Six years. 

Sharing this post from the child loss support group, In our hearts forever.

***
How far have I come? Sharing some lessons learnt.

Did I expect this six years ago? 6th July it had rained for the first time. Tejaswee had declared she loved the Delhi monsoons. A month later I was willing the universe to conspire to save her life.

Six years later now, in many ways, I live a ‘normal’ life, at least outwardly. When one has been where I have been, every achievement is a milestone; and things like laughter and joy are achievements beyond all expectations.

Three things that keep me going:

1. In our hearts forever : The Support Group for mothers coping with child loss.

The current mental peace and stability would not have been possible without the support from the moms in this group. We know what we are for each other. Nobody and nothing else can do what this group can, and does – for those who need such support.

2. Brat Three – Brat Three is twelve, and my height now; and regularly raids my wardrobe.🙂 Her confidence and happiness are our pride, hope, and delight; and she knows it: This sentence in her school notebook had me tearing up: “I am the apple of my parents’ eyes.”

Introducing a new family member.

And I am still marveling at this love, and at the joy and the healing that this love has brought into our lives.

I am grateful. Grateful that all four of us wanted the same thing (this adoption).

Immensely grateful that we listened to the voice inside us.

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

 

3. The Saturday hiking group I joined two years ago:

Every Saturday I wake up at 3 30 am to reach the starting point for the hike on the outskirts of the city; because the hike must end before the day gets too hot, we must start before sunrise.

What drags some of us out of our beds at such hours, while the rest of the world sleeps?

For me, the group was at first just a safe space for getting out of the house and experiencing nature. I would have been content to just walk in the wilderness; that was an achievement in itself; but the walks surprised me with unexpected bonuses: Laughter and Joy. (Also, new friends; and improved health).

This was like rediscovering oneself. It’s a passion I did not even know existed within me. The walks changed almost everything else.

Passions tend to engulf us (along with our pain) and I allowed myself to be totally taken over by the experience: I have run through the wild grass into the sunrise, climbed trees with ants crawling on them, splashed in pools, and felt the rain on my face.

Why have these walks been so life altering, …so healing? I guess what’s healing is the letting go, and the following of one’s spirit.

As we trekked each weekend braving the thorny branches of vilayati keekar, I learnt that there are many kinds of griefs, each very painful to the person experiencing it.

Over a period of time, I met other survivors.

Some of them casually mention the challenges they are coping with and in the beginning, I compared their pain to mine, but now I see that their pain is the worst they have known.

I have found empathy in unexpected places. I have learnt that I connect with, amongst other survivors: single mothers. Divorce is said to be comparable to death and is a traumatic experience, including blatant judgment from random people. The trauma remains unacknowledged: and then there is judgment instead of support. Having experienced it occasionally, and having been outraged by it, I can relate to this.

One walker I met (age, personal life no idea, no need to know) wanted to ‘experience life’ because he has been through hell and survived. And what has he survived? Believe it or not: Alcoholism. His struggle against something he doesn’t have control over, I would probably not have understood in my earlier life.

With this group, I feel I have come a long, long way. Shared passions build strong bonds. And yet. One casual question or remark can still become a trigger for me.

Recently the group celebrated their sixth anniversary. I had attended the celebration last year, so I knew that I would be able to attend this year too. And all was fine and fun until I heard the DJ ask – “Hey people the next one for the person you love the most!” No idea what the context was. Maybe he was just talking too much. Maybe I was overwhelmed anyway, just waiting for a trigger. But suddenly I became an outsider. Wished there was one person I could have looked at and seen them understand.
(This morning I am wondering if I was really the only one. How do I know nobody else struggled in their own way like I did? )

But here’s the thing. I could, with some effort, put the thought away and continue to act like I was not screaming inside; like I was not dying to join the one person who meant everything to me. And after some pretense, it became a fact. I started enjoying again. I could feel Tejaswee with me – with all her protective love, warmth, and positivity. And I was wearing a neckpiece that was hers. (Like some other moms in In Our Hearts Forever, I too always have something of hers with me).

