“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

Since I want to remember my daughter’s life and not her death, I try not to think about the time she was in the ICU. I try and remind myself that the last nineteen and half years were the best years of our lives and such precious memories should make us smile not cry. I also fear that if remembering her causes pain, one day we may not want to remember her.

And then a relationship so beautiful should give us the strength to face what we can’t change.

Last Tuesday, a dear, elderly relative was in the ICU and I felt I would atleast be able to go to the hospital, if not visit him inside the ICU. Just then I got a call from a blogging friend – (for the first time ever) Sangeeta Khanna. She said she knew the moment she heard my voice that I was feeling positive. She sounded so glad, her relief and the fact that she cared  was overwhelming and strengthening.  She said, “I am so happy you are going now, it’s better to confront our fears. You will be fine. Go to the ICU too. You will be fine. I know.”

Reminded me of another friends who had said ‘Just pick it up IHM!”

I did not go inside the ICU but I know I can. I have been avoiding all triggers and reading positive books and it does help… but I am also learning that I can confront some triggers.

I told her, “This week has been easy. I slept well, and one day I  woke up without this terrible weight in my chest…  I blogged. I read. I plan to learn to knit. On easy days, I make plans for what I’d do and think when the pain is intense and everything seems hopelessbecause there is no way to know how difficult tomorrow might turn out to be...

Tomorrow!? …we can’t even tell how we’d feel in an hour.” Sangeeta understood. She knew.

The not knowing is frightening.

All these days I have been wishing I could see a sign, some indication that my daughter is still there somewhere. On the 24th morning I made a cup of tea and spilled some and I picked a duster, and was wiping it. It was a pleasant October morning, and pleasant mornings had been saddening, because everything good seemed to rub in how the world goes on… but this morning I noticed the lovely morning without pain.

And then I noticed, suddenly, that I was humming. I was humming the first song from sm’s video. And I wondered if a stronger sign was needed. I remembered a beautiful email from a mother who had lost her daughter, just after losing her husband to cancer. She had said, “One day you will hear yourself laugh, you will be startled. But know that even if this moment disappeared like it never happened, there will be many more of such moments. The pain will never go, but you will smile again.” And I am sure I will find myself humming on many more such mornings.

I will also smile and remember her like I did on Saturday evening, when I told a friend about how much Tejaswee could talk even as a baby.

61 thoughts on ““The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

  1. I’m glad you both are feeling fine. It was a very sad day when we got to know about Sangeeta’s daughter and then about your’s. But I was very sure both of you would bounce back real soon.

    Bless you both. You two are the epitome of strength.


  2. Oh dear….I would just send you my hugs, if that take some pain off you.

    I especially like that line…”One day you will hear yourself laugh, you will be startled. ” It is so true…but thats how the heart learns to live through pains.


  3. IHM,

    “pleasant mornings had been saddening, because everything good seemed to rub in how the world goes on… ”

    yes i know that feeling…when the world goes on when every part of life for one has come to an achingly agonising stop…

    but yes, one day you will smiles.. i wish you have loads and loads of them smiles….



  4. It’s true, the pain will never go, but newer, beautiful things will come into your life, so that the pain becomes a smaller and smaller part of it. Life is joy, after all, and Tejaswee is in your heart, so how can there be no laughter and no songs? Big hugs, this was a lovely heartfelt post to read.


  5. Yes, you will definitely smile, sing, hum…even dance, maybe. And Tejaswee will be in your mind always, inspiring you to move on…move on with her memories and stay happy the way you were when she was physically with you. That would be the only difference, then. The physical would become the mental…but you would literally hold her hand and smack her on the back and have a happy time 🙂

    Bear hugs!!!!!!!!!


  6. Sangeeta is one of the most wonderful and courageous friend I have ever had the luck to know and so are you sweet IHM 🙂 I am glad she called you up. I sometimes think of TJ having a ball with Mithi wherever they both are.

    You will definitely smile and every smile you smile will bring a wider grin on TJ’s face.

    I really wish I had the courage to speak with you IHM, but somehow am not able to coz I still battle with the loss of a loved one.

    hugs and love


  7. I hope and pray that whenever you think of Tejaswee its with a smile on your lips and not tears in your eyes. This was a very touching post IHM.
    Reminded me of a close friend I lost very suddenly. Only way the rest of us have been able to deal with his death is by remembering the pleasant times we had together and not dwelling on the loss we face now.


