Time warp

Stopped at a red light on my back from work, I realize the landscape is slowly changing. New buildings have sprung up, new billboards, new shopping plazas. I have not being paying much attention to the changing world around me, so it startled me. For me time seems to have stopped. It moves now and then before pausing again.

Weekdays are turning into weekends as slowly the days go by. They don’t mean much to me now. Fridays or Mondays, I find myself without her. I have lost my place in the world, it is doing fine without me. I have to learn to live by myself and I learn painfully every day. There’s no one to tell me what to do, where to go anymore. I make and break my own plans. Nobody questions me, nobody gets upset with me and nobody owns me anymore. I’ve been set adrift directionless . This is my new life now.

My old life keeps enticing me like a mirage. But it’s an illusion, it exists only in the backwaters of my mind. Every time I reach out for it, I get only emptiness. It slipped like sand grains from my palms. There’s nothing I could do other than helplessly watch it go. There were no goodbyes either. I sometimes wonder what I’m still doing here. But I have promised her to take care of Nishu. He is the only dream I’ve got left. I’m miserly on promises but having failed her once, I can’t fail her again.

I hear silence everywhere. I haven’t quite made the transition from loneliness to solitude. I don’t like my own company anymore. It unnerves me. I look back and everything seems like a dream – all our years together. She was the center of my universe and today she isn’t there. I don’t quite understand how this is possible. But in the dead of the night, in the deepening silence, I find its true. This is what it was all destined to come to.

I do what needs to be done, I’m careful not to push myself too much. I don’t trust my fragile self can take much. But I have had no rest or respite from that black day when our life was uprooted by this disease. She didn’t have any respite either, so I don’t really have a right to complain. I have to go on whether I want or not. I haven’t been given choices.

Together, we would have faced anything and we did. Now I’m not too sure, I falter and stumble at every step. Perhaps I’m a greenhorn, I’ve much to learn. I don’t know what the coming days will bring, I have stopped caring. I know this pain will continue unabated, it might even worsen. As with everything else, I have got no control.

I have to bear the pain, embrace the loneliness and soldier on. These are the cards I have been dealt with. I don’t know what you call it when you get all lousy cards. I never understood the game very well.
I’m down my partner but I’m in, I’m playing still.

“Did someone say that there would be an end, An end, Oh, an end, to love and mourning? “

Altered States

Another day goes by without me taking much notice. Time has slowed down and the world goes by around me almost dream like. I sometimes talk to people and can’t remember what I said. Yesterday I was in a presentation at work and I didn’t think I was listening enough, it’s hard to focus these days. Yet, today I could remember every detail, every diagram on the white board. I spent a good 20 minutes trying to locate my car in the parking lot before it struck me that I had parked at the ground level not the basement. I don’t know what all these deviations mean.

I know I’m in the midst of the darkest hour in my life. Every day that goes by seems to enhance the magnitude of the loss. I desperately want to get a break and relax but it never happens. I wait for the weekend hoping it will bring me some rest but it just makes it worse. I seem to have no hiding place. I think about the future and it makes my heart weep for it is not the one we had dreamt together. I’m reading a book called “Seven Choices”, it explores every emotion I have felt. The first thing it said was to accept you will never have the happiness you had, nothing will be the same anymore. But this realization will come gradually and will shake your very foundation.

In a morbid sort of way, this idea was comforting because it had acknowledged what I was going through. But it also causes this immense sadness, I have lost everything I worked so hard to create. Her laughter, her voice no longer there, her reassuring presence gone for ever. I can’t believe how ignorant was the advice I got initially. I don’t mean any bitterness because mostly we don’t know what to say to someone in my position. I was told to keep busy, be strong, only time will heal etc. Problem is none of this works.

What I’m experiencing is something no one should go through at my age. At a time when most people are raising their families and enjoying life with them, I’m left to pick up the pieces from a destroyed dream. Each day brings a new dimension to the pain of being separated from the person you loved most. I wish someone had said that there is no way out of this, you need to experience the pain to come out of it. There are no shortcuts, there is no escape route. You simply need to go right through the center of your loss.

I’m not doing too well, I struggle a lot. I feel devastating loneliness but I’m continuing to soldier on. I badly miss her company, I feel so lost without her. These feelings haven’t gone away but keep intensifying and reducing in phases. Sometimes I feel this hasn’t happened, it’s not real. It’s too much to take in. I almost see her just like the way she was – beautiful and bubbling with life. I hear her all the time but the images and voices are from the past. The present is deathly silence and an absence that is threatening my own survival.

I get some respite with Nishu but outside of it is a void – gasping and haunting. Being solitary was an antidote to her ever gregarious personality. She loved being with people – the more the merrier. She loved taking care of people, I guess nothing made her happier. In her presence was the joy of living – infectious and contagious. Being alone terrified her. She just had to go out, make friends, get people together and have a good time. It defined her.

