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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Onwumbiko*

I've had to face mortality a lot, lately.

My favouritest uncle passed away a month or so ago and I still haven't actually come to terms with that. It doesn't seem real yet. Even though there are random moments in my day when I think 'Why did you have to leave us?'.

And today I received news that my aunt's FIL had passed away a day after he was reported to be recovering well from an operation on the day before. I'm not quite devastated but I am grieving and I am somewhat upset. He wasn't particularly closely related nor was I really close to him... but given that I lived at their place for a while and we did make some memories then, this is hard to deal with. I smile thinking of how he said 'I shall call her Princess now' when I met him mere months ago and how he would be happy at the tiny fact that at family gatherings I was the only one other than mom in the kannada-speaking crowd who would make an effort to talk in Tamil and thus somehow make them a part of the gathering.

There have been several other deaths in the last year. Not all of them really registered. But mum's best friend lost her husband and I really like the lady, it's hard to not feel anything in such a case. Specially seeing as how the gentleman passed away weeks after my meeting him and coming to London. There are the sundry elder relatives I lost.

And each time I think 'My wedding shall take place without their presence'. It makes a difference because my wedding has been the embodiment of happiness to me. And I wanted all these people to have been there to share it with me. But they're all gone now.

My favourite uncle. I had high hopes there. I wanted him to be there and do my kanyadaan along with my parents and my other aunt and uncle. It meant a great deal to me. Because these three couples are the elders who truly shaped me. And while my parents can never be matched, the other four adults are, were, will always be the people who were close enough to being parents too... surrogate parents, just to have a term to describe them. And now one of them shall not be there. And lord knows who else I shall have to miss.

And sitting here, it's making me think if I should simply abandon what I have here and go home so I can build memories while I still can. Speak to my grandparents, hear the stories from my childhood again, actually be able to understand their point of view on things that matter to them, understand what those rituals we follow mean, tell them about my views on different things...

I know for a fact that going home will only drive me mad. There isn't much to do there and I don't have many friends left. And this is my life now. But I still wonder if I should chuck it all and go home to be with the ones I love, even if I have trouble expressing it and I am a wilful child around them, more trouble than fun. I know that your thoughts do turn this way when you lose someone, but I still wonder.

And then I think, isn't it shameful that I have lost someone dear and I haven't, cannot even grieve properly? Does it seem disrespectful and somehow lessen their importance to me because I am not shedding tears over losing them.

The tears are there... I only blink them away because they catch me unaware and I do not want to cry around anyone except myself. I walk the streets defiantly, head eld high, daring the world to cross me... and steal a few moments where my head is down and my eyes are focused on the sidewalk. I nearly miss my stop on the tube because I'm so lost in contemplating the turn of events and its corollary meanings. I look into the eyes of a stranger who thanks me for something and I'm surprised to see the genuineness of her smile and the light in her eyes and I wonder if she can see I don't quite reciprocate. And I wonder if she can tell Death keeps me from it. I wonder if people can tell when someone has been touched by death when it's this remote. And yet I cannot comprehend my loss when I am alone. It just feels strange and disconnected.

Aunt once said to me that we remain in debt of the people we meet... and if we do not manage to repay those debts, then we shall be associated with those people again when we are born again. I find that somewhat comforting. Because it means that I shall still be able to be with these people again and give them their due.

Yet I cannot stop wondering if being here now is what I ought to be doing.

I am DewdropDream. And tonight, I am questioning Life.

*Death I implore you. From Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

14 comments:

  1. nobody really leaves us. they're always there to look over us. spooky as that may sound, i believe in it.
    i know how difficult it is to cope with the loss. esp if the ppl u 'lose' were close to u. but i also believe that such losses make u infinitely stronger. and yeah, more responsible.
    i've been thru similar situations... maybe worse, in the past year and half... i lost my dad in may. and vin lost his dad last april. it's taken every ounce of courage to not cry publicly. and yeah, i believe dad still watches over me...
    so, chin up! and live life so that u make them proud of u!

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  2. on a lighter note...
    maybe u should get married sooner than planned ;)

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  3. I am sorry for your loss.
    I wonder if there ever is a right thing to say to someone who has lost a loved one.Nothing can compare to the grief and pain that they go through.
    And I was just about to the same thing that Rayshma did in her second comment.She beat me to it!

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  4. *hugs* I know how it feels. reminds me of a post I had to do long back..

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  5. crap. the first post you read on a new blog kinda jolts you to a reality that is very much tangible outside the blog-world. chin up, m'dear. think of your wedding and how amazing it will be to see your relatives happy for you!!

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  6. Sorry about the loss dear..and yes, I know how it must feel to be so far away from your loved ones at times like these.

    Hang on and that pain fades away..slowly but surely. {{Hugs}}

    And what's this about wedding? Have these been bells ringing and we havn't yet heard? :)

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  7. Ahhh babe - I'm really sorry for you loss. It hits you and you don't even realise, even for the people that we didn't know that well - they all had an impact on our lives.

    Tears are only one way of grieving - don't be ashamed that you're not crying - you're grieving in your own way and healing as well by writing in this blog. And when you DO feel like crying - do it - don't hold back.

    Wanting to go back and reconnect is a feeling I know all too well - I felt the same when my grandmother died in India - I wanted to be there. When my friend's father committed suicide earlier this year - it shocked me and made me aware of my own parent's mortality. Do what you think is best, only you know darl.

    People aren't really gone - they are always there with you from the moments they imprinted on your memories and your heart. When you get married, you will remember them and they will be there :)

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  8. Ohhh....I am really sorry for your loss Dew!! While it is normal for people to question their choices in difficult times like these, I think you are string enough to stick to what you are doing. Because at the end of the day, you wouldnt be able to change any of these events even if you were around. I really hope you find the strength to deal with the grief. And you know we are around for you. Take care.

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  10. sorry bout that. the more i'm curious to have a peek into "the other side" myself, the more I hate losing a dear one. been questioning life since eternity.

    say. is there any rain on your side?

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  11. Thank you for your support everyone :)

    Rayshma: Advice well given, shall keep it in mind :) And am not getting married sooner, that's exactly what aunt keeps telling me to do! hehe

    I Love Lucy: It is hard to find words to console someone really... it's one of those sticky areas where even silence doesn't seem good enough sometimes. And umm.. no... Not getting married sooner than planned!

    SnS: *hugs* :)

    Galadriel: Yes it will be amazing when it happens :)

    Alwayshappykya: It does go away somewhat with time... getting there :) And no no... no wedding happening as such right now!

    Silvara: Thank you so much babe! Really value those words :)

    Never mind!: Thank you so much for your support girl! I know nothing can be changed even if I go back... just one of those thoughts though :) Thank you again.

    Winger: But that's what I'm saying!! I don't say London is my home, I know it isn't... home is where it is. What I am saying though that this life I have right now over here, it is what it is supposed to be... and it's not something permanent, but I just wondered if leaving now sitead as planned would somehow be better.

    La Vida Loca: *hugs*

    Vaudevillian: Loss. I hate loss and I hate Life for throwing that in the package. Yes there has been much rain here, bloody depressing. Might I ask where you're based?

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  12. oh north west outskirts.

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  13. Sorry, if i might sound too harsh, but death is as real as life itself. I lost the physical presence of my loving dad this feb, and i can understand how you must be feeling at this juncture in your life.

    Always remember to face life as a challenge and confront it. Life has very strange ways of teaching things. Each day is an experience in itself.

    You sound to be a strong person, and i think it wasnt without any reason that you were nicknamed a Princess. Make sure that you can make a difference, however small it be, in the lives of the loved ones you have.

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