  8. haanji IHM god is great , he knows it all and i am sure he is looking out for everyone and one day god willing hope that day is today when you will smile…

    and i do feel that Tejaswee as you have described was a fun loving and smiling and a good girl and i am sure she would want her mum to enjoy and live the life which she cud not .. So one day god willing aap dekhiyega hoga …

    you just need to be strong

    God bless



  9. IHM,

    Would like to tell you how helpful your posts have been for me in the last few months. Earlier this year I lost my father who succumed after suffering with cancer for 4 months. It has been very hard for me and my family. Not that our grief is in anyway comparable to your grief but just reading about how you have been coping with your loss has helped me a lot. It is also helping me to assist my mom in dealing with her grief which is different from my sister and mine.

    Thank you a lot for all your posts and hope you get the strength you need to handle this.


  10. Like one really old lady said – The only thing I’ve learnt in life, is that life goes on. Its does. Flowers bloom from ashes. You’ll smile again. And find peace too.


  11. I was just thinking this week that it was good to see your posts on feminist type stuff. And while her loss will not be forgotten in any way, it is good to get some momentum, some ammunition to help confront those triggers, like you have recognized. All I know is that you have and are helping so many people by sharing your thoughts on all subjects, including grief. And hope that the sharing helps you the most, first.



  12. I have been reading each one of your posts and there is a feeling within very similar to what your friend felt. It makes me happy and assured about you my dear IHM… I am just so glad that you are giving yourself time and taking such wonderful efforts to be positive.. Teju is gonna be real proud of you from wherever she is watching u all 🙂



  13. hats off to you IHM
    reading about how you are dealing with this crisis gives all of us immense strength.
    as the saying goes — life goes on only memories remains.
    yes you will smile once again, will start socializing, but her memories will always remain within you
    i know it is easy for us to advice and give lip service but I always think that the person whom we have lost would have never liked his/her loved ones to cry. then why cry when he/she is not there. ( it is easier said than done– i know how painful it is to miss some one, to know that the person will not come running to you or hug you.)
    i always tell my mother that my dad never liked to see tears in her eyes when he was alive, he always wanted to see my mother properly dressed up then why should she cry now .Won’t his soul get restless up there?
    and we believe in Aatma then do we want ” ki unki aatma bhatake”
    the one who has gone will find peace only if his/her loved ones are happy and coping well with the situation.


  14. Brought tears to my eyes again… the loss of a ‘mother’ is the biggest loss ever. We realise how precious every moment is, and how some of us waste it in cribbing about material things that we do not possess… and all the while, what really matters is just us being around with each other…. God bless your family, IHM. You remain an inspiration to entire blogworld!


  15. I surely respectd you a lot all this time, but now I have found a new-found respect to your positive attitude. Only exceptional people like you can go through/ come out of this with such a positive and real attitude. I am so proud to even know of you.
    Do take care,
    aparna k


  16. Hi IHM

    This is the first time I am commenting on this blog even though I have been reading it for sometime now. Tejaswee was so full of life and energy. It is really heartening to know that you are keeping her memories alive instead of trying to push them away. That is very brave of you. May God be with you and your family always. Hugs


  17. awww..that picture of baby Tejaswee. what a vibrant life she lived..bring on that smile IHM. it suits you. Hey but can’t beat Tejaswee’s wide brillaint laugh:)

    A friend of mine who lost her dad to cancer asked for signs that her dad is happy. she told me many times she saw a white bird , a single one flying by her car and felt a strong strong presence of her dad.

    God bles you dear IHM


  18. I come here everyday and think of giving you words of encouragement and fall short of words when I think of your loss. But this post gives me hope & joy. The human spirit does eventually look for peace, happiness in the midst of sorrow. She will truly be missed and the sorrow is never forgotten but like you said the happy memories are so much more valuable to retain. Am truly happy to see you starting to smile. Hugs!


  19. 🙂 🙂 You are thiiiiiis inspiring, IHM! And lovely photograph of Tejaswee….

    Thanks for the link to Sangeeta Khanna’s blog, am feeling strong to see what women of courage and valor we have around us….


