Life is Hard

image

My life has never felt harder than it is now. I continue to feel low, demotivated, listless – in short crap. I wish I had something more positive to write but since I absolutely detest pretense, I  will take my own advice and stay honest with my emotions.

Each day is hard without respite. Waking up in the mornings and coming back after work remain the lowest points. I miss her through out the day and even more when the day ends. I miss having someone to talk to, discuss and share life.

At the moment, life seems like an endless charade of following a mundane routine and weekends which are even worse alone. Sometimes I’m filled with anger and frustration. It wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

I envy the normalcy in others lives. I’m filled with bitterness when I overhear colleagues talking to their wives or when I get the married couple jokes. They remind me that I’m out of place now. In fact I don’t fit in anywhere.

The past keeps running in my head like a movie projector. I have serious doubt’s several times if I can survive this nightmare that my daily life has become. I have lost interest in most things I used to enjoy once.

I have read plenty of books on grief and bereavement and they confirm my understanding that the only way to peace is through the valley of sorrow. There’s simply no evading grief. My only hope is to survive it while it runs it’s course. Even that seems improbable sometimes.

The grief stricken mind works in mysterious ways. I will be fine one moment, trying to read something and feel a bit normal when my mind will start running the images and voices from a happy evening somewhere lost in past. The realization that I can never be with her again simply tears away any shreds of normalcy.

Then there is fear to deal with. Fear about loneliness and an uncertain future, fear about losing my sanity, fear about living rest of my life without her, fear about raising our Son alone, fear about not having enough motivation to accomplish anything in life.

I stand at a place where my old life has vanished and the new life is unknown. In short I don’t have a life right now, I’m simply existing, doing things that need to be done, fulfilling my responsibilities as a single parent.

Will it get better some day? I hope it does because it’s not possible to live a lifetime like this. Maybe some day life will become bearable, tears won’t be spilled everyday, loneliness would not feel killing but one thing will remain – her absence. I don’t think I will ever get used to it. It will follow me like a shadow everywhere at all times.

The only person I could pour my heart out to is gone. She was the one I leaned on in every difficult situation. I find that the void is so immense that I just can’t seem to understand the gravity of it all. My marital status has changed to widower on forms that I fill. I don’t know how to interpret that.

I have also read a lot on spirituality and the countless true stories of a connection that survives death and is immortal. I do believe in that and feel it from time to time but the fact remains that I miss her and I miss our life together.

She was the best thing that ever happened to me and I will be eternally grateful for that. I never thought that the life we created together would end so soon. I never thought I would be left behind wondering what to do with this life.

I know that the world moves on and there’s work to be done, bills to be paid but all this seems so shallow and meaningless without that one person in the world who made life worth living.

“Let the darkness find you if it must. Throw off the quick and tempting escapes, and seek help only from those who would teach you to grow, feed your soul, embrace your heart, but would not steal away your journey.”
― Jennifer DeLucy

Advertisements

View from the inside

image

I have had a very low last few days. I had lulled myself into thinking that I was doing better, that by my own yardstick I had been making ‘progress’. I got through her and my son’s birthdays fuelled by some kind of unexplained euphoria.

But when I got past it, I could sense a huge wave of sadness coming. By the time Diwali came around, I had decided to let myself get submerged in the waves. There wasn’t simply any other way left to go.

There are times when the sorrow you feel is just too overpowering. You can no longer defy it. The only choice is to accept your feelings for they are real. I had people tell me to make an ‘effort’, try to get out of it. But I want to ask how do you just walk out of the pain of loneliness after living twelve years of your life with a beautiful person.

Truth is that no one has any answers on how to do this but they all want you to snap out of it as soon as possible. Seeing someone in pain is awkward and uncomfortable. There is a void that exists and unless you have yourself gone through something as devastating as this, words cannot do justice to the magnitude of your feelings.

I want to ask how are you supposed to feel looking at the lights, the decorations and the happy families all around, when your own world has been changed forever. What is a better option – to ‘act’ strong and join in the festivities because for others it’s the right thing to do or to accept your sorrow and stay away and give yourself time and space to feel your grief.

I decided to stay away because for me it felt like the only way out. So while the world enjoyed the occasion with their families and friends, I grieved for not having the person around who made everything worthwhile. Yes, I miss her every single moment and just can’t get over the fact that I’m alone now. I don’t care for how it should be, this is what is real and there’s no running from it.

People can give advice and go back to their happy lives but what about the person who has got no life to get back to? That life which existed has been wiped off in a single instance. This void makes any explanation impossible to attempt. When I’m going through yet another empty evening or yet another sleepless night, I would like to know how to just snap out of it. So far no one’s been able to help me with that.