I couldn’t have imagined this six years ago, or even two years ago. This mind-control is what coping with grief is all about, I feel. It’s an unimaginably painful journey, but know that there is hope – it does get better. You emerge so much stronger that you look at your own self in awe. I accept this with gratitude – maybe no power could prevent this pain – but if one is given so much pain then one should also be given the strength to deal with that pain. I am grateful to have reached this point.

Sharing this here to record my journey and to give those newer in this journey an idea of what they might expect in the coming years.

Some more thoughts from someone who has walked through grief and come out stronger –

1. Value your health. Everything else becomes tougher to cope with if health is also an issue.

2. If something gives you a moment of peace – don’t care what anybody says; listen to this guiding voice inside. Moments of joy lead to healing. Grab every bit of healing.

3. Avoid people or situations that trigger pain. Again, listen to this guiding voice inside. You won’t walk into a fire, think before you walk into pain.

4. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, be guided by yourself. I have been advised social work and shopping as alternatives to hiking – both are fine, but are not for me. There is no way I would have benefitted from these, the way I have from hiking, Brat Three, the Support Group, and this blog.

Note: Please email me if you know of someone who might want to join ‘In Our Hearts Forever’.

Related Posts:

In our hearts forever.

She will live forever in our hearts.

On 19th Jan 2014.

When we surprise ourselves.

Do dreams have meanings?

Do you believe that each day promises a fresh beginning?

2011… and an unbelievable dream.

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

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

21 thoughts on “Six years. 

  1. Death of a loved one hangs over your head forever. Life becomes “normal” , things move on, but like you say, simple acts of joy and laughter take on meanings of immense proportion. And surprisingly, we are left richer each time we experience that void. I don’t know you personally, but still, *hugs*. This blog has helped me more than any person or animal in my life. My heartfelt thanks to you. Take good care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sending you lot of kind thoughts and warm wishes. Tejaswee lives on in everybody’s hearts forever. I have been following your blog for almost 8 years and have read every single post.
    (((hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This post moved me like anything. Lots of hugs to you and more strength as well. For many years now (almost 8- 9 years!), this blog has been my solace, a place I come to when I feel hopelessness regarding our society and attitudes. And for that, I will be forever grateful to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sending you lots of hugs, prayers, and love towards your way. I read Tejaswee’s story and I felt completely awful on what happened to her. I can sort of identify with this as one of my relatives tragically lost her 4 year old son almost 10 months ago and it hit many of us hard. No parent should ever lose a child and sometimes I fail to understand why this happens. This is a moving post, and I’ll def keep you all in my thoughts…

    Like

  5. You are such an amazing person, IHM. 6 years ago, my husband came home only to see my sobbing quietly in a corner. I had been watching the video that was a compilation of Tejaswee’s pictures. I felt raw pain and I know I will never be able to fathom all that you have been through.

    But your strength amazes me. It gives me hope. I know we can never be the same with the loss of a loved one, but I also realise that we figure out a way to survive in this world. That too like you say, is an achievement.

    I hardly comment here, because most times I doubt I would be able to contribute intelligently, but I want to tell you today that I love your blog and I highly respect and admire you as an individual.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Divorce is said to be comparable to death and is a traumatic experience, including blatant judgment from random people. The trauma remains unacknowledged: and then there is judgment instead of support. Having experienced it occasionally, and having been outraged by it, I can relate to this.”

    This really resonated with me. Even after so many years, I feel as if I am walking around with an open wound that none else can see.

    It’s wonderful to read your writing again, IHM. I connect so very profoundly with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear IHM,

    I do not have a child yet and do not know the selfless love that motherhood brings, but I feel your pain about your daughter through your blog posts ..I sincerely do. I would say that you have been very very strong and have helped thousands of women struggling in Indian society….I am sure Tajaswee would be very proud of you for the selfless work you are doing.

    More power to you

    Loads of hugs to Tajaswee whereever she is and loads of blessings to you.

    Love
    FS

    Like

  8. Hugs Seema, Big tight hugs to you. I thought I knew how much the trekking group means to you but now I realize how wonderful being outdoors and in company of good, happy people is. I have sen Brat three when you brought her home and I have seen brat three evolve over the years after that. The difference you have made to her and the fine young lady she has blossomed into is unbelievable. Tejaswee will be Happy🙂

    Like

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