To say I miss her is just clutching at the straws. I don’t have enough words to describe how much her not being around hurts. I look back and reflect on how happy we were together. I know well that just like I cannot get her back, I will never experience that happiness again. It’s a world gone with her forever. But I also know that I will always be defined by her. When I write about her, I have felt excruciating sadness and tears but also profound love and a fleeting sense of peace. I have to keep her alive, I need her more than ever.

“Sometimes when the pain is overwhelming. I will try to surround myself with the memory of love. “

Finding refuge in words

I sometimes think why do I write so much here, I have written almost every day starting a week after. I didn’t know what was happening in the first few weeks. My brain was under extreme duress, I was experiencing adrenaline rushes that would keep me awake hours on an end. I didn’t have anyone to talk to though I had family around. I guess people felt awkward, they didn’t know what to say. I was very close to having a mental breakdown. I felt I was at a tipping point. There was no Nilu to put her arm around me and say things would be fine. I had no idea of what it was like to be without her.

In such a devastated emotional state, I just logged in and started writing. I can’t explain the sense of love and peace I experience when I revisit times spent together. I’m far from getting through and some of the things I mentioned still happen, I get anxiety attacks, I get restless and very angry for no apparent reason. I have terrible nights sometimes, I sometimes feel totally worthless with no identity. I guess these are all manifestations of a mind and body under assault. Writing has helped me find some meaning again in my life at a time when nothing seems worth anything. It makes me feel, I have to tell the world what an extraordinary person she was and how much I love her.

I had no idea this was what loss did to people. I never ever thought anything bad can happen to her. She was so perfect in every sense of the word. But because I have always been an emotional person, I was extremely moved when I saw someone talking about loss. I would see something and keep thinking about it for days. I understood suffering and pain . Movies with this theme captivated me – the shawshank redemption, Titanic, Forrest Gump, Namesake. But the experience of it has been entirely different. When you are the central character, it’s frightening. I had no idea of the pain, tears and heart ache it brings.

While it’s cruel to compare losses because each life is so unique, I believe loss of a spouse is probably the hardest. If you have your life partner with you, you have an emotional support. You can lean on each other, be there for each other at all times. When you lose your spouse, it’s the worst thing that can ever happen because suddenly you are on your own. There is no one to lean on, no one to pour your heart out to, no one to hold you in arms and say it’s going to be alright. You are consumed by devastating loneliness because no one can fill that spot.

I had thought we were too young for dark subjects like loss and death.I had thought I would have to deal with it much later in life and as long as we had each other, I had nothing to worry. I wasn’t counting on this rock itself getting dislodged and was certainly not expecting to be the one who would be left behind. But here I am today, all alone having lost my very soul. I feel if one of us had to go, it should have been me. I don’t amount to much, people would have moved on and I know she would have been strong like she always was. But then I think, how could I have just left her alone, it wouldn’t have been easy on her for she adored me like no other. I guess it’s so hard to let go if you love someone. There are no easy answers.

She was the constant in my life, my best friend and critic. She kept me honest, kept me on my toes and most importantly let me experience what happiness felt like. Her wondrous presence filled every space, every nook and corner of my heart and home. I know the pride she had in “We”. Every sentence would begin with we or us. She was the undisputed captain of our ship guiding it expertly. I believe it was just the self confidence she had. When she spoke, the voice was always upbeat, the laughter was always full.

We never compared ourselves with anyone. We knew what we liked, what we wanted to do. There was never any pressure, we were so happy and content in the little heaven we had created together. When I came back from work, we would eat together and talk. I would get to know everything that was going on – family, friends, the apartment community, everything. She was the one who decided our weekend or holiday plans or even movies that we wanted to watch.

Our reading tastes were completely different. She loved Agatha Christy, Harry Potter and Mills & Boon. As with anything else, she could read fast. She could finish a book in lightning speed. I read slowly, rereading, sometimes making notes and it takes me days to complete anything. If I showed her anything interesting, a page or a paragraph, by the time I had blinked, she would have read the entire thing. I guess it was the way she did most things in life – “fast”, there was no time to be lost.

The most funny conversation that would ensue was when she was explaining me directions. Before I realized, she had taken off, so I would stop her and say “I’m not following, not so fast”. It made her mad, and she told me once “you don’t understand things in a jiffy”. Of course I didn’t, we were like the tortoise and the hare, only thing she never rested. Sometimes in spite of all her efforts to make me learn a particular route, I would manage to make a mess of it and get lost before finding my way again. I would sheepishly tell her later, she would smile knowingly and tell me she expected me to.

I sometimes think, she knew very well what she meant to me, how much I depended on her. I’m sure this made her scared on what would happen to me without her. We never discussed it but I think both of us knew this. For me this thought was so unimaginable that I dismissed it every time it popped up. I couldn’t think of life without her ever.

