Grieving is hard, losing your loved one is difficult, it is painful to think about the moment you get the news that the person you loved is no longer there. The time that you let them go away was the day you will never ever forget in your life. I will not say you should let them go forever because you cannot, you are a part of them and they are a part of you. They will always be guiding and looking after you and you need to fondly remember them and get inspired with how they were.
I was not taught to grieve, neither my parents introduced this to us while we were kids. We never had a conversation on what if “I will die tomorrow”. As simple as it sounds that every person born on this planet has to go away, we don’t have these important conversations as kids and as adults. This does not mean that you need to have a detailed conversation every other month but introducing the idea of “Grief” which could be experienced anytime should be a part of growing.
I am sure most of us haven’t spoken about this at our homes but I learned 5 Grief lessons after I bid my “Papa” goodbye on 17th January 2017. This post is for people who have never experienced loss and also for folks who have. The first lesson that I learned was: –
Try talking about people who have left you. Even if they are not around physically, it is nice to get a smile on our faces as we remember their dialogues or their favorites. I know that can get a lot of memories and many people are not comfortable with it. But trust me, it helps, it helps to stay connected, to remind ourselves about their smallest habits and laugh at their jokes. We might need to be very strong while speaking about it, but if we don’t, we will stop mentioning them in months and then years. I would highly encourage them to initiate conversations about them.
The second one is let yourself feel what you feel. Do not compress your emotions. Each person has different relationship, and you know yours with the person whom you are never going to meet. If you miss them and you want to cry out loud, please do because you miss them and it is okay to miss your favorites. They have always had a special place in your life, and no one else can fill that void. If you want to write to them go ahead. Do what connects you to them.
For me one of my biggest ways that I could keep myself together during the month of January 2017 was by writing. I wrote every day, how I felt, about my experience going to the Ghat and performing the last rites, I wrote letters to Popsy from myself and one from the family, about how I missed him and still do, how I thought it was too early for him to leave us, about how will HOME be home without him, on who would ask me to write his messages and play badminton with. I would write about everything and I would just do it for myself. Writing could not be your way, but try expressing in any form that you can, because it helps a lot.
Everyone has a lot of questions during these times, why him, why now, how did it happen, all of us go through the process of DABDA(Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance), the different stages of grief. I had them too but there are no correct answers, in fact for some situations there are no answers at all. Losing my dad suddenly at 52 without any medical illness and chilling with him the previous day is as difficult as someone losing their dad because of a disease when they are 75. During this time, only one thing will make you feel better, spiritual talks. I did not get answers to my questions from my talks but it eased me out. I would tell myself on what happened could have been way worse and started becoming thankful that it didn’t. For example, Papa did not suffer in the hospital for days, it was a cardiopulmonary arrest for him. I would not say it helps completely, it just distracts you from your questions which has no answers and I started going towards the last phase acceptance. Spiritual talks are not a one- time conversation but a constant discussion that gives a different meaning to relationships and life.
The last is we need to understand that life is uncertain, and how my dad left all of us, I could leave too. Just the realization of life being very uncertain can change the way we see life. This doesn’t mean you need to feel sad and take short term decisions, it only means that you cannot control your life all the time and you need to realize it, which a lot of us forget in our everyday busy lives.
I never thought I will be writing about grief 5 years back, but here I am trying to share my experiences and lessons. You can never be prepared for it and you will experience it when it happens to you. You might not be able to relate to this post while some of you might be, but remember grieving is a dangerous discussion and its worth it.
We are surrounded by so many people in our lives. With some, we have lasting relationships while some come and go from our lives very quickly. Each person is different but there are qualities of each one that we can pick and add in our day to day activities. We take the opportunity to tell some people how they inspire us and to the others, it is too late by the time we can tell them because they are no longer around us.
I want to introduce you all to my Chote Dadaji. Chote Dadaji was super jolly and both my grandad’s have different personalities. Chote Dadaji loved to know what each kid was studying, in which field they were working, loved learning new things and trying new experiences. He was very particular about his timings, be it food, exercise or a walk, he was very disciplined. He would take care of his diet since the early days and always follow his restricted diet. Chote Dadaji loved helping people and did a lot of charity work. He would wait for us when we visited Delhi and ask us on how everyone was doing. He cared, loved and with his jubilant aura, he would interact with everyone with a smile on his face and loved playing Ludo. He and my grandad visited the UK before a few years and they had a splendid time. It was always fun to see them tease each other for their smallest habits. They would care about each other like brothers do and when Chote Dadaji wasn’t well, Dadaji immediately knew something was wrong even he wasn’t doing well. After suffering for a few days, he left us on 31st December 2019. We have his learnings and blessings in each step of our journey and his void will never be replaced.
I have been so blessed to have stayed with my grandparents for the longest time. There were times when we got to stay with all three grandparents for months. All kids had to juggle between different rooms to sleep because each one of them would have their own individual rooms. Our grandparents have very interesting preferences and choices in different things even if they were from the same generation. They followed their own routine and eating habits.
Grandparents in the house meant a different kind of order with food, half an hour of Bhajan every evening and if we weren’t seen for an hour or more, they were curious to know where we were. It is super fun to teach grandparents new technologies on their digital phones. Each of my grandparents uses their own WhatsApp and love to stay connected with family members. They have changed so much with time and trying to adapt to new ways. A lot of times, I am guilty of expecting them to change the way they think completely like many of us do, and I can’t even imagine myself in their era. There is so much that can be learned from our grandparents and growing up listening to their experiences, stories come to a few fortunate ones. I consider myself super lucky to be one of them, growing up with both maternal and paternal grandparents.
This past month has been something that we haven’t seen EVER in our lives. The whole world is in lockdown and all of us wonder how will things be after this is OVER, whenever it is. Will we be comfortable to go out to restaurants where there are hundreds of people around us, will we be ready to explore the world again? Many of us might be fearless and will not mind carrying on with our lives with the normal activities that we used to before the pandemic started but for most of us, the fear of being in the public has already crept in.
COVID-19 has made us realize once again that we do not have control over a lot of things in our lives. I have experienced a similar feeling a few times in my life. Growing up in Nepal, when I was a kid, there were a lot of curfews and riots. The nation was closed for weeks and sometimes we would come home walking in the middle of the day. I still remember weeks of lockdown, when the Royal Massacre on 1st June 2001 occurred, I was woken up when my grandad called everyone in the living room and told us the sad news which he got to know from the milkman who would deliver milk in our house every morning. At first, he thought this must be a rumor, but then after seeing the news, it was confirmed.
The second one was when Nepal experienced the earthquake on 25th April 2015. I can’t and will never forget this day. Me and Nimesh were going to the differently able center to give kids their wishes that they had asked for, and we felt that the tire of his bike was punctured. Little did we know that the earth was shaking and in no minute big buildings in front of us started falling down. I wanted to get back home and prayed that everyone I knew was doing fine. The aftershock still haunts some of us. After experiencing these I know that this too shall pass.
I heard a very interesting saying by one of my best friends, he mentioned that there are three ways that devastation can happen, one is a natural calamity, it could be local or in a global scale, the second is the virus in thinking, an example to this would be Hitler’s thinking and the last one is a fast-spreading disease. The most uncontrollable seems the natural calamity and the least is the virus in our thoughts. What will be your thoughts on this?
The whole scenario is scary, very scary as the cases are increasing day by day, but at the same time there are some positives to this, people have started to connect to the small things in life and started exploring their inner self. It is an indication from our Mother Earth and could be a warning for the future as we do not respect and take care of the planet, we are living in.