I wish I could believe…

I went through a strong phase and thought I had managed to will myself to continue to feel strong. Mornings began without the painful weight in the chest and I walked and ate with care and felt stronger and at times I wondered – despite her photographs all around, if Tejaswee was a dream. Because if she wasn’t a dream how could she just not be there anymore. Death is very difficult to understand. One minute she was the center of our existence, the next minute we felt like our heads were being banged against the sides of a box we were locked in.

And we are still breathing.

After mid-November I was able to visit a relative in a hospital, get a haircut and buy a lipstick, watch ‘Guzarish‘ – so although there was no happiness, it seemed one was getting stronger. It was a glimpse of what future was going to be like. This was much more than I had expected and I was grateful for every morning that began without the painful, unbearable heaviness.

And then on the 27th night, the heaviness began again.  No thoughts, no memories just the same terrible heaviness – without any warning. 28th was my husband’s birthday. We ordered breakfast when some close relatives visited and the morning passed. In the evening my sis in law suggested we visit them in the same complex, some other relatives would be there too, and if it becomes too much, she said, we could always go back home. But I took pictures. A cake was cut and the evening was not as difficult as I had feared.

But that was the end of the strong phase. There is no escaping grief. Writing about strongly felt issues helps. Reading helps. Brisk walking helps. Making plans helps. Not looking at any photographs that have not been seen for a while helped. Reading Beyond Tears: Living After Losing A Child‘ helped. Communicating and connecting helped tremendously too. But these didn’t stop the crushing heaviness from emerging again. I was wrong in thinking this positive phase had something to do with my trying so hard. The brief relief was just a part of the roller coaster ride that grief is. There were days  and even weeks of respite.  I had started hoping and even wondering if  maybe the human mind could only take this much pain and the comfort that numbness brings was inevitable.

They say, ‘The best healers in the world are God and Time.’ Time does seem to be helping. The pain today is not the same as on the 29th Aug, the day the shock started wearing off for me. A mother on ‘Compassionate Friends‘ was right when she said, ‘It does get better.’ I believe that, and would like to say the same to Gina who lost her 21 year old beautiful daughter Sarah on July 12th.

Someone I met for not more than an hour in Sikkim said mothers have great emotional strength and spoke of how Indira Gandhi handled her son’s death. I wanted to hear what he had to say, words help, so I did not argue that Alexander Onassis’s mother was a woman too. He spoke of how in Mahabharata, when Arjuna died and reached heaven, he ran and ran and ran to meet his 18 year old, brave son Abhimanyu. Finally he spotted him, but Abhimanyu did not respond with the same enthusiasm. He said we humans are entangled in this mamta, maya and moh but souls are free of it and so while we were grieving here, our daughter was free and at peace. The soul feels no pain.


I wish I could believe this. I wish I could believe that she still exists, and exists somewhere much better. And then I hope she is glad to be there, because  I can’t forget that all her life she said she wanted to live a long, long life.


83 thoughts on “I wish I could believe…

  1. Hi IHM, I could relate to the beginning of this article. I too wonder about the same…the what and why of life and death. And life is difficult with and without the answers, both ways.

    I have a belief in the existence of souls. Therefore I believe that your daughter is there. And, she is happy because it is also said that souls feel much more peaceful and lighter after the death.

    I also strongly believe that she has taken with her all the good values that you gave to her, she grasped in her life. 🙂


    • I realise what they mean by ‘acceptance’ N. We can only accept what we understand. No matter how hard we try it is still difficult to see that she is gone forever and we are never, ever going to be seeing her again.

      I really hope souls exists and that she is there somewhere… and she is happy.


      • IHM, she is there. And having had you, for however brief in relative time, she is blessed, as are you, for the grace of her presence in your life. And though it seems strange that I should say this, your grief is a blessing too. For you feel. And that will always keep her close.

        When my father in law passed away, many years ago, I was at the BEd college where I had enrolled, and the kids were in school, and my husband was in Kerala to be with him… I could not believe it happened, and I burst into tears when I was asked to come into the Principal’s office to receive the news. She was a nun, who said that I should be glad for the tears, and so would his soul, for they mean love. Only where there is love, would there be grief, and I have taken much heart from that. Through the darkest days, when grief overwhelms, I let it, and then take heart, that it has its place and I am better knowing, loving, and being able to let go.

