Thoughts of You

Friday night again. Sometimes I wait for it because working under so much of emotional trauma takes a toll. But when I do catch a break I stare back at myself in all my loneliness. What do I say that I have not said over and over again – I miss you.

I hope that someday when I wake up, instead of the piercing stabs, I will feel a warmth, an afterglow of having been with you in my dreams and I’ll be able to say..

Like the cool mist on a hot summers day
Like the warmth of a fireside on a cold winter day
Like droplets of water on parched lips
I awoke with the thoughts of you

As light gives way to darkness
As sadness gives way to joy
As a tear is wiped by a smile
I awoke with the thoughts of you

The desert with it’s sand dunes
The night sky sparkling with it’s immeasurable brilliance
The rivers flowing through centuries
I awoke with the thoughts of you

The beautiful memories of the days gone by
The preciousness of the days spent together
The life lessons I have learned from you
I awoke with the thoughts of you

The pain of your absence
The void that envelopes me everyday
An instant that we met in dreams
It took away the pain of eternity
I awoke with the thoughts of you

I still dream of a future together
We still walk hand in hand together
I never left your side and you never left mine
I awoke with the thoughts of you

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A Lingering Sadness

“Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.” – Tennyson

Most days it feels like I’m ploughing through time . Mondays and first few days after a holiday seem particularly difficult not because of the ‘get back to work’ blues but because the break has aggravated the sense of loss.

It takes a solitary afternoon walk between meetings, a coffee break and sometimes just old fashioned determination to get through the work day. And this is on days when I’m apparently doing better. The reason is that the sadness within is bottomless. In the beginning this sadness disguised itself as anger, frustration and denial. It still does but more often than not shows up in its true form.

The mind always turns back to the happy years gone by comparing that piece of lost heaven with the smoldering ruins of today. It’s a relentless battle within to come to terms with life as it is now. It might be the fact that I’m closing in on a year that is causing the pain to linger that bit more.

Probably the worst thing about loss is its permanence. There are no second chances. What is lost remains lost forever. Yes, we should focus on what we have too but in its all consuming intensity, that wisdom doesn’t help much.

The reason why we hate the platitudes and the well meaning but ultimately useless advice is the fact that our focus on the person we have lost is unwavering. The only thing that can make it better is that person and that is exactly what we have lost.

It’s such a hopeless conundrum. I find it particularly hard on the weekends and holidays because the person who demanded my time and attention is no longer there. I get tired of taking decisions on my own. I want to be challenged and argued with but all I get is silence.

You get tired of driving alone, eating alone and talking to yourself. When you do get with friends, the gap is even more glaring. They are all still with their partners while you are without yours. They still talk about money, career, shopping and the pleasures of a family while those things haven’t occurred to you in a while.

So every day a sadness lingers – a sadness of what was and what no longer is, a sadness of what could have been, a sadness of how different life has become. This part of grief is here to stay. In time the intensity may wither but I know I will always carry it within. I will always carry the heartbreak of shattered dreams.

It took me a while to realize that my loss was mine alone to carry. Perhaps that’s the way it should be. Grief despite its gruelling and all consuming nature is sacred. I have started to look upon it as a friend rather than an adversary that I have to fight. It keeps me company in my solitude and when I get tired of it, it pushes me forward.

I will be turning forty in March and the same month I get to a year without my wife. I stand at the crossroads , it’s a time of deep self reflection. I have come this far, I can surely go further. My past is now an integral part of me. I carry it lovingly for it is the balm that soothes my wounds as I move forward in this journey, one day at a time and many little steps each day. There are some steps forward and some back. The important thing is to keep traveling .

Changing Grief

“Although I am physically alone, I am the man she lived with for forty-eight years and she is very much a part of the person I have become in that time.”
Robert Kirven (author of “A Book About Dying”)

I’ve now been a single parent for close to a year. We go out as a family of two rather than the happy three that we were in the years gone by. In the beginning it was intensely emotionally draining, every place we went to, my thoughts raced back to the time when we were together, our world intact.

