldn’t have been more positive and happy, I believe energy and happiness radiated from her. If there is something I have gotten right in life is that we spent most of our 12 years together. I can count on my finger tips days I have spent away from her.

How do you cope living without such a person? The truth is you don’t, it’s not something that is manageable in any way. But then what control do we have on life itself? It is much more fragile than we would like it to be. Life changes in an ordinary instance. We are not given choices, only certain cards to play with. Still, I cannot express the blinding grief I feel for her. She deserved way better, a long and happy life, seeing her child grow up. She deserved every happiness.

I don’t believe much in the vague concept of a supreme being. It doesn’t make sense to me after everything I have seen. There are lots of people who will say it’s all part of a grand plan. I’m sorry but what kind of plan robs good people of a life they so deserve.

I don’t really know how will I go ahead from here. I have no other choice but to walk this path. Unfortunately there are no short cuts to grief. You have to take the blows everyday and hope to survive. There are lots of myths about this journey, mostly because nothing prepares you for this. Distraction, rushing things, keeping busy – none of these help much. I believe now that slowly you go through this pain everyday and it changes you forever. You emerge in a new place and a different person. Is it for the better or worse, does anything good come out of all this, is there any meaning to all this? Those are questions which I cannot answer now. Sometimes not knowing is the only thing to know. Maybe sometimes the answers we look for outside can only be found within.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. “

What’s within us..

I’m beginning to slowly realize the meaning of seeing someone in the beauty that surrounds us – nature, flowers, music. It’s hard to describe your emotional state when you see the person you love everywhere. It’s hard to believe because it’s not a long time before it was actually like that.

That is how I feel now a days, yearning for the days gone by and a restlessness which is quite frightening when it hits you like waves.I know this is how my mind and body have reacted. I’m presumably living a so called normal life though what is normal now has been redefined in more ways I could have ever imagined.

It is beyond anything I have ever experienced or will ever. Today for instance we went for the morning safari, an otherwise exciting occasion but I don’t remember anything other than the fact we didn’t see any Tigers. If I had any expectations it was to see a smile on my little boy’s face. I am glad he enjoyed the trip. As for me, I struggled and badly sometimes. I tried to take an afternoon nap and it started hitting me again , I could no longer sleep even though I hardly slept due to the early morning safari today. It seems I have been banished from the normal world.

I have no illusions, if a year back when everything was fine, if someone had foretold I was going to lose her, I wouldn’t have thought I would survive. I have so far but it’s taken a toll beyond I can comprehend. I make efforts to survive because I have her dreams to keep alive. I can’t fail her once more.

Grief is a process unique to everyone, I don’t know what stage I’m in or how long it would be when I don’t have panic episodes and leaden feat many times a day. But life is hard and real-there are bills to be paid and million other things to take care of. I can’t just sit at home grieving. Besides it would be such a travesty to her indomitable spirit. “You have to be stronger, this doesn’t mean we need to sulk” reverberate in my ears.
She was the strongest person I have known. Words like extraordinary, rare and many more would easily apply. The battle she fought, it was like only she could have done it, wasn’t in the grasp of lesser mortals. But I’m weak and struggle without her, I lose my way easily. But I keep at it for I have to survive this. I have to keep her alive something which outside of the rhythmic flow of words, I failed. In that sense I have nothing more to lose.

I don’t know if this vacation has done me any good but I have got her home even though the meaning seems to be a little lost. I know how much it meant for her to be here. I couldn’t make it possible but I have carried her in my heart. I hope it means as much.

For a grieving person the world looks different. It’s a search for your loved one, I don’t believe they are not with you. You just need to look harder to find them not outside but within you. It’s a journey of a lifetime. In the meantime, the trappings of the modern world cause unbearable pain-these resorts, the food, the recreation.. All the things she taught me to enjoy.

The other part is the loss of identity. Who I am now.. I don’t know. I have to rediscover my destiny. Beyond fulfilling my responsibilities  towards my son, what is my purpose in life? I didn’t question this earlier because our identities were forged together into one. She was my emotional and spiritual stronghold anyway. There wasn’t much to worry about. Now that it’s been breached, I need to seek new answers.

Alone in the wilderness

Today I’m doing yet another life ritual without the person who made it all seem worth it. I am at a wildlife resort on vacation. Only thing it hardly feels like it.

Vacations and leisure travel, the two things she introduced me to. Those are the memories that I’ve got to keep alive within myself. I need them to survive days like these. I’m missing her all the more today, every vacation memory and there are too many to count come rushing back. The pain is searing once more. I have no choice but to keep taking these body blows.