        Hugs, IHM, and loads of love. God Bless.


  2. Ohhh IHM. I wish I could come down there n give u a hug.. Just sit next to you guys. I hope it gets better. Those are beautiful pics of her. Virtual Huggss for now..

    Me – Thank You Shruti, I really could do with some hugs today!!


  3. I am sure she is around somewhere looking out for you and your family. It is not fair that she was snatched away so fast from you but her wit, her laughter, her presence will always remind you of the amazing person she was….a reflection of you….

    Me – Sometimes I tell myself, she moved from this world into our hearts, where is safer – from here she can never be taken away.


  4. Hugs IHM.
    My aunt once told me that the souls of our loved ones watch over us all the time. And when we feel sad they feel distressed too. And when we feel happy they feel happy too !

    Me – I have heard this too Ruchira! I always told my kids (and once blogged about it too) that as a mother I expected my kids to cope with my death with continuing to lead full, happy lives. I just never thought of this…


  5. At a loss for words , IHM… this is just cruel… children are not supposed to be snatched from their parents… just not. Tight hugs to you…

    Me – And if they are snatched then shouldn’t nature have ensured that the parents are given the ability to cope with the pain?


  6. Have faith in yourself, you have the strength and will definitely learn to live with your loss. The other beliefs …. well we all need beliefs to live, don’t we? I have the faith – but still wonder …….

    Me – I do wish to have faith Ritu. Believing her soul exists makes the loss easier to bear. And right now nothing seems as important.


  7. we are there for you just as you are for us. strong, weak, sad or pulling on, you hang in there, time will heal. hugs and wishes..
    felt good reading those last few posts, got a glimpse of the IHM i have known for so long. but in these memoirs and pretty pictures evolves a more poignant, sensitive you. I may not always comment, but i read you and get strength from you. thanks


  8. The soul truly feels no pain. I wish there were a benchmark/rule of thumb to verify this. You’re really strong IHM. It’s very hard to be in your shoes right now. I wish we could wave a magic wand and take your pain away, but in the end it’s going to be your own struggle that’s going to get you back to sanity.


  9. IHM, I don’t comment here often. But just wanted to let you know that like so many other readers, I am in awe of you. Please know that you are doing your best to be as objective as you can, to understand and accept this grief. Here’s wishing that you find answers to your questions sooner than later.

    Me – Thank You Suman… but I fear some questions have no answers.


  10. My thoughts are wth you, IHM. I don’t know what else to say – my views on whether souls exist and where they go are nebulous, but instinctively, I do believe Tejaswee is around, and happy.

    Me – I fear there are some questions we will never have the answers for Apu…


  11. 😦 If reading this is so heart wrenching for me, I can’t even begin to imagine how you would be feeling.

    Me – I can’t understand it either Rakesh, sometimes it seems so unreal… but I do realise that being able to write about it helps.


  12. Hugs IHM…I was thinking of you when I saw an oprah show a few days back ..the mother had lost her 18-year old son ….she said something like the overwhelming feeling of grief comes and goes in waves…..I wondered then how it must be for you.. and hoped that you find all the strength needed to cope…

    me – When I first read the description ‘the overwhelming feeling of grief comes and goes in waves’ first I couldn’t understand what that meant, but that is exactly what it feels like, grief is like waves, overwhelming and beyond control. There are lows and there is some respite, then again another wave… but each time the period of respite gets longer. It helps to remind oneself of that.


  13. She has to be happy – just look at those pictures, it’s not of a soul who could be anything but happy. The Brian Weiss books say that clusters of souls stay together, bound by love. So maybe that too, in a different shape and form.

    I think I believe in reincarnation. And it is soothing to know that souls of those we loved revolve around. Hugs!

    Me – I have read Brian Weiss and the books do give hope Sangitha. I want to believe everything he says.