In my own limited experience I’ve learned that you have to do whatever feels right for you. If it means letting the tears flow or being with yourself and accepting the pain, or just putting on headphones and getting lost in the sorrow, let it be. It doesn’t get better overnight and there are simply no expectations to be had on this journey.

The pain of missing the person you have loved so much is like an ever expanding canvas. You don’t do things outside of it but you try and live within your loss. I find that there’s no moment when I’m not missing her. I miss her when I’m working, driving, sleeping, reading, watching a movie . I miss her simply at all times and in all places.

All I know is that it’s going to take a very long time to come to terms with life in its present form. It’s going to take a very long time to get used to the crushing loneliness, it’s going to take a very long time to let go of the dreams and hopes we shared. Sometimes time ceases to matter because there’s only one path ahead and I’m already on it.

“The silence isn’t so bad, till I look at my hands and feel sad. Because the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly.”
― Owl City, Ocean Eyes

No place to hide

There’s no place to hide
You are no longer by my side
The pain comes and goes at will
It leaves me shattered but living still

I think about the days gone by
What it means that they would never again come by
I think about the hopes and dreams we shared
All the fears I had have been bared

I look for you everywhere
But I can’t see you anywhere
You have gone to a place I can’t reach
There are layers between us I can’t breach

I close my eyes and I see you again
For a moment we meet again
Then I lose you once more
I’m left staring at the closed door

They say it gets better with time
But living without you feels like a crime
I have been given no choices
And all I hear are lost voices

Someday our life will feel like a dream
Memories will flow into a stream
My hair would have grayed
The edges of grief would have frayed

My love for you would still be there
A place in my heart would still be bare
A lifetime without you would have gone by
But every moment of it you would have been nearby

This life without you

My mornings start in a daze
I get through my days in a haze
The evenings are soulless and empty
The nights lonesome and lengthy

I don’t recognize this life
It’s like living in times of strife
I feel lost in the ocean of life
I miss having you by my side

My grief ebbs and flows like a river
Loneliness seems to have become my giver
There are no answers to be found
There’s so much sorrow to get around

I believe your love still surrounds
A part of you still lives on and abounds
I hear you whisper my name
But nothing feels the same

The world moves at its own pace
I feel left behind in this empty space
Get busy living is what they all say
But how do I keep crushing loneliness at bay

I live in the hope that I’ll find you again one day
True love never dies as some say
Through me you will live your life
This is the hope that keeps me alive

Light and darkness

image

The holiday season here in India is upon us starting with the festival of lights. It used to be my favorite time of the year, a time to be spent at home with family and friends. It was what made all the hard work through the year worth it.

Today it’s the last thing on my mind. I want it over and done with minimum of fuss. The contrast between the outer world and my inner turmoil couldn’t be starker. Coming on the back of a slew of firsts, my courage is now failing and my spirits are in a free fall again.

I just can’t help missing her – the lights,the decorations, the slight chill in the morning air, everything reminds me of her. In the initial days and weeks, the pain was so intense that just the mere memory of it makes me wince.

Today the pain is still there, it’s just morphed into something different. It pulls me into the past, into our early years, the long phone calls and a million other things that hurt like needles. The pain comes and goes at its own will.

When it goes, I look forward to life again, I tell myself I’m living as she would have liked me to, I’m making new memories without her but for her. But when it comes back, I give in meekly,I find there’s nothing I can do to make myself feel better. I just have to ride it over till the waves recede again.

And so goes my life back and forth. I don’t know for how long and how far. I wish there was a start and an end but there’s nothing of that sort. I do want to live and find pleasure in the few things that I still love doing but I go back into the shadows often and then it becomes hard to return.

The cheer all around, the happy faces, they just magnify the grief I feel. It’s like everyone else is living our life. But then this is the reality of the catastrophic loss which is all mine. I can try to get away from it, keep myself busy with and pretend that I’m getting along but grief is never too far.

The last few months of the year are going to be as difficult as the first few were and then life will roll into a full year without her and that’s the way it will stay for all the years to come by. Then one day the distance between the past and the present will be such that the past will begin to feel like a dream – a life that never was. In fact it has already started feeling like that.

I know I’m painting a very grim picture but I’m writing what I feel otherwise what use is it. Today the shadows seem to lengthen and that’s just the way it is. Some days there are really no positives to be had on this journey.

They say there’s a season for everything . Maybe there is, but when you miss that one person, every season reminds you of loss. So this festive season, I would like to put on my noise canceling headphones and listen to some good music and let the world carry on. If someone has a better idea of surviving the next few months, please fill me in.