She was the one who was forever researching places to visit and making plans. We have been twice to this forest safari in the years gone by. I know how much she loved it, checking out the resorts, food, the popular spots. Last time we came here, I remember we spent a magical evening under the stars. The glitter and wonder of the night sky is unbelievable in these parts. I remember everything, the chirpy voice, the drooling over food and the star gazing. I had not realized how accurate the recollection I have. Before today, I hadn’t thought much about it.

I have had lots of trouble coming here. I had not anticipated it thinking it would be a distraction. It is not, nothing will or can be. Her absence hurts like never before reaching new highs or lows, I don’t know what to call it sometimes. There are days like this when I wonder what I’m doing here without her. I don’t know how I am continuing, I feel like a dead man walking.

The night sky was brilliant but I had little interest in all the beauty that lay around me. It was just there but I had no place in it. Everything took an enormous effort today, specially keeping my emotions in check. I  didn’t want to ruin it for the people with me. Sometimes this sorrow, this emptiness inside me seems overpowering. I feel so small in front of it. It’s like a giant wave that hits me with all the force leaving me emotionally drained. I don’t know how long I can sustain this mental anguish.

But out of this emptiness also emerges my deep love and admiration for her. I know how precious were the days we spent together and how fortunate I was to have her with me. My love for her stays like a flickering light in a  storm, it grows with each passing day. It is what sustains me in my darkest hours.

I am here today only because of her. If I have not given up its because she never did. She is my reason for every worthwhile thing I do, all my reasons. In my loneliness and grief, I look up to search the beauty in the night sky. It lies beyond, stars shining brightly just the way she lived her life.. A star that still shines brightest of all.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

An Emptiness still and forever

After 40 days there are several truths that begin to emerge. My mind has been so fogged that there are some obvious facts, I have failed to grasp. One of them is that people do not miss her at the same level of intensity as I do.

This is not their fault, it’s just that for the past 12 years, she has been the focal point of my life. While family and friends do grieve in their own way, it is much different. There is no right or wrong, just different. I have just too many memories, I know much more about her than anybody else, We have lived and breathed together – our pasts and present intertwined beyond our own identities.

I  realize that I can prempt what she would have said at a certain moment, on a certain occasion or at a certain venue. I have seen her, heard her and talked to her almost every day of the past 12 years. I must confess, I think about her all the time. There is just no escaping it. We knew each other too well.

But now I have not seen her in the last 40 days and will never again. But probably that isn’t true enough. I can see and hear her every day. Unfortunately instead of lessening the pain this only makes it worse.

The other truth that has dawned on me in the last couple of days is that my grief is not localized. It doesn’t really matter if I’m in a different place, with people or without. It hits me  regardless with increasing intensity evoking restless emotions. The reason for this is that it comes from within not outside. It’s all within me, my complete whole no longer complete but a gasping, bleeding wound now. That space in the world gone, a person who defined who I am, just a memory now. It’s not possible for me to accept this, probably I never will.

Social outings make it even harder. I am awkward once more. She was my social butterfly, connecting me seamlessly with the world outside. Love for people, gaiety, laughter and happiness coming to her without effort. With her around, I took all of it for granted. I never needed to make any effort, I just went along on the joy ride. Now I’m suddenly jolted out of my reverie. It’s like waking up from a dream, I feel the aloofness,a crushing sense of someone missing. There is little I can do about it.

The reality is much harder to face than I ever thought. Not that I ever thought I will get to where I have. In her town, her home it becomes increasingly wild the pain. How much she  wanted  to be here, I can almost see her, taking charge of running things, the happiness in her voice spreading and spilling over. The outings, the stories from her past here, her favorite food and eateries. I hear it all, just that she’s not here anymore.

Truth is nothing is the same anymore anywhere I go. I feel that emptiness inside me growing, it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I have many things to ask, so many stories to tell her.I guess there’s no point, I’m on my own now. I have to carry on with memories, it’s not exactly a way to live but then it’s all I got.

The long journey home

Travel day did not bring the same anticipation and the lightness it used to. How could it because I was attempting to do yet another painful life gesture without the person who was in it all. I have lost count of the travels we have done together, the reservations, flights, vacations, the joy of being together.

With both our parents living in different states, it was typical for us to do two trips each year to either place and her love and enthusiasm for travel would make us do at least 3-4 vacations a year. Both of us would look forward to coming to her parents home. We would have a great time with the entire family going on trips to Kanha for the Tiger safari. Sometimes we would fly down, at other times we would take the Rajdhani till Nagpur followed by the road journey. She would tell me all the familiar places, what used to be or what new had come up. All the roads and landmarks were known to her like the back of her hand. After all this was where she grew up and became the person she  was. I remember the last time we had some time before our train in Nagpur so she took me around the area where she lived during her college years, pointing out the favorite hangouts and all the new places that had sprung up. I was happy because she always wanted to show me around those places.