I know she fought right till the end because she knew how precious she was to us. Her last words to me were “I’ll be fine”.Even then she was the one giving me strength and support. It has always been her way of life. To me she lives on, I don’t think I will ever be able to reconcile with the loss. It’s an abyss, a wound that would never heal. My love for her will always remain, today, tomorrow and beyond this life.

“Her love is everywhere. It follows me as I go about the house, meets me in the garden, sends swans into my dreams. In a strange, underwater or above the earth way, I feel her presence. “

The wonder of You

Some of the things I have written here, I wouldn’t have dared to share earlier. I have always confided only in her and no one else. My social awkwardness also came in the way. But in all these years with her, I believe I have changed considerably. She did this sometimes by cajoling, sometimes little loving nudges and other times outright threatening. It all seemed to work. Slowly, bit by bit I started doing things I always struggled with – reaching out to people, letting go and just enjoying life’s little pleasures, and even enjoying food. There were plenty of things that still exasperated her – my mood swings over trivial things, laziness, not calling people, and many more.

It was difficult to keep pace with her though I tried mostly. It goes without saying how difficult last few months have been for me. I realized fairly early that this was something just too big, I needed to be honest with myself and let people know what I am feeling if I wanted them to help . When you are dealing with losing your heart and soul, there are no gains to be had by acting strong. Let me tell you, no one is strong enough for something like this. In our society, it’s considered alright to shout, hug and display affection but we are expected to treat  grief without showing emotions. How insane is that?

The intensity of emotions I continue to experience, I have not known to exist within me. And this considering that I’m fairly soft at heart. One of my primary emotional need has been to talk freely about her through this blog. In her absence, I felt desperate to let her know how much I love her, how grateful I’m to her for letting me experience true love and happiness. It gives me assurance that we’re still together. Sometimes my emotions get the better of me and I don’t know what I’m writing but mostly my intent has been to keep her alive for myself, Nishu and all her friends and family whom she loved so much.

I suppose it would have been impossible for anyone who has met her even once to not like her. The love for life and people came effortlessly to her. The care and warmth she showered on people was genuine and came from a selfless heart. She was always on the go,packing a million things in her day. I would often tell her to take it easy but it was a way of life with her. People were calling her all the time asking this or that. She always had answers or would make the effort to find out. Even when my friends would call asking me for something, I would either ask her or ask them to call her directly.

I guess she connected all of us, making friends and family emotionally dependent on her unconsciously. To me and everyone else she was the strong one. When this disease came on, my parents and family told me she would handle it better than me for she was stronger and for the most part she did. If you were feeling down, you only had to call her. There were times I would call her in the middle of my work day because something was bothering me. Mostly I didn’t even tell her the specifics, I just needed to hear her voice and I would feel better. I guess it was the same thing for many friends and family.

And when she would call me, she had multiple conversations going on at the other end. I would give up after a while as my opportunity to be heard came usually after a few attempts. It would drive me crazy but it was always the same thing. Even now thinking about it makes me smile. I cornered her about it once, she just smiled and said “I’m like that, deal with it”. She had amazing energy levels, all brought together by an irresistible enthusiasm for life.

When you live together, there are many such things you take for granted but I still couldn’t help noticing her amazing love for life. It was just too obvious. Wherever she went, she made friends. While in the US, we stayed at Minneapolis for few months one summer. There were an elderly couple next door, when we left, I got a beautifully handwritten letter for her mentioning what a pleasure it was to have us as neighbors. I still have the letter. She touched people.

Remembering everyone’s anniversaries and birthdays were second nature to her. She would simply pick up the phone and call, she was never a big fan of social media. The ongoing joke she had on me was how much I used my phone for calling people. I guess personal touch was important to her, it just came naturally to her personality. She hated what they call ‘selfies’ now. To her it was always about others before self. The only exception to this rule was her birthday. She just loved cutting cakes and celebrating her birthday. This time and every time her birthday comes along, it’s going to be heartbreaking for me but I would still like to do something special on every birthday. I owe it to her.

In the last few months, I have seen people including family have stopped talking about her specially in front of me. I can understand they wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings. But strangely enough , I do want to talk about her. I guess it’s simply because her presence in my life has meant everything to me. I need to keep it alive to survive. I just can’t do without her. I want people to remember her for being the person she was. I believe some people are born just to spread joy and happiness. She certainly did that. Her own life though mercilessly cut short was like a beautiful dream. I believe she lived a life so full and made a positive impact that most people don’t do in a lifetime.

I miss her every passing moment of my life and the path ahead seems impossible. Sometimes I have real doubts if I will manage to survive. If I had a way, I would do anything to get her back but I’m told it’s not possible. Today we are separated by the unknown but I know she can hear me from afar. I want to tell her that our love is timeless. It will survive the ages, and when my time is up, I would be hoping she will be there waiting to show me the ropes on the other side. I have always needed directions and she knows that well.

“Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself”

The curse of Sorrow

I slept fitfully and woke up feeling exhausted. I continue to feel very very low, it’s like having gone back to those unimaginable first few weeks. I don’t know if this is another wave which will pass. I took the day off from work to get some rest. There was no way I could have worked in this state of mind.

I have spent much of the day engulfed in this stoic silence. I can’t seem to get any rest because of it. Last few days for the first time, I pondered my future and I don’t know if that is what has triggered this emotional outburst. To be honest, I’m very scared of my future and being on my own rest of my life. I am beginning to have doubts how long and how far can I go alone.

I really need her and she’s not there. I am tired of feeling so deeply sorrowful inside. It’s as if my insides have been hollowed out. There is nothing left but emptiness and dark spaces which terrify me. I know I need to give myself much more time but every day is so painful that I don’t know how long I can take this mental torture.

I worry about my mental health sometimes with all the stress it has been subjected to. I tried to pretend being strong and it all came back with a vengeance this weekend. I can’t stay at home and if I go out, there are so many reminders that it becomes impossible. Everything from familiar places, couples, food that she liked, hits me like daggers.

I know there is no way out of this situation. It can never go back to what my life was with her. Even though there is a sense of acceptance or resignation, it still doesn’t feel real. With the passage of time, it is starting to get even more difficult. First few weeks, the shock protected the mind from understanding the full impact of what has happened. Now as time has elapsed, the full force of it has been unleashed.

Transforming to the single life has been nearly impossible. Suddenly everything that was 3 is now only 2 and sometimes only 1. From movie tickets, grocery shopping, meals everything has changed. Many times I have tried not to take notice but it just seeps in this change.

The thing which has had the most impact on me has been not having her around to discuss, talk things out. It has completely wrecked me turning my life upside down. With most people having gone back to their busy lives, I have felt her absence acutely. I feared this the most. After being with her for over a decade, I had forgotten what loneliness felt like. She was always around filling the space with her happy presence and lively chatter.

I know I have to stick to routine, go to work, sleep and again start it again the next day. It works out for a few days and then again I have these terrible days. Just keeping busy with so much going on within has been difficult. I just can’t escape the sorrow I feel at losing her. It’s like I’m functioning without a body part. It feels terrible.

I think I need help to get thru this because I’m having doubts I can do this alone. But whom to ask and what I do not know. I have Nishu’s responsibility and I can’t take care of him if I’m myself having such a rough time day after day. So far I have managed to look after him well but I fear for my own and his sake. Yesterday one of his friends asked him the dreaded question “where’s your mom”. I  felt the familiar sinking feeling but he was up to the task and told him calmly “she’s with God”. It was so heartbreaking for me but I was relieved. I fear how he will accept this when he grows up. By the way, I hate mentioning God to him but don’t have a choice.

At 39,I have lost my wife, the mother of my child and the love of my life. Overnight life has gone insane losing any sense of order. My past life has been shredded so completely that it has started to seem like my previous birth. I am still here and have the responsibility as a single parent to bring up my son. I can’t think of more tragic circumstances that life can put you in. It sucks whichever way you look at it.

The funny thing is its not our fault too in any way. No one and I mean no one deserves this in their life. But what completes the tragedy is that life has to go on. How fair is that in the large scheme of things? You lose the reason for living but yet life goes on. I can’t think of a more sad thing today which is in itself saying a lot.

I will end it here for today. I guess I’ve had enough of dealing with this crap every single day. Forgive my anger, it is yet another emotion that has gone wild in the last few days. The only person I still trust to show me the way is her. I’m counting on her just like I have always done. Please hold my hand and show me a way through
this darkness. I need you more than ever now.

The sacredness of tears – above all for Nilu & people she loved

It’s been an extremely emotional weekend. For several weeks it’s as if something had to give. I had been riding an emotional roller-coaster. I was extremely sad on some days and surprisingly mechanical on others but all this while an emotional surge was just waiting to happen.

This weekend it was like the storm came to pass. I don’t know what triggered it, the day out yesterday or something else. Suddenly, the tears just won’t stop as the growing realization that she’s not there. All this time spent at home had given hope to illusions that she was still around. But yesterday I came to grips with the fact. By Saturday night, I was drowning in emotions.

Most of the day today, I just let the tears flow. I couldn’t hold back any longer. Nor do I have any reservation in mentioning this on a public blog. The whole intention of starting this blog was to be true to my feelings. If tears don’t flow for losing the love of your life then I don’t know what it will for.

They came in torrents till I was exhausted and feeling bereft of anymore emotional outpouring. Through the tears many years of togetherness were relived. I miss her so much, I just don’t have better words to express what she meant to me. Everything worthwhile about me is because of her. I don’t know what would have become of me had I not met her.