“Just like the sun goes down at night
Just like the moon and stars come out
To light up the sky

Just like every spring has gloomy days
Full of thunderous rain
Before new flowers bloom

Just like the river travels long rough
Miles through cities and towns just to
Flow into the sea for eternity

There Will Be A Time For Us”

Getting On With Life

image

It’s been a busy week with my sons birthday which we celebrated at home and then at a local play area with all his friends over the weekend . There are many firsts I have gone through – the first birthday without her,the first birthday party I organized all by myself.

In the busyness of it all, the enormity of the moment seldom gets lost. This is how it’s going to be now. While the pure joy and happiness on my son’s face has made it all worth it, I have struggled emotionally. I have tried to not feel alone but I have, I have tried not to miss her but I have and will always do.

Everything went well, we had a great party, I got all of it done decently much against my own expectations but I can’t deny that something big was amiss. It just felt very strange to be doing all this myself – ordering the cake, fixing the venue, buying outfits, organizing return gifts.

Often it felt like I wanted to ask her if I was doing it right, if this is the way it’s supposed to be done but she wasn’t around. It’s not sadness for I have been feeling better in a long time. It’s probably the fact that when things start feeling a bit normal, my heart starts longing for her presence.

I miss her in my life and in everything I do . Nothing gives me the feeling of happiness and contentment. Over the next few weeks and months we get into the festive season and I have no idea how to deal with it. I got through her and our Son’s birthday much better than I expected but now that it’s done, I feel a certain void, a certain darkening of the skies again.

I sometimes want to ask whoever did this to us, how much suffering is enough, how much more pain do I need to take. I know there are no answers but only an uncertain and difficult path that lies ahead.

I feel weighed down by responsibilities. I have lots of things on my plate and many times I just detest being a single parent. I detest the silence that greets me everyday. I feel like going back to the person I was but that part of me is long gone.

I don’t know where the future will take me. Sometimes I don’t even seem to care. I want to cling on to my old life but it’s gone and I can’t get it back. I fight my circumstances every single day. Tears spill over , I want to give in but I keep pushing forward.

I know I can’t give up but I long for life to not be a battle field everyday. I long for the lazy weekends and the inviting holidays. I long to walk hand in hand with the person I love so much. But sometimes you have to move forward with what you got left.

I am learning to live with a broken heart, I’m learning to not lean on anyone but myself, I’m learning to find my way through this darkness and most of all I’m learning to live a life which doesn’t resemble anything like I have ever dreamt of.

But then again no matter what the circumstances, there’s only one choice I have and that is to go on and live, to accomplish everything that she was denied, to experience this world as she would have done. Within my grief and my pain lies my immense love for the person because of whom I experienced a timeless love and that is what I’m counting on to survive.

“In my dreams
I’ll always see you soar
Above the sky
In my heart
There will always be a place
For you for all my life
I’ll keep a part
Of you with me
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be
And everywhere I am
There you’ll be”

A Sombre Birthday

image

Our little boy turned seven today. This was his first birthday without his beloved mom. Grief has tortured me so much that there are times you get simply tired of it. I was so sick of the darkness that I unconsciously pushed myself out of it.

I know how difficult today could have been and in some ways it was but I just didn’t want to spend another day wallowing in my grief. It was our boy’s special day and I really wanted to enjoy the day with him and I know if live, I feel much closer to her.

I truly felt better today than I have done in months. I also felt throughout the day that she was with me. It’s difficult to describe these things in words. Yes, I missed her like I do everyday but the difference was that I chose to move forward and not stay stuck. It’s complex how emotions take center stage. They can come from nowhere and knock you out.

But I survived all the triggers today. I have been there in dark corners on so many days that my mind pushed me to try life instead. The unbridled enthusiasm of children is so contagious that it lifts you up even in worst moments. Just seeing the joy and excitement on his face dispelled all the darkness. It was like someone had flicked the light switch.

After days, weeks and months of ruthless pain and agony, the clouds broke for a bit and allowed some sunshine to stream through. I know well this is not a linear process, I could well find myself drowning in the waves of sorrow in the days to come but I’m glad today was not one of those days.

She loved planning his birthdays, choosing party themes, outfits, sending invites always with her endearing personal touch. I only had to pay the bills and show up. Today, her absence was deafening, no matter what we do we can’t get away from it. And yet, it was like she was with us. I know she can never be far from her boys.

It’s been seven years and it still feels like yesterday when we witnessed the birth of our little boy. I will always remember and cherish the moment when I held him for the first time. I felt the kind of peace and happiness that I had never experienced. It was a magical moment.

I also remember the first few months of being new parents and how we struggled on our own learning things as we went along. I used to spend hours in babysrus marveling at everything invented for babies. Those were the best years of our lives. Life seemed to stretch out happy and inviting.

