As Told By Deepika

“When someone you love dies ,it changes you forever .It is not something “you get over”. The loss now becomes a part of who you are ”

My relationship with grief and loss started when death first visited in my life at the age of eleven and took my older brother ( twenty one yrs old),my only sibling ,and the only son of my parents .However ,I had many deaths and births in this journey so far, and the day he died I was reborn.It was a complete destruction of my older self  that  was too young ,immature and undeveloped to understand what had happened and the events that followed .The truth is no death comes alone it  brings birth with it.Nevertheless ,these births are completely different than the normal ones .The pain ,the sufferings ,the screams are extremely subtle.The more intense the deaths are the more profound the births are .It happened thirty seven years ago and the memories are as vivid as to me as they were ten or twenty years ago.
Our family of four was now a family of three.In the time span of 15 days  life changed forever for each one of us. My healthy and handsome brother died due to some doctor’s fault or due to the fault in our stars. How do you  deal with the tragedy of losing a child who is  at the prime of his youth ?.When he dreams about his budding future and with that you dream about the future of growing old with him.There are no courses or trainings  for “How to deal with  a grief of bearing the death of your child on your shoulders and live with that your whole life “.No parents should know how to do that and if it’s in my hands no parents should ever have to know that. .After spending one whole year with us at home , my father found his solace in work .My mother and I got ourselves engaged and busy with each other  as much as we can .I have experienced that grief of losing someone to death hits harder after some time has passed .After a year or two you actually start to feel it’s real  ,that this is  the reality of life to live without him /her forever till your last breath .My mother got a brain stroke and her right side got  paralysed as my brother’s death completed it’s one year mark.As for myself, I was devastated from inside but didn’t know how to express it in any way ,My other companion after my brother ,was my mother  who was now unable to walk or talk properly .A huge  part of my mother died with my brother and another big part of her died with this stroke.She recovered a little but not much.I was told by her doctor during one of her physiotherapy sessions ,”She can get better but she doesn’t want to get better .She has lost her will to live”.The truth was my mother despite her efforts to make life normal for me couldn’t bear the irreparable loss of my brother. He  was not only her first child whom she conceived  after so many prayers but also a good friend to her in the last few years.I was hurt,sad,angry ,insecure ,nervous ,and most of all extremely lonely.
On one side this dying ,devastation, and destruction in my heart and soul was going ,on the other side I was growing  in my heart and soul in an unimaginable levels of depth .This growth of mine  as a loving,compassionate and deep human being was easily  understandable to me  many  many years later .I have strong memories of  the evenings when my mom and I’d just sit in the porch and stared at the gate ,just hoping my brother would come and open the gate to enter.One day I was all alone and I screamed at the sky because I couldn’t bear the pain inside me. My mom taught me as best she could from cooking to keeping a well organised home while sitting on bed .I grew up taking care of and loving my mom more than a girl of my age could do.I felt lonely and sad more than I can remember now but there were lot of good times too with my cousins and friends . I was growing into a strong young woman and was at a very sensitive and emotional stage of my life .I came to understand fast that my life was entirely  different from all my friends. Life was moving on ,my dad would come in for a month or two but there was always this desolation,unhappiness and despair in the air of our home.However ,we both (my mother and I )shared many good laughs together too while watching a movie or on some jokes we’d tell each other.Due to decrease in mobility and all the medicines she was taking for so long (almost 15 yrs )her  health started to decline when I was about twenty seven .I knew in my heart that I won’t be able to take care of my mom the way I want to if I got  married .I chose not to entertain any offers or thoughts about my marriage at that time.I think my mother sensed that too but she never expressed her feelings about it , except that she became awfully quiet after this .Her health just deteriorated after that, for eighteen months  every new day came with a new pain.I’d just hug her  or lie down next  to her holding her hands.Though she had stopped talking but she would always ask to  me stay whenever I had to leave for work, and she would just keep calling my name as I entered  home from work .I’d ask if she needed something but she only wanted me to sit next to her.In the last two years of her life specifically , our roles were changed and that’s when I became the mother of my mother On June 23 ,2000,my mom’s sufferings came to an end and she died in my arms.
Our family of three was now a family of two ,my dad and I .I was damaged severely though I was strong and independent than any other woman of my age .First two years were the hardest ,my mom was my whole life I grew from a teenage girl to a young woman with her pain and sufferings . I empathised with her on every stage. I  could feel and sense her pain just by looking at her , and in her heart she knew that too .She never said much but I was the person she loved and trusted most .I noticed my mother gradually dying everyday after my brother’s death. It took me many years to become normal ,to heal from the wounds of the pain and sufferings of all those years.My dad and I witnessed and bore these tragedies  together and for that reason we were more connected  than normal .My father who lost his son ,his wife , and his business too was a brave  man .In Spite of all the losses he never stopped living ,never stopped loving ,and never stopped laughing.On January 19th, 2020  he passed away leaving me as the only person left in our family of four.
Every death of my loved ones was a rebirth for me.My father’s death has created a void and an emptiness inside me .I feel like a boat without an anchor or a kite  without a string . The two chords of unconditional love in my life have been cut. All the wounds of grief and loss from the past  have resurfaced again .But, at least I know this time that these silent screams of sorrow and suffering inside  me are the part of  my journey that will lead me to my new self. I feel indescribable agony  when the movie “OUR FAMILY OF FOUR ” starts playing in my mind with my brother’s death as the beginning scene ,but  at least this time I am aware that this is  another step forward in  becoming a person I am meant to be .A human being who is compassionate and grateful ,a human being who never takes anything for granted in life ,and a human being who has made herself a better person, not bitter with all the misfortunes life presented  .
A daughter who was blessed to have parents who made her a person who never stops loving,never stops living, and never stops laughing in spite of losing so much in her life.
This was a heartbreaking read, but the end is so beautiful, and I think it reminds us of a lot of lessons our grief has taught us. Thank you to Deepika, we are extremely grateful for your time to write this.
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Have a beautiful day.
(Image was sent in with the submission)

4 thoughts on “As Told By Deepika

  1. I am reminded that growth, by it’s vary nature, involves pain and loss. Actual maturity, for me, manifests itself by accepting that absorbing pain and loss gives them value and a perspective and a perspective on life that cannot rise in any other fashion. Deepika, thank you for sharing this.

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