  14. Dear IHM,

    I came across your blog recently. I wanted to write to you earlier but couldnt muster the courage to say anything only because your previous posts did show that you were emerging stronger from grief . But after reading your post today, I just couldnt stop from writing to you.

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Though it seems that with time pain eases, it is a hard truth that pain knows no time. But I strongly believe in God and therefore can tell you that God never gives his children sorrows more than what they can bear. Although, Yours is an irrepairabe loss, I believe it was God’s higher plan for you, your husband and son. Tejaswee is ( i purposely use IS as opposed to WAS) such a wonderful human being that he needed her more than you did. Tejaswee still exists. But she exists somewhere better where only love and peace prevails.You will learn to live with her memories. It is easier said than done, but please please take it easy. Tejaswee is looking down at all three of you and that is why please please stay strong for her. she is the one who is giving you strenght to write this post.

    You have touched so many hearts with your wonderful writing and warmth.

    I pray to God to give you, your husband and Son all the strength in the world to move on.

    Lots of Love, Respect and Regards
    Always Happy

    p.s Have you listened to Eric Capton’s ‘tears in heaven’ song? The song will give answers to some of your questions.


    • I wanted to chime in too.
      But “Always Happy” already stated exactly what I wanted to write.

      Be brave, and patient.
      The wounds will heal.
      She is doing fine, up there, in a place far far better than the place we are living in.
      The pictures are charming and the face so familiar that I feel I have known her all my life.

      God be with you and your family in this hour of grief.
      Keep writing. It will help you overcome your grief.

      G Vishwanath


  15. Hugs IHM !!
    I wish we had all the answers and had all the strength needed and i just want to believe that our loved ones are happy and peaceful there .
    She is looking so cute in these pics ..

    Me – I want to believe that too Sangeeta… I am somehow sure she is fine…


    • I loved what Always Happy said . She IS there and she is the one who gives you strength ……. Take what she is offering you this way . I am believing it right now really and remembering all the things i used to talk with Mithi ….. Mamma will always be strong.


  16. Wish there was something that could be done or said to make you feel a LOT lot better…but well, am at a complete loss.

    Hugs, IHM. Loads of hugs!


  17. Hugs IHM.

    Her soul must be around,IHM, and I am sure she is happy where she is. Her pictures are so vibrant, so full of life. It is heart-wrenching to just read this, IHM, so I can’t even begin to understand how you must be feeling.


  18. Beautiful pictures. She’s gorgeous.

    It is a roller-coaster IHM…just that the troughs get further and further apart with time, but they’re always there. We can just wait for the next rise back up above the surface that gets higher and higher, and breathe through the pain somehow. Hugs, dear.

    My memories have also assumed a dream-like quality…it is really very difficult to deal with sudden total loss. Here one minute, gone the next, what does it mean? Why were they here if they were meant to go early…did we have enough time with them to achieve whatever we came to this world with them for?

    I guess all these souls up there are more relaxed because they know all the answers to these questions hopefully…not knowing makes grief much harder. If only we knew for certain. 😦

    I have felt the soul that was my son watching over us, you know. After that one horrible time when our worst fears came true…we’ve been brought to the edge of other crises many times, but were always pulled back, always. Either he’s a part of us (like that article about the dancer I’d sent you), or he’s watching us or he’s demanded that God keep an eye on us 🙂

    I saw a girl just like Tejaswee last week…and heard her name in a song. She’s still around…


  19. I wish death was a little more clear to us. Death is something that ends our activity in this world and what remains is our good deeds towards ourselves and others.

    Wishing for a happy and stable life is something that can be easily achived if we think about this life as a station that we will leave sooner or later, if we are leaving this world, why not be good to everyone no matter what they did ?

    At the end there’s a god with great justice to judge all human beings who will try to make your life miserable, why bother thinking about those type of people when we can ignore them and live a happy life no matter what happens to us.

    I wish we knew how to make people think about this life as a passage to heaven or hell. Be respectful to your mom and dad, be good to others, dont lie, dont steal, dont attack anyone verbally or physically, share your blessings with others, like giving money to poor people.

    I think this life is great and wonderful when we can manage to live it the right way.