  20. Hey IHM, just wanted to say knitting is a great idea. I learnt in school and recently took it up again. You can just google ‘how to knit’ and watch youtube videos to get started… that’s what got me (re)started. It’s a very simple and calming activity and it’s nice to have something you can create and gift at the end. In many places, there are knitting clubs where people who like to knit meet up say once a month for a chat, not sure this exists in Delhi but you could start one… Knitters are generally nice people 🙂


  21. Hi IHM,
    Its been a long time since I last posted on your blog but I have read all your posts.A recent death in the family ,the grief and coping with grief made my thoughts drift towards you every now and then. Feels nice to hear about the song on your lips and I can almost ‘see ‘the smile…
    Time is the biggest healer they say.. Take care.


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  23. Now you will start remembering how Tejaswee smiled, did mischief, played with her brother and start smiling with your family in a positive mood, IHM.

    The picture of Tejaswee seriously ‘writing’ in her desk is beautiful.

    You are amazing…you express yourself so well.

    Take care, IHM.


  24. The sign you want to see, that she is still somewhere, with you…is inside you…as she is PART of you , yourself. The bond is so strong between mother and child, mother and daughter…that it cannot be broken by death. She was flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood. Be careful about going to ICU’s so soon . I would not recommend that, even though I did go to the beach 3 weeks after her funeral, the same place I was when we got the phone call about her ( my daughter’s ) death. I think your family would be more than fine with you calling the person there, or sending your love.
    Be gentle with yourself, go easy on your heart.
    God bless, Gina


  25. IHM… I was away from blogworld for a few months and just started getting back. Didn’t know about Tejaswee and I just want you to know that my prayers are with you.


  26. I’m so so glad that I read this post, IHM. Kudos to you! Its really heartening to see you coping up so well. You truly are an epitome of strength like a commenter above said.



  27. It feels inadequate to say anything sometimes, but I know I too was startled when one day I hummed, and smiled. But it took a very long time.

    Hugs to you IHM. You will smile, and remember and continue to smile. You cannot not. You are that very positive and proactive person. Perhaps the only one I know who can and will.

    God Bless.


  28. For a long time, I was grieving a death of a relationship. That broke me. Brought me down to my knees. I remember the nights I used to suddenly wake up and realise what had happened. The love of my life didnt want me anymore. He found and married someone else, better than me. That killed me every minute, made me miserable. I used to go to my mother’s room and wake her up and cry. She made me sleep next to her, telling me, all will be okay. And I would find a someone better. I slept next to her holding her hand. I have mourned and mourned. I had stopped eating, going out, talking. My mother brought me out of the heartbreak.

    Today my mother is no more. She died of Cancer this year, it still sounds so strange when I say it. I miss her. Its so difficult to live with out her. Get up every morning knowing I wont see her. Sleeping knowing that she wont be there ever. But I do dream of her, where she asks me why am I crying?

    Her illness has been a long one, where she fought to be alive. She was sick for 3 yrs. In the end of her illness, she came out of ICU after 17 days of being unconscious, after the doctors, told us, they could do no more, the cancer was spread in her brain and they wouldnt know if she could wake up from ICU. And one day, she woke up. She was in the ICU for 7 days more. And came home on the 8th day. And died in her home on the 12th day.

    She used to tell me again and again, ‘I want to live’….
    And I could not save her.

    I hope we are on our way healing our broken hearts and lives…




    • Sorry for your loss, Childwoman. Hope you smile some soon. If we could all save ourselves even, then a ton of things would be different. It was not in your capacity to save her, so please don’t beat yourself up for that!


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  33. Hello Aunty, this is one of Tejaswee di’s school juniors. Not that I knew her personally, she was the head girl when I was in school.
    I came across the letter she had written to her future daughter, just as I was opening old school files and searching for treasured letters from dad. I then through the internet looked for your blog. I am glad that I could find it.
    The pain and loss that you and your family is going through is the same that I am. I lost my father when I was 10, to an air crash. He was a pilot in the Indian Army.
    I chose to comment on this particular article as I strongly feel that happy memories are whatwe always should recall. Why think of those bad times? I never saw my dad’s deadbody. Mom and I didn’t want to. We have his smiling face in our hearts and we wish to remember him just that way.
    It is heartening to read the last few lines of your story, because with every happy memory of our loved ones comes a smile on our face 🙂
    Prajakta Pande.


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