Despite my grave misfortune, I can’t believe my luck that she came into my life. The years with her just flew by,like the years in her eventful life. This pain of losing the person you have loved most is strange. It is on one hand unbearable and on the other hand it’s like a continuing assurance of still being together. I don’t know how else to explain it.

The intensity of emotions I have felt today have left me shocked. But despite the shock, I’m relieved because it’s also my love for her, at some level we are still together. The weeks of drudgery and work had made me scared if I had anything left inside me. There is a growing sadness as each day begins and ends without her.

The realization that I will not see her again in this life is enough encouragement for my tears. How does one come to grips with this fact alone? When I write it just like that, I belie the gravity of what it means. For those fortunate to be with their loved ones, just take this thought and dwell on it. Unfortunately, I don’t even have the luxury to dwell on it for I’m living this nightmare everyday.

Real loss and Grief, this is what it comes to. My only advice to all those who have given me much well intentioned advice to get on with it – never judge a person till you are in their shoes. I’m sorry to be rude, and I know if there was something that she couldn’t tolerate it was rudeness. I have to say that no one can understand the shit I go through every day.

After a few months, people go back to their lives and expect you to do the same. People move on at work and assume you would have to. The only problem is your life has been so totally ripped off that moving on is delusional at best. What should I move on to? I know I have to spend the rest of my life alone. I have no urgency to move onto that.

I find myself thinking many times a day – what is she doing now, I hope she’s been eating well, the list goes on. I know how scary that sounds, I haven’t yet lost my mind but sometimes I’m precariously close. I know grief does different things to people but this is what it’s done to me. Not to mention how mad I feel thinking just a year back at this time, she was still around and the world still made sense.

Today has been one of the saddest days in my life, there have been few more I can’t even summon the courage to write about. If there was a watershed moment in this journey, today was it. My fears were laid bare, I won’t be seeing her anymore, she’s no longer there. It has taken me months to reach this stage and when I have, the flood gates have opened. I have truly lost her.

What does it mean to live alone? I face this question everyday and there are new meanings to be found everyday. She cared so much for me, if I had so much of a scratch, she would fuss over it. Recently on the way back from the hospital, the driver dropped me at work and she sent me a message to check if I had crossed the road properly. The message brought tears back then for she was going through so much herself and still worrying about me. That’s how she was, always putting others first.

I think she knew well, I have loved her like no other in my life from the time I met her for the first time. It was hard not to have loved her, the person she was. The most engaging smile, the ever infections laughter, the beauty outside and more importantly within. Where will I find her again? If I could and I will probably for Nishu, write reams about the love we shared.

I know that in the years you share together, sometimes you don’t express your love that often. The enthusiasm of the early years sometimes dissolves into the monotony of daily life and it did happen with us too. But despite that, we knew how much we cared for each other, it was evident in the messages I sent, in my happiness to get home to be with her every day,in my sulking over worthless things and her teasing me no ends. It was evident in our disagreements and our fights and makeups.

More so, it was evident in our fight against the gross injustice of nature. Except the first day, we never broke down in front of each other. Maybe we should have, but then it was a manifestation of our love, the illusion that we were keeping strong. I know she was but let me confess today, I wasn’t. I can’t keep count of the times I have broken down in my own company and on rare occasions in company of close friends.

When it came to her, my heart quivered. I can’t describe the feeling when on the rare occasion, we met after a gap of a few days. I know it drove her crazy but that’s how precious she was to me. Call it my selfishness but I just couldn’t take the parting. I would like to think it was and is my crazy love for her. My most cherished moment is when we hugged in the elevator all three of us at the Omaha airport, we had been away for little less than  two weeks. These are memories that give me the strength to go on today all alone.

I know this is long winded but today my emotions have reached a crescendo and I’m making no exceptions, it’s taken a while to reach this point. I don’t know if this is what acceptance feels like. I won’t call it accepting defeat, she gave her life in this battle. We have fought together many of us. Rajoo, Simran and Rena if you are reading this, I want you to know how grateful I’m to each one of you. You all mean the world to me after Nilu. I will also like to mention Vinni, thank you for checking on us and calling me. You have no idea what it felt to someone lonely and heart broken like me. For that I’m grateful and also for the fact you could meet her in the ICU. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Simran & Harry- How can I thank you enough? You checked on Nilu and me every single day, and I want  everyone to know it was literally every single day. I know I don’t deserve friends like you but Nilu did and I’m ever so grateful for everything you have done. I just want you to know you can count on me if ever you need me in this life, I’m there for you all. I can’t describe what it felt like having you both meet Nilu during her last days. When we meet, I have many more things to say to you both. Forgive me, my emotions have taken over today. I sincerely want you to enjoy your vacation and live it up for Nilu. You know how she was about vacations!