    Little kittens are great pets to have, I wish i had one 🙂

    Thanks for sharing


  20. However much we say that time shall heel the wounds of the past,there’s always a time when all of the past comes back to us in the form of memories. Tejaswee Rao shall and will always remain a component of your life and so shall she be in ours,for the wonderful person that she was and many more unexplainable things.

    She is smiling at all of us,even though we cant see her in real.. 🙂



  21. The strangest thing really is that someone can exist and then be gone. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like some cruel joke, an impossible feat to make someone vanish. What has existed, always exists. So where are they? I don’t know. The death of my best friend is like a black hole in my universe. It is emptiness in the places that used to be full of love and life and all the rest of life and joy is being sucked into it and disappearing.


  22. It takes a lot of courage to write about your pain. Like Smitha said it’s heart wrenching even to read about what you are going through.

    All I can say is , Tejaswee is a gorgeous girl and she will live in our memories forever.


  23. Hugs!!
    I have seen my mother go through this when we lost our 21 year old sister and I have also seen her getting stronger with time. It will take time, lots of it, you will go through phases of deep despair and something that resembles normalcy at first, and slowly, slowly, life gets regular, though never as normal as it was. But, at the end of the tunnel, there definitely will be light and beyond grief, you will think of the beautiful moments you have had with her and be thankful for the time you had with her.

    It will take time, IHM and you will be there. Meanwhile all of us are here for you with our hugs and prayers


  24. Oh IHM, wish I could just reach out and give you a tight hug from through the monitor…. I dont even know what to say…

    lots of hugs n love


  25. Hugs IHM! Reading your recent posts, i felt glad that you’ve been able to cope nicely. But this post… i feel so strongly for you. I have known this feeling ..‘the overwhelming feeling of grief comes and goes in waves’ even after 10 years of my mom’s death. Though I have never been able to analyse or articulate it as you’ve done. Everything seems so fine one moment and at others there is huge heaviness in the heart as you say. And we have tried to believe too that she’s amongst us and watching over us.
    Thanks for writing this IHM. I feel a connect ..to your pain..and to my own. Hugs again!!God bless.


  26. How can she not be there, IHM? She is, and she will be. Lovely pictures of Tejaswee, as ever!! .

    Tejaswee, whose radiance was limited to a small circle of people, is now almost a youth icon, IHM. Her energy and her warmth have spread and transformed to a whole new level.

    Grief is indeed a blessing, IHM. What better way to express love in a time like this? Thank God for the heaviness and for the sudden surge of pain and for the inability to control. It’s all in there because we are loved and we do love…Love and hugs to you. And my belated bday wishes to your husband.


  27. I go read Teju’s blog even now though I hv read almost all posts more than once IHM. She is such a lively soul that she lives thru her writings and pics.
    I know such days do come and are hard to pass, all I cn do is pass on loads of hugs to u from here IHM.


  28. Dearest IHM.You are a woman with exceptional strength. I know whatever I say wont lessen your pain. But you have tried to reach out to others in your time of grief. That takes a lot of courage. May God give you a nd your family the strength to bear this loss.


  29. “You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will distress you, from those who received the Book before you, and from those who worship many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil-then that will be the determining factor in everything”

    “Everyone shall taste death. And only on the day of resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to paradise, this person is indeed successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception:”

    May God help you get through these difficult times and guide you.


  30. Hi IHM, long time reader, first time commenting here. Tejaswee is so beautiful and warm. You are a remarkable woman, hope you find the strength and answers you are looking for. She is and will always be with you.


  31. Dear IHM,

    I just recently stumbled across your blog and have been a casual visitor since. When I first read your blog today, I didn’t realize who Tejaswee is. And then I went to her blog, and I read her letter to her future daughter. I have been weeping since. Your daughter is beautiful, and so full of life. I could hear her voice in that letter. I just want you to know that your daughter is still very much here, among us, impacting our lives today – today she impacted a complete stranger’s life, my life. I love her enthusiasm, her honesty, and her compassion. It moved me beyond words. In your grief, remember this – she is still spreading her positive energy.