I would helplessly look at the other families and couples milling around and feel that piercing stabs in the heart. There were times I wanted to just get out of there and stay home. The world seemed too full while mine had been lost forever. But I reasoned that my son was going to have only one childhood and I owed it to both of them to bring a smile to his face. He had suffered enough and I wasn’t going to make my pain dwarf his growing up years.

And so we continued to go out, just the two of us on weekends and holidays. We went to couple of holidays with friends and family. Though my own grief was too raw to let any enjoyment in, it was heartwarming to see our little boy enjoy. On many other weekends, it was rough, just the two of us at home. I would play board games with him and fight tears thinking what our life had come to.

I busied myself taking care of him full time on holidays and weekends. Every morning I would get up early with him and get him ready for school. Doing these chores gave me peace at a time when everything else seemed very dark. At work sometimes when it felt unbearable, I would close my eyes and remind myself that I had to take care of my son. That would somehow give me enough strength to get through the day.

It really hurt to come back home each day and face the loneliness. And yet when my son would give me a warm hug, it seemed that I had broken through the pain. I doubt I would have made it this far without him. I don’t think I had any other reason to continue living.

These days when we go out, I still feel the familiar stabs but I notice that they don’t hurt as much. I’ve started becoming numb to the pain. I’ve started getting used to the empty seat next to me, to the silence that surrounds me wherever I go. They say grief becomes different with time and it’s true. It has just become different not necessarily better.

I’ve started becoming accustomed to talking in my head. I don’t know if this means that I have started to let go of my past. I guess I have wailed,let out my frustration and anger at this situation and found that there’s no one out there who can magically put this right. Myself is all I got on this solitary path.

It still hurts a lot to be alone and I know nothing or no one can fill that void. But I don’t feel the desperate need of company anymore. I’ve started to become comfortable with my loneliness. I find that my focus and concentration are a lot better and I’m beginning to find pleasure in books and reading again.

My future scares me, the safety net that I had in her presence is gone. I try not to dwell on it too much. When I start having thoughts whether I’ll find happiness ever again, I surrender to it and it goes away. I didn’t see my current life unfolding and the same holds true for the future.

There’s much more to learn on this journey. Grief is a teacher and I’ve learned some hard lessons. I’m searching for some normalcy in life, I have seen too much darkness in too less a time. I’m yearning for some easy lessons now.

Good Will Hunting

I read and follow blogs from many others like me who are walking this solitary path. I have learned much from you all. I don’t know you in person but I truly feel the pain of living without our soulmates.

I’m sharing this quote from the movie “Good Will Hunting” because it encapsulates beautifully the love we feel for those we have lost at least in a physical sense.

For people who don’t get the depths of how we feel, I  wish I could tell them these words.

Wish you all peace and strength in the days to come.

“You’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feelin’ like God put an angel on Earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her be there forever. Through anything. Through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleepin’ sittin’ up in a hospital room… for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes… that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself.”

The Traveler

In my journey I have often paused and reflected on the fickleness of life and the transient nature of this world and our relationships. I struggle with loneliness a lot and often turn to music to find solace. One of my favorite songs is “wahan kaun hai tera”. To those familiar with Hindi film music, it’s an iconic song from the legendary movie “Guide” that touches on the meaning of life in the most beautiful way.

I have been listening to this song from my early teenage years and could never grasp it’s full meaning up until now. Loss has given me a very different perspective on life and this world.

I believe we are all eternal travelers making this journey between birth and death and beyond.

Below is an English translation of the song, no matter what the language, life and it’s emotions speak a universal tone that is most understood by people going through unimaginable times in their life journeys. 