Rajoo & Meenakshi – What do I say to both of you? You have done so much for us. The times we spent in that waiting room, it will stay with me for life. Today I was feeling very very low, then I thought about Nilu and you all. I don’t have words to describe what you mean for us. Nishu is fortunate to have family like you. I know I’m little bit socially awkward but I hope you do know that you are the first people in my calling list if I ever get into trouble. I know Nilu would have wanted me to write this and I second her thoughts.

Rena – I know how much Nilu loved you, she told me about you all, all the time. She was closest to you. I know we haven’t spoken much, blame it on Nilu, when did she allow anyone else to speak!
But I want you to know that I’m there for you, as much a friend like Nilu. I know we have much similar tastes in books and music, so that helps!. Nishu is so fortunate to have a massi like you.

Sunita, Sheila & Bua – I know I haven’t got a chance to know you well but I want you to know how much Nilu loved you all. She talked about you all the time and was forever asking me to move to Singapore. I’m grateful for everything you have done, I haven’t been able to put it in meaningful words but let me say this – Nilu connects all of us. Please tell Bua, how happy Nilu was to have spent that time with her. It’s so precious now.

I know this sounds like a thank you list but it’s not. There’s so much more left to do with Nishu. Most importantly, we have to keep Nilu alive, she did so much for us. The least we can do for her is to keep her memory  and her spirit alive. She is an extraordinary person married to a much ordinary person like myself. I’m so fortunate to have her. Do notice I haven’t used the past tense for Nilu. I guess she would have liked that. I know I don’t need to say it but I loved her in this life and I continue to love her beyond.

By the way though it sounds like one, I’m not done yet it’s not the final post. I don’t know who reads or who doesn’t. I will continue to write for someone I have loved with all my heart. Every entry in this blog is for you sweetheart. As I used to say – I love you always.

I have had no sleep tonight, I have let the tears flow today. Today has been the most emotional day in my life after the shock of it all.

I don’t know what has brought me to this day or what has triggered it. I will say at last I’ve accepted it and as expected while it has taken a while it has hurt like hell. I have had to summon all my willpower to write this. I hope it has shown enough glimpses of the emotional fool I am. I have no shame in saying that I have written this with my blood and tears. There is nothing to quote today except her – “You should have some zest in life”

In a crowd of happy faces

I’ve spent the whole day at the Water park and Nishu has had a great time. I have done this for him and I’m glad to see how much he has enjoyed the day.

I never had any expectations for myself in the first place. I went there a little nervous that many things I will see will again trigger my emotions which are extremely fragile these days. I was right, because despite the fact that I spent the day outside seeing my son enjoy, I am deeply sad inside. I guess it’s the fact that today was an example of my life to come.

I felt familiar feelings of leaving her behind, of being alone in this world of happy faces and complete families. The scenes at the park where signs from the life I once had. But then it’s my past not my present. Needless to say I have missed her terribly today. I was there physically but mentally I don’t remember much.

We have done our fair share of entertainment parks – Disney world, universal studios and few others. These times spent just the two of us are my treasured memories. I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in this world. She made every trip, every vacation memorable. When you are with a person who whole heartedly embraces life, the happiness simply seeps into you.

Today I remembered her bright face, her laughter, the shouts of excitement and it filled me with the familiar longing and emptiness. I resist going to happy places because it reminds me so much of her. I have spent much of my day thinking why we are not together today and the whys are as usual somethings that nobody answers. It drives me crazy.

I don’t know how I manage to ever go to such places because it takes a huge toll on me. When I’m home and feeling like crap, it’s still better but when I’m out and realize what I’m missing, it completely kills me. It’s a feeling like someone put a hundred daggers into your heart. I don’t push it anymore and allow myself to feel whatever comes. I’ve tried to resist and learnt my lesson.

Grief is a freakin monster. It can make a perfectly good day like the one today into a sadly shocking one. I was relieved to get home but grief wasn’t done with me yet. The emptiness at home just confirmed my misery. I knew this was another wave coming and no matter what I do there’s simply no stopping it.

I wish sometimes that I have something happy and cheerful to write about but mostly I have none. It’s a reflection of the present state of my mind. I feel seething anger at God which is somewhat funny because I’m not even sure I believe in one. But my anger is because she believed in Him. I find it hard that she was cheated and hence my anger. The problem is there is nothing I can do about it other than feel angry like a lunatic sometimes.

The park was otherwise quite good and Nishu enjoyed the kids rides. He didn’t want to be in the water much though. He particularly enjoyed the carousel rides which were actually quite delightful. There was a brief moment when I actually thought it was going to go well till I  saw a ride marked “ladies and kids” – all the moms with their kids. I gave up.

I guess the truth why I have felt so miserable today is not the happy faces of others or my own loneliness . It’s because I’m beginning to realize she is becoming a memory and it  scares the hell out of me. I don’t want to lose her all over again.