  32. My dear IHM
    I am so, so sorry for the pain.
    Your beautiful daughter lives on in you and everyone who has ever loved her. I believe that if energy cannot be created or destroyed (as in Physics theory) then the spirit of the people we love and lose cannot be destroyed. They are a part of the greater universe forever. They live on forever – we just cannot see them – just as we cannot see other forms of energy – only its effects on other objects.
    I wish you strength and peace.


  33. Dear IHM,
    I came across your blog once or twice and read an post about Tejaswee,but then I didnt realize that she is your daughter.
    I know how a mother feels when she looses her daughter,I have seen it with my eyes.
    But their is saying in telugu ‘People who die early,becomes stars and watch us all the time’.
    So I believe your daughter wants to see you happy.So take care of yourself
    Lots of hugs


  34. Hello IHM,
    your blog your thoughts all of that reveal your boldness. It is sometimes that some questions have no answers and that hurts to the core leaves you with tears and a broken heart. It is just sarcastic how we prepare our kids to face life on their own and we never know what is coming. As they say life is full of surprises good and bad. I only hope and wish that God gives your family the best of vigor to overcome this. Me thinks you are doing the best you can and that is the only way out.


  35. Hi IHM I am not going to say i understand what you mean, but as you say god and time will heal I am sure it will, God is there and i pray he gives you the strength to be strong , not jsut for yourself but for the rest of the family too..

    And Time will tooo… I am sure Tejaswee is up there somewhere looking upon you with those lovely happy eyes.

    God bless everyone IHM
    take care of yourself …


  36. The ability of time to heal is wonderful, just like phyical wounds pain only initially then what is left is just a scar, a memory, a proof that it once existed, it stops to pain. Same is with physological wounds they eventually stops paining..


  37. Much love to you, IHM, for your grace in sharing your beautiful daughter’s life with all of us here. She is mourned by so many of us who never knew her- God only knows what those who knew her are going through. And for you and your family, of whom she was an integral part- your sorrow is something I can only imagine. I wish I could find words to comfort you, but they all seem banal. You are thought of often, with sincere prayers that you and your family
    find the strength to cope with each day as it comes. Hugs and more hugs. You remain an inspiration to so many.


  38. Hugs IHM! I saw a movie yesterday where one has forgotten to smile following the death of a close one and a friend mentions that when they the ones who have left us watch out for us from up there, they want to see us smile!


  39. Oh IHM, I can’t imagine how heavy a burden this grief you carry must be. There can’t ever be a way of easing it, but perhaps a coping mechanism might be to take your life not one day at a time, but ten minutes at a time. Think of what you’re going to do in the very, very short term and get through those minutes. It won’t make your grief go away but it might help you get through some very long days. And please know that you have many, many wellwishers throughout the world, both in cyberspace and in your immediate neigbourhood. Take care.


  40. Dear IHM-
    I am so very sorry for your loss. I, too, have felt it would be a lot easier to deal with the loss of loved ones if only I could believe in souls or an after-life. You are a very strong lady, and I’m sure your journey, as you learn to live with and make peace with your loss, will bring to you all the answers you are looking for.
    Much love,


  41. hi.. first time i’m commenting here. i recently came across your blog n read most of the contents.

    i live on the other side of the fence, so to say (ie i’m a doctor, work mostly in ICU’s)…
    many a times we see such medical complications in our ICU and fail to realise the true depth/magnitude of the event in the lives of those who are affected. I’m not saying that we take it casually, but handling the amount of patients that we do in a Govt setup, we dont get much time to spend with the relatives, to empathise with them.. through your blog, i realised how deeply it affects…
    thank you for sharing your thoughts n emotions.. i guess it helps not only you, but all the readers as well…


  42. Pingback: I wish I could believe… | Coping with Grief and Loss

  43. IHM… hugs, and more hugs and even more hugs.. its so funny.. that very often, i end up thinking of TJ, and really.. m lost for words entirely.. yesterday, it was that blog post of hers.. today, it was that small video.. yes, almost every single day.. i wish there was SOMETHING we could do.. anything at all… am so… lost for words..


  44. i never new her but i still have the pain when i recall everythign she and your family went through, I can only begin to imagine how you feel.
    I pary no parents have to go through what you have been through…lots of hugs


  45. Hi IHM. I agree with almost everything being said here. Time will heal you. And until then the road is tough and hard to bear.