Today it’s just me in the parent equation. Life took such a tragic turn  that I could have never ever seen it coming even in my worst nightmares. But it has happened, I lost the love of my life and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

I have been given no choices but to go on. I get tired of the grief and the loneliness, tired of breaking down behind closed doors, tired of dreaming about a future which cannot come to pass, tired of feeling sorry for us but I still chose to live because life is what she meant to me. I keep reminding myself that if I live, she lives on through me. I owe it to her to take her dreams about us forward.

” There was a star danced, and under that was I born. -Shakespeare”

Attempting life once more

image

I spent the weekend working to a crazy schedule and being immersed in work last few weeks has left me feeling exhausted but it has helped keep the pain and loneliness at bay momentarily. I know its just hanging around always waiting to erupt.

Our little boy’s seventh birthday comes up in a couple of days, the first without his mom. He’s been wonderful and his excitement and enthusiasm for life drives me. I see so much of her in him – the same eyes, the same sense of fun and mischief, the same love for all things chocolate.

She loved planning his birthdays. I have never been involved in anything other than paying the bills, picking up the cake and showing up at the party. This time I had to do it all – from picking the venue, making invitee lists, return gifts, buying outfits for his birthday.. the whole hog.

I did everything trying to make sure he feels special on his big day. I can’t even imagine how it’s going to feel without her, it was our favorite day in the entire year. I guess it’s not going to be much different than what I feel every day without her.

I believe she lives on through us, in the little things we do with her in our hearts and minds. In that sense I haven’t lost her and never will. But it’s of course not the same as seeing and talking to her every day, doing things together instead of being alone all the time.

Seven months have gone by and none of this has been easy by any stretch of imagination. I won’t like to remember or revisit many dark spaces I have inhabited during these months. I don’t want darkness to define me because I’ve experienced timeless love.

There are days when I feel relaxed and these are the days I feel closest to her. On such days, I don’t feel alone anymore. But these days are hard to come by. I don’t like cheerleading my emotions. I feel what I feel and that’s the only way I know of being genuine.

Now that I have some time outside work, I plan to read those national geographics, get air in the deflated tires and go cycling with my son and try to live again . It’s not an escape route from the situation but living makes me feel closer to her. Life, joy and selflessness defined her as a person. I want to take that path towards her.

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December’s bareness everywhere!
~William Shakespeare, “Sonnet XCVII”

Hazy days and lonely nights

image

I have been keeping busy with a full schedule at work and taking care of my son. At some level it helps to keep up with the world but it also aggravates the pain specially when you start worrying about work, career and the normal things again only to realize that nothing is the same anymore.

I still experience shock and panic attacks though they seem to have lessened. The sadness is always there lingering like a dark cloud above waiting to pour. Sticking to a routine helps me get through most days and I have no other expectations. Some days are just very hard and I don’t know how but I get through them.

When weekends and holidays come around, it’s doesn’t get any easier. The empty evenings hurt the most, being with people doesn’t help much with the loneliness. I try to watch TV or some movie and find that nothing gives me any pleasure. Taking long walks helps calm my mind and I do that most days.

I love the time I spend with my son – taking him out, story telling or watching movies but outside of that I don’t know what to do with my time. When she was around, I had lots of interests and I had no problems spending time alone. Those things just don’t feel the same anymore.

I know in time I have to find my own path and no one can help me with that. I also know how I live has a direct impact on the emotional well being of my son. I haven’t given up on life but I don’t know what I want from it now. I feel like a weary traveler on an unknown journey, a journey whose destination is unknown.

In some sense we are all travelers journeying between life and death. There’s much to learn and experience in between, in whatever time we have been given. Maybe my loneliness will help me discover my true self and help me forge a path ahead . In time I may start liking my own company and that might help.

“…it’s not just the person who fills a house, it’s their I’ll be back later!s, their toothbrushes and unused hats and coats, their belongingnesses.”
― David Mitchell, Black Swan Green

Message in a bottle

I found this beautiful passage while watching “Message in a bottle”

“To all the ships at sea, and all the ports of call. To my family and to all friends and strangers. This is a message, and a prayer. The message is that my travels taught me a great truth. I already had what everyone is searching for and few ever find. The one person in the world who I was born to love forever. A person, like me, of the outer banks and the blue Atlantic mystery. A person rich in simple treasures. Self-made. Self-taught. A harbor where I am forever home. And no wind, or trouble or even a little death can knock down this house. The prayer is that everyone in the world can know this kind of love and be healed by it. If my prayer is heard, there will be an erasing of all guilt and all regret and an end to all anger. Please, God. Amen.”

Nicholas Sparks – “Message in a bottle”