“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in the present grief”

Life as a house

I have spent a lot of time alone at home of late and not all of it has been good. The word alone has a different concoction for me – it simply means without her. If there are other people or not it really doesn’t seem to matter. I don’t want to sound mean but my world revolved around her.

I have been going through what I have to go through, no pretenses. I’m open to my grief, open to expressing how I feel though sometimes words are not adequate. When I look back at the first few weeks and all the advice I got to make an effort, take baby steps, get back to life and so on. I’m glad I’ve listened to myself, for no one and I mean no one can truly experience the devastation I feel.

One reason I started this blog was to give an outlet to my emotions. I never felt I had any need to suppress them. I’m human and when hit by a mammoth iceberg like this, it’s human to show emotions. I wouldn’t be any less a man for it. I have never understood why people expect quick fixes to a situation which truly can’t be fixed. I guess lot of people mean well but they do not realize that the old self also dies with the person.

Being at home all this while amongst her things and a million reminders of her life here has been extremely tough but a strange sense of peace has prevailed sometimes. I can’t describe it but I have felt her presence. It has saved me from losing my mind. It might be a figment of my imagination but I would like to believe otherwise.

My home was and remains my sanctuary. I remember how much I looked forward to being home each day. Once home, I would forget all my worries and work related stress. Today it’s not the same thing because the person responsible for all the joy and happiness is missing. But even now this is where I get some solace from my constant grief. I still like to believe this is our home regardless of what has happened.

By no means it’s been easy to be here without her. It appears as this house has lost its soul. She used to take such good care of it, filling it with laughter and joy. Both are missing in good measure now. Her memories are strewn about the house. I have not changed anything including her pictures. It’s her home still, who am I to change anything here.

Her memories are so powerful that find it hard to believe she’s not around. I expect her any moment. Sometimes I spill something or make a mess, and I look over my shoulder to check if she would see what I have done and give me an earful. I wish she would for I miss it so much. I often hear her voice upbeat and enthusiastic always no matter what time of the day.

We’ve seen lots of good days here. We’ve had anniversaries and birthdays, we’ve had our date nights and arguments all in this house. But I have also never lived here without her. She’s always been around. Now I find myself alone and sometimes when Nishu is out at a friends place, I’m truly alone – just me and this house. Once again I can’t describe how it feels.

But I stick to it like an old friend because we know each other for long. We are used to each others company. The first few weeks when she was in the hospital and I had to be alone here, I just couldn’t take it. I counted days when she would be back home and my world would be  complete again. Now I know she will never be home but I still live here waiting for her.

It’s a strange relationship I have with this house. I feel like I will die of loneliness here but when I’m out and having a difficult time, I want to get back here quickly. I also remember the several apartments we lived in while in the US. I have such fond memories of them. In fact we both wanted to revisit those places when we were old. It was on our bucket list. But life sometimes doesn’t give you a chance to be old. It takes you young.

I guess it’s not really about the house, after all its all brick and mortar without the people. It’s the people who make it special. She gave it a heart by her presence here. She filled it with memories of a lifetime. Just like us, this house has been blessed to have her. And just like us, this house also grieves her. It casts long shadows and speaks no more.

“What restraint or limit should there be to grieve for one so dear? “

Car troubles

Today I had to go into work as I had some people coming over for business meetings. I had been working from home last couple of weeks and had grown accustomed to my mundane routine. I had almost forgotten there was a world outside.

The moment I stepped out I knew it was going to be a hard day. While driving to work I kept looking at the seat next to mine. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before. Today it brought a sea of memories storming back. I remembered her talking animatedly or giving me directions as she always did. I remembered the arguments and disagreements sometimes.

It seemed I had so many memories of her in the car itself. I remembered how I would get lost somewhere and call her for directions and she would calmly guide me. I remembered the countless road trips we had made just the  3 of us. Mostly it was her upbeat voice that I remembered, and then it started hitting me again.

I have days like these when it gets really difficult. I don’t know when and what will trigger my emotions. I spent the rest of the day working and then the commute back was equally trying. I have to survive days like these. I’m looking forward to the weekend not because it will provide me any entertainment but I think I need a break, some time off.

Few friends have suggested a trip to the water park over the weekend. I will probably go for Nishu. I don’t seem to enjoy anything anymore, every outing takes an enormous effort and sometimes I regret it but when I see a smile on my little boys face, it makes the pain worth it. I know I have to be patient with myself, I can’t be pushed. I have taken a lot and sometimes I fear a meltdown.

I sometimes think how she would have handled it if it was me in her place. I know that she would have done lot better than me, she had a ferocious will and an unmatched love for life. I’ve always been little detached from the world and sometimes I can handle the loneliness. She loved having people around and would be terrified of being left alone. I guess down to our personalities, I’m probably better equipped to face the loneliness or that’s what I think anyway.