The buzz of vacation and travel would start at least a month back with the customary “I don’t have anything to wear” followed by endless shopping cycles. I use to pull her leg on that but secretly found it quite endearing. And few days before the travel would start the packing and unpacking. So much stuff used to get added that I used to wonder if traveling light would ever be an option. Not with her. But overall the buzz that was in the air was so contagious that travel day became like an exciting activity in itself. It was all an extension of her vibrant personality.

I used to wait weeks in advance for these times after a long spell of hard work. This time of course it was far from that. Every day seems to be a grim reminder of how much one person filled my life with so much happiness. If there was anything positive it was that Nishu was excited about the trip and because he is the closest thing to her now, everyone wanted to see him too.

I had no illusions of all this going to be easy. I looked at the boarding passes, for several moments it felt one was missing. We always filled the 3 seats in the airplane. This time just window and middle. Airport terminals were familiar places to us. There are so many trips and memories attached to these that if I attempt to write about these, it’s going to literally run into pages. So it was far from easy getting around just the two of us. I wandered around aimlessly, little lost and infinitely sad till Nishu broke my reverie. His innocent excitement provided much needed relief from my own morose self. Everywhere I looked I found happy faces, couples and families filled the waiting lounge. But my world was different now, it was an unfamiliar cold place and I had no where to hide.

On the plane, memories and thoughts started again, specially during take off. Her fear of flying, tightly holding on to me, all the things that were amusing to me came back in torrents hitting me relentlessly till I thought I was going to lose it. I braced and waited and it seemed to pass briefly. My days are interspersed with such moments. I do not know when and what will trigger it. I look outside the window, a sea of blue dotted with cloud formations.

My hope is that someday I will get numbed by the constant barrage of these feelings and that will make the pain bearable. Right now it feels relentless and unnerving.  I’m on a break and I do not have much expectations from it. Too much time on my hands is a difficult thing to manage these days. It starts pulling me in directions from which there is no coming back.

I’m in her city and home now. This is where she grew up and became the person we miss so terribly today. She was the happiest coming here, showing me around.. Her wonderful past. I feel my stomach churn to have come here without her. I couldn’t get her home. I’m weak and I’m a failure, there is just no getting around it. But it’s my destiny to go through this so that I can be numbed at some point. It’s my only hope.

I’m having trouble controling my emotions today. It’s not really because I’m here, it’s all within me- an ocean of memories. I don’t know what will make me feel better. I just hope she sees what I see, lives through me. Isn’t that what you mean by someone living in your heart. Whenever I close my eyes I see her laughing, happy and enjoying every moment. It’s the essence of her life and the power of her character that in spite of seeing what I have, that is what has stayed at the forefront in my mind.

It’s my hope this journey makes her happy, I know how much she wanted to come here, I believe we are one, I live because she lives within me. I’m here so I hope she is too.

“It doesn’t get better,” I said. “The pain. The wounds scab over and you don’t always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you’ll never be the same.”

Running away from it all

I travel tomorrow, once again it’s an extremely sad feeling going on vacation without her and that too to the place where she grew up and spent all her days before we met.

Well, times are just unbelievable these days so much so that I’m running out of adjectives to describe them. I don’t know what is in store for me in the future. I head into it uncertain, unclear and alone.

Talking of unbelievable times, I watched a movie yday “Ps – I love you”. Someone mentioned it and the plot related so much to my current circumstances that I watched it. These were in the old days her kind of movies where I would sleep halfway. Only this time, I saw it alone
, watched it all. It was wonderful. Several scenes reminded of what I have been through recently. Coming back to an empty house, daydreaming, flashbacks all ring a bell. It’s my space after all.

I have a few more on my list “Ordinary People”, “Life as a house “,” Brave One”. Hard to find these. When I’m not writing here I’m generally busy being a dad, doing chores, running errands or reading. I got 3 books going on my Kindle now – “A magical year”, “Forever ours ” and” Grief observed “.

I hope to finish these in the break. Reading and walking my constant companions in any crisis. Also Music in the background when you are reading has a hypnotic effect. It takes you to look outside of you.

We have done probably more trips than anyone in these 12 unforgettable years. But this one is a first of many to come. Just the 2 boys together on this one. There is anticipation at starting something new but also the constant tug of heart at missing our leader. The baton has been passed to me and I hope I can lead us  boys into the light.

