Knowing that you will never be able to talk to your loved one again, no matter how hard you try… Now that kind of finality that death casts is brutal. I remember the first time that I lost someone I loved; the shock of the loss was so enormous that I kept thinking I will run into her as I turn the corner. I kept searching the house for her to just pop up and say that this was all her grand scheme to make us value her a little more! It wouldn’t be too surprising considering my grandmother’s flair for drama and an unmatchable zest for life.
Of course, I was just grappling at straws. My house and my heart had a void that no one would ever be able to fill again. If losing a grandparent can be so heartbreaking, what would it feel like to lose the one you have shared your life, dreams and hopes with?
Rohit lost his wife shortly after their first wedding anniversary. Considering his wife was fully healthy and young, the loss came as a savage shock to him. With a broken heart and a little infant, Rohit was left to pick up the pieces of a life that he didn’t recognise anymore. He says, “There’s an all-engulfing sense of grief. I was numb, lost and desolate. The simple task of waking up from my bed required every ounce of energy that I could muster. Everyday.”
When the grief is so enormous, how do you deal with it? How do you accept this chapter of your life and move forward without bitterness and anger? Rohit shares some suggestions that have helped him rebuild a life that his wife “would have wanted him to live.”
Rohit has decided to revel in the great memories he has of his wife. He confesses that there isn’t a single day that goes by when she is not remembered. “Sometimes the absence hurts, especially when you are at a milestone (like a child’s first birthday) but then I just do what I think she would have wanted to do. My life is a homage to my wife,” says Rohit.
Many people refuse to remember their spouse or narrate their stories or look at their photographs. That denial to acknowledge the life of the departed one can make the loss bigger and the tragedy far sadder than one can bear. It’s much better to just remember and celebrate the one you have lost.
“Why me?” This question can plague you for your life if you let it. Particularly, when you haven’t intentionally hurt someone or have some seriously bad karma, you can spiral into thinking why life singled you and your family out to play its cruellest jokes. “Of course I felt life was being unfair. Here you are making plans with each other for the next 30 years, and then suddenly, she is gone. But gradually, painfully gradually, I learnt to accept the loss,” says Rohit.
Support groups may seem a complete no for you. But listening to people’s stories is powerful in a way that we don’t fully understand or appreciate. Knowing that another person has survived the same loss and has found a will to live fully again is inspiring. We can find some salvation in these stories especially in our most lonely and desperate moment. And before you think of dropping off from the group, at least give it three chances.
Overcoming grief takes time. One moment you’ll be great, and the other will throw you off-balance. Rohit suggests adding yoga and meditation to your daily routine so that you can feel calm in your everyday life. “Things will fall in place! Trust me. I know it’s difficult, but it’ll happen. Do whatever keeps you happy and content. Pursue something that’s long-lasting”, Rohit adds. He credits his ability to be calm in such situations to the Inner Engineering program by Isha Foundation that his brother gifted to him after his wife’s demise.
As simple advice it may seem, it can be the most powerful one. Let your friends know you need them. Spend time with them and open your heart to them. You’ll need to vent out, and there can be no one better than your friends to do the same. Sometimes, they might let you down (everybody moves on, and they aren’t exactly as affected as you are), but don’t give up on them. “This year on my wife’s birthday, my friends and I just watched a live webcast of the Shivratri Puja from the Isha Ashram. I celebrated the day by consciously being more joyful, just the way she was and would always want me to be.”
A human mind is meant to evolve. And most of our evolution happens when we overcome an event of difficulty with grit and determination. Remember that having had someone in your life who makes it so hard to say goodbye meant that you had a blessed life. Not many have known that kind of love. Accept your grief as fully as you revel in your love.