Translation

There is no one there waiting for you , o traveler
better take a breather here, you may not get this cool shade again
There is no one there waiting for you , o traveler
there is no one
those transient days of love are left far behind
those nights are distant dreams now
they have forgotten it,
and you should too
those love filled meetings, oh those love filled meetings
there is no light at the end of the tunnel
so where will you go, o traveler
better take a breather here, you may not get this cool shade again
There is no one there waiting for you , o traveler
there is no one
No one is there awaiting you
No one is there looking forward to you
no one there misses you
no one there mourns your absence
no one sheds a tear for you
whom can you call your own
so where will you go, o traveler
better take a breather here, you may not get this cool shade again
There is no one there waiting for you , o traveler
there is no one
You guided others
how come you cannot see your own destination
you have solved the problems of others
how come you find yourself entangled with your own problems
how can a snake charmer sway on his own tune
where will you go, o traveller
better take a breather here, you may not get this cool shade again
There is no one there waiting for you , o traveller
there is no one
Learned people have already told us that this world is a mirage
the story of our lives are written in water
it is seen by all, it is experienced by all
no one actually owns anything
nothing is yours, nothing is mine
so where will you go, o traveller
better take a breather here, you may not get this cool shade again
There is no one there waiting for you , o traveller
there is no one

For those interested here is the link to the original

Guide – Wahan Kaun Hai Tera Musafir http://youtu.be/7KR67xAVj5U

It doesn’t get any easier

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This is the question that mocks me every day – How do I go on without the person who gave meaning to my life? Everyday I struggle, some days I think that I can’t take it any more but life pulls me along. No matter how I feel the sun rises again and before I realize, I have to go through it all over again.

I feel tired and emotionally drained. All I want at the end of each day is just to crash into her arms and pour my heart out but it’s just wishful thinking. I start each day the same way – getting my son ready for school. I find that taking care of him gives my life some purpose. I have a few hours to myself after that. Some days I use this time to write or meditate. On other days I just want to sleep it out to escape the loneliness.

While driving to work, I keep thinking about how will I get through another day. Some days I just keep busy and try to get on with it. On other days I find it too tough. I take breaks whenever I can, go on solo walks, talk to her in my head and just about manage to survive.

After close to ten months, I still find this life surreal. My mind keeps going over the past – happy memories that take me to another time and place only to bring me back into the darkness of the present. There is so much I have to act for others so that they don’t feel uncomfortable. They don’t want to look beyond and I couldn’t be bothered to tell them.

Suffering in silence is part of the deal that I have been handed. The world moves along and I act that I move with it but within I know the truth. I fear that no one will catch me if I fall and the thought keeps me from falling. My little boy needs me and I can’t give up. I take in this suffering, this pain for him. It’s a promise I made to her and I intend to honor that in every way possible.

After all these months it hasn’t gotten any easier. Next few months are going to be particularly hard with our anniversary coming up in Feb and then March rolls along marking a year. I don’t know what lies after that. I have no idea what to do with summer vacations. Going somewhere doesn’t bring me any peace. The moment I’m back it all goes back to where I left it. Also there’s only as many happy families and couples that I can tolerate.

The year has just begun and I can already feel it’s intensity. It’s not that I don’t try. I sincerely do but I just miss her so much. I believe in afterlife and I know that consciousness survives. I know she can hear my thoughts and I know that she’s with me always. And yet that is of little help when I come back from work and want to talk and have dinner together like we used to. I want to make holiday plans together, plan weekends but it’s all gone never to come back.

I know I crave for things I will never have but I can’t help it. I’m frail and weak. Grief has broken me from the inside. I am trying to survive with what is left of me. The pain of missing the person you have loved with all your heart cannot be described in enough words. It can only be felt by those who have loved and lost.

I’m reading, doing little things, I walk every day but none of it appears to help when I start sinking. It hurts to see her being forgotten, it hurts to know that soon it will be a year and then many more. From waking up together every day I would have gone to waking up alone for a year and many more to come.

I’m not looking for solutions for I know well that there are none. I’m trying my best to find a way to live with this sadness. I do hope that it gets better. I just don’t know how  and in what way. I yearn for my previous life and it seems to be getting further and further away from me. Maybe some day I will glimpse what lies beyond the horizon for me.