Daniel Connelly: P.S. I Love You (2007) [reading Gerry’s letter] Dear Holly, I don’t have much time. I don’t mean literally, I mean you’re out buying ice cream and you’ll be home soon.
. I have a feeling this is the last letter, because there is only one thing left to tell you. It isn’t to go down memory lane or make you buy a lamp, you can take care of yourself without any help from me. It’s to tell you how much you move me, how you changed me. You made me a man, by loving me Holly. And for that, I am eternally grateful… literally. If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I’m a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you.

Being a single parent

There are several hard facts to face in this bizarre existence that I have got now. One of the hardest is that I’m a single parent now.It’s something that is a driving force behind my efforts to survive as also the saddest conclusion that life has brought me to.Of course I have the support of family and friends and I’m grateful for that,it doesn’t change the fact that I’m the only surviving parent now.Ok, I need to change paragraphs here,I can’t even believe I’m writing this.

Between the two of us, she was the more responsible parent always. Like only mothers can do, she instinctively knew what the right thing to do was.I was like most dads, taking care of work responsibilities and paying the bills mostly.This is not to say that I did not take active part, I did and like most other things that we have done together, I’ve been always proud that we have done things on our own.We have made mistakes,learnt together but always accomplished our goals.When Nishu was born in the US, it was just the 2 of us.We knew only two families in the city.But we managed it on our own,everything right from the day we found out to the day he was born.She found out which were the best hospitals,doctors,pediatricians while I read “What to expect when you are expecting” and many such books cover to cover. We took pre birth classes and hospital tours to make sure we understood the process.

I can never forget the moment of birth. There were only 3 of us other than the would be mom in the hospital room. The Dr, a wonderful nurse called Michelle(I can’t thank her enough) and myself.We had checked into the hospital the night before. Nishu was born around afternoon US eastern time. It was an extremely nervous moment for me,fortunately I was so exhausted I fell asleep in the chair next to her and woke up only hours before.And when the magical moment came,everything went like clockwork.It was just perfect.Soon we held him in our arms,we cried and hugged-We were proud parents.

And after his birth,we continued to learn and manage things on our own.I remember going to the local 24/7 grocery store at midnight to buy a pacifier,the old lady at the checkout gave me a hug and exclaimed “New dad”!.For the first 3 months or so it was my job to change diapers while she recovered and both of us continued to learn being parents everyday.It was not easy but by far the best phase of our lives.We were thrilled to be doing what we were.And so we learnt how to fix car seats,what to watch out for,what to ask the pediatrician,about vaccinations,infant clothes,sleeping patterns,feeding and a myriad of new things that overwhelm new parents.

It was always how we did things-together. That was the key word,as a team, I felt nothing was impossible,we could accomplish anything.We were young,she was everything I was not and me with all my faults and deficiencies complemented each other perfectly. If made for each other is the cliche to go with.As I got busier after moving back to India and the long hours at work coupled with other logistical issues like commute times and traffic made it difficult,she effortlessly took over the dominant parent’s role-Looking after his schooling,classes,taking him to movies,shopping, in essence all the beautiful things only Moms can do and true to her nature she passed on all the qualities-being happy,cheerful and a confidence to take on anything.

In the last few months,as a result of her being sick and the long hospitalizations,I have spent a lot of time taking care of Nishu. With her constant help and encouragement,I relearnt being a parent-taking care of his needs and ensuring he feels cared for and happy.To the pleasant surprise of us both, he has stayed extremely strong,taking this momentous disruption into his stride and being the cheerful,happy little boy that he is.He continues even though I had to have the most painful and difficult conversation that you can ever have. He is too young to understand the gravity of all this and I have tried to be extremely sensitive with him while on this topic.I want him to know and remember his Mom as he grows up.He is going to miss her terribly as time goes by, just like I do.It will intensify as he grows up and begins to understand things.It’s something there is no getting around to.But I know she looks over him and I am there for him always.I see so much of her in him and it makes me happy and sad at the same time. But the thought that keeps me going is the fact that I need to live up to the dreams she had for him. I cannot mess up,it’s the promise of a lifetime that I have made to her.

To be honest,I haven’t got it exactly figured out as to how I am going to do all this but I know I will get there.What causes me immense pain and sadness is the fact that she won’t be around to witness so many milestones and special occasions that are going to come up in his life.It is what she fought so hard for.I need to learn and relearn parenting. It’s a totally different ballgame now with only me around.I no longer have the comfort of asking her if I’m doing something right and it makes me very nervous.But I try and I know its the journey of a lifetime.

“Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can’t feel grief unless you’ve had love before it – grief is the final outcome of love, because it’s love lost. […] It’s the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again. Grief is the awareness that you will have to be alone, and there is nothing beyond that because being alone is the ultimate final destiny of each individual living creature. That’s what death is, the great loneliness.”