If I had the choice of taking over her pain and sickness, I would have done that in a jiffy. I cannot describe my own frustration at seeing her so sick, not being able to do things she loved doing. Yet, she never let her sickness define who she was. It broke her body but couldn’t touch her spirit. I always knew she was strong and independent but I had no idea of the inner strength and restraint she possessed. It has been an inspiration and I’m so proud of her and always will be.

If I have to say, she was the head of our family. I know generally men are supposed to be playing this role but not in our case. Sure, I took care of bills and stuff like that but when it came to family and home, she was the one making the right calls. We discussed all the time but I trusted her ability more than anything else. She knew much more about everything than I ever will and knew instinctively what was best for us.

These days I read something interesting and my first reaction is to tell her, I was telling her things all the time. The hardest parts of this journey are also some of the simplest things in life that we otherwise take for granted. We think our loved ones are always going to be with us, we cannot imagine life without them but when they are gone and life has to go on, the fickle nature of life exposes itself. Life is precious, time is short and nothing remains forever.

I think about one of my idols from teenage years – Richard Feynman the most brilliant mind of his generation. His personality captivated me as much as his brain. He lost the love of his life to a disease at a similar age to mine. I remember reading that shortly after her passing, he was looking at a dress in a store front and thought-“she would have loved this”, he broke down overcome by the gravity of what he had lost. I thought I had no memory of this for I would have read this more than a decade ago. It’s strange how much we carry in our subconscious minds.

I don’t need something to remind me of my loss. Afterall love and loss are two sides of life. Just like I will always carry the grief of losing her, I also carry the love we shared for each other. It’s not something that will go away either.

“Everything changes, nothing is lost”

Endless questions

They say “till death do us part”. But then what? Does it end there, the love and relationship? As with many such questions that delve into the unknown, what matters is what you believe in. I believe when you have loved someone so dearly, it becomes eternal, everlasting.

That was the easy part, what is much more difficult is to live your life with this belief. It requires introspection, self discovery and living through pain. I have trouble living with this belief because I’m at the start of a journey whose destination is unknown. I want to whole heartedly believe in this thought but I don’t know where this path will take me to.

In reality when you wake up in the mornings and it hits you like a tonne of bricks, it all sounds like a lot of philosophizing. I guess I’m not a patient man. I want quick fixes, but there are no fixes in this journey. Loss is a one way street, a process that is irreversible. No matter how badly I want her back, it’s not going to happen. It drives me crazy this thought.

‘Not coming back ‘- another thought that takes me to the edge ever so often. These are things that make this grief journey almost impossible at times. The restlessness and the anxiety peaks, desperation gives way to any rational thought. No wonder, we are not designed to deal with the infinite nature of death.

People who tell you things like ‘move on’  and ‘get over it’  have been fortunate to not have dealt with real loss. They have little idea what they are talking about. Truth is there is no way you deal with a loss of this magnitude. You can’t deal with it, the waves are just too big and powerful. All you can do is try to hang on to your lifeboat for there is every chance that the next wave could be it.

This is what I’ve been doing in the aftermath of it all. My son is my lifeboat, I’ve been holding on to him. I have real trouble believing she’s not there for I still expect her all the time. It’s just so hard to believe someone so full of life is now devoid of it. They say healing begins only if you let go and accept this.

I guess I’m not going to be healed as yet for I have no intentions to let go. I didn’t let go in life and won’t now. I believe her consciousness lives through both of us. There are parts of her we both have inherited. It’s battles like these that I fight everyday with myself. Perhaps I want to keep telling myself that she’s still around.

Every day without her is hard on me. I stumble through it somehow and I’m glad when it ends but before I can be ready, another day is upon me. Time and it’s relentless march – cold and unforgiving. They say it gets easier, I only know it will take a long long time for anything to sound easy.

Meanwhile, I follow the same routine everyday, at some level the monotony helps bear the relentless pain. I throw myself into work and hope that for some time at least I will not get reminded of this huge hole in the fabric of my life. But grief doesn’t work like that, it shows up at unexpected times for its ever present just waiting to strike.

There are reminders everywhere I go but after a while you realize they are all within you and there’s no running away. We spent 12 years together and now I’m attempting to live alone, the transition is tumultuous, violent and emotionally draining not to mention how hopelessly impossible it is.

I have realized I cannot fight my loneliness for its all consuming. It is too big and I’m too small in the face of it. I have to throw myself into it, I have no other choice. If I try to fight it, it comes back with a vengeance. My only hope of surviving this is by letting it submerge me, experience the full wrath of it.

This is certainly not the life I had ever imagined. I have lost the most precious thing I had, someone who was the anchor in my life in every possible way. I feel like a rudder less ship lost in the ocean of life – direction less and solitary. I’ve taken a hit too big, too soon. I have an ocean to cross and the storm rages unabated.

“Pain has an element of blank. It cannot recollect when it began or if there were a time when it was not”