    I just saw a program about a woman who met with a fatal accident with one of her friends. She was also dead – as in her heart had stopped but she came back from beyond. Her friend however did not make it. What she narrated might help you think of Tejaswee’s current abode in a better way. She said that this interim place was very peaceful and calm and quiet. Her friend was with her and holding her hand and they had no recollection of their pain and discomfort from the accident or any other incidences prior. All they could feel was comfort and warmth. And she could see her friend in peace and that she was happy.

    This woman met her friends mother who was grieving over her lost daughter and found immense solace in this experience.

    I know that Tejaswee is in a similar place, happy and content and hoping her family are doing well.

    Hang in there, we all love you and your family and wish we could send millions of hugs your way when you need it most.


  46. Dear IHM,

    Came across these lovely words, and thought instantly of sharing them with you.

    There will be storms
    And with each tempest,
    you will seem to stand alone
    against cruel winds;
    but with time
    the rage and fury shall subside

    And when the sky clears,
    you will find yourself
    clinging to someone
    you would have never known
    but for storms.

    With you in your grief.


  47. I lost my son Danny on July 1, 2008 to an overdose. He was 22. In dedication to him I formed The Prayer Registry for parents who have lost children.

    Please see my website http://www.sheriperl.com and read about The Prayer Registry. This free website service is dedicated to all of the families who have lost children, whatever age that child was when they passed. This site registers the anniversary day of our children’s crossing. The members of this online community,the Prayer Team, have the opportunity to honor their child’s legacy, connect with other bereaved parents, and participate in world-wide group prayer for every registered loved one on the anniversary day of their passing.

    Please email Sheri at theprayerregistry@gmail.com to register your loved one on The Prayer Registry. I need only your child’s full name along with the date that he or she passed to insure that your child receives prayer every year going forward on the anniversary day of his or her passing.


      • You’re welcome. I wish more people would register their children for prayer. It has helped all of us who are members of the Prayer Team. There is no fee and all that I need is the full name and passing date of a child to publish their name on their passing date, on The Prayer Registry Calendars. The Prayer Team, (all of us parents) link up in prayer for each child on the anniversary day of their passing. I know that prayer is a good thing and the families feel the benefit. Some of our kids, especially Danny, have come through mediums to say that the prayers lift them and help to move them forward. As parents, it’s the least we can do. If anyone should read this and want to register their loved one with The Prayer Registry simply contact me at: theprayerregistry@gmail.com.


  48. Hi IHM, i dont know if i would have words to share your grief, but definitely i admire you for your courage. Child is a part of you and i know of mothers who cry when the cord is cut during child birth… because that separates them….
    My husband’s maternal uncle passed away sometime back, he was not very old kids still in college. Though it was because of the prologed illness it still was a difficult time for his mother for whom the death of the eldest son was very life changing.
    You are right when you say mothers have stength and courage and belief that things will be right and have to be right. BEcause i think its their will power to shelter their family that keeps them going. For Naani it wasnt the first time she was facing this, mother of 4 she had already lost her young daughter in an accident who was sruvived by her only girl child…
    it was Naani’s bday yesterday and after ages i heard her smiling ( on phone)…. She treated everybody and went to her husband’s(alzheimer’s patient) fav chinese joint as she wanted her daughter ( my MIL) to feel nice….
    she has immense strength & i dont think anybody in this world can match that but another mother who has suffered this.
    I admire you, i wish the best of the things for you and your family.


  49. My dearest IHM,

    I want you to know that Tejaswee does exist..she’s there in your heart and all our hearts. Also, it is my belief that only a strong person feels the grief and expresses it, the tears that u shed and the heaviness in your heart show that you are not running away from dealing with pain. My birthday was on the 28th too..belated birthday wishes to uncle. loadsa love n hugs


  50. Dear IHM,

    I am sorry to hear about your loss. I am a mother too and can very well understand your despair and helplessness. I am still crying after reading your post.

    Sorry, I am at loss of words…


  51. Pingback: Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’. « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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