Day 57

Just realised that I have created Day 29, two times. Getting back in synchronicity now, with everything generally. So, Day 56 had to go.

I also realised that the words ‘I’, ‘my’ and ‘mine’ appear in this blog time and time again. That is a well known cause of unhappiness too. What is mine really? Who am I? A false sense of ‘self’ created through defining oneself through things, people or roles? The dream like fog of Varanasi has blurred the lines between the sky and earth, land and water, you and me and life & death for me for ever.

One bit of good news is that the two sets of investigators spoke with each other and agreed that they need to study the details of this case together for their work to be meaningful. It is good to be heard. I thank them for taking our suggestions on board. Listening is an art. A very rare one. Being listened to feels really good. I could not do my job if I did not listen. One third of all ‘communication’ is listening or receiving information. I suppose it is for us to make sure we hear and are heard, one way or another. Speak loud and clear. Take responsibility when I allow what I say to go unheard. Think about why that might be. Is it because other people’s opinion of ‘me’ might change for the worse? How much does that really matter?

Day 55

Today was a good day. I woke up before dawn for a boat ride down the ganges, along the ‘ghats’. The misty morning was truly magical! The trip to Kashi-Vashwanath temple was an interesting reminder of the joys of organized religion. We were once again faced by the reality of the unfairness of life – the amount of money earned by the priest in half an hour was the same as that earned by our guide in one day!

The highlight of the day has to be the dip in the Ganges at sunrise, the water being really cold! I was a bit worried about the (un)hygienic aspects of the immersion but then could not resist what is a ‘must do’ activity in this part of the world. I must admit that despite my reservations, I felt absolutely refreshed and rejuvenated thereafter. It is hard to explain the feeling – a mix of exhilarating, cleansing, like being blessed and freed by Mother nature.

That is what I did today – blessed and freed him. I accept what is.

In the evening I went around some saree shops and got myself not one but two sarees. Life is a gift, good company is a great gift, joy and enthusiasm is God. Our guide is a very sweet proud ‘benarasi babu’. He says “there is only three thing to do – walking, talking and smiling’. I agree. 🙂

Day 54

Our tourist guide started by saying – Varanasi is a place of ‘learning and burning’. Very true. It is also a conglomeration of fire and water, heat and dust, monkeys and dogs, purity and dirt, life and death, devotion and neglect, peace and chaos, holy men and tourists, kite-flying and elaborate prayer ceremonies, aromas and stenches. We spent the day walking along the banks of the river Ganga, watching all the activities and preparing ourselves for the ceremony in the evening.

At one point, I felt very angry. Being the elder sister to two younger brothers, I was expected to always be ‘good’ so that they would learn by example and I did my best. I have worked really hard all my life. I have put myself through significant isolation and rigour to be able to provide well for my family. After all that, I clearly don’t deserve this!

When the time came, we said a few prayers, made some offerings and let him go. Now, he is free. I pray for his peace.

What have I learnt? Among other things, NO self pity, no matter what.

Sri Aurobindo has said, “There is no mortality. It is only the immortal who can die; the mortal can neither be born nor perish.”

Day 53

Varanasi is a place of pilgrimage situated on the banks of river Ganga. This is where learned saints and sages of yore came to take their last breaths so that they could attain ‘Moksha’ or freedom from the cycle of re-birth.

The human body is believed to be made up of 5 elements: earth, water, air, fire and ether. My son’s mortal remains have already been merged with the atmosphere through the Fire God, who stands for enlightenment, purity and truth, during the Cremation ceremony. Today my partner and I have brought the ashes of my darling son here, to deliver him to his final resting place.

I have been carrying the urn with me all day – in the taxi, at the airport, walking in the streets, feeling like he is with me, making jokes about how heavy he is and feeling proud of him as usual. Tomorrow I will have no choice but to completely let go. Let go of the pain, the sadness, the immense attachment, the anger, the angst and the guilt. Everything except love.

Only love is real.

Day 52

“Here I am in this mean old town,
And you’re so far away from me.
And where you are when the sun goes down,
You’re so far away from me.
So far away from me. So far I just can’t see…..
And I get so tired when I have to explain.
When you’re so far away from me.
See you’ve been in the sun and I’ve been in the rain
And you’re so far away from me. So far away…..”

It’s a generational thing. Today, my brothers and I listened to Dire Straits, like we used to, for old times sake as the youngest of us turned 44! Yay! All my nieces and nephews were there. He was the only one missing. I can’t help but notice. Well, all of them are my very own too. I love them. 🙂

The entire story had to be repeated to a new set of investigators today and it was painful but less so than the last time. Let’s hope something helpful and constructive comes out of this entire process. It’s a pity that first someone has to die and then we look at where we failed. I read the inquiry reports of Daksha Emson, Joanne Bingley, Jo Lyall and Susan Talby – all suicides with enough warning signs. Same themes emerging again and again! Do we ever actually learn what we need to? Or do we just accept that we cannot manage these conditions? To quote a manager – “Guidelines are just guidelines. These things happen”.

Day 51

Pain is just pain. It turns into suffering when we choose to allow it to become that.

A few days ago, a well-meaning friend tried to explain the various stages of grieving to me. I am sure it has been studied extensively and lots of material published on it. Somehow, I was not keen to find out all about it, not because I know better but because I don’t think the experience  is the same for any two people. I just wanted to be with my feelings and observe them as they came and went.

At present I am watching a little part of me feeling like if I was to go back to being ‘normal’, it would be a betrayal to his memory. Isn’t it too early to do that anyway? What is the right time? Someone said, ‘don’t take any big decisions for at least 6 months’. Where does that figure come from? How can it apply to everyone in the same situation?

Tomorrow is a big day for our family as there is a birthday and an anniversary to celebrate. In addition, I have an hour and a half long telephonic meeting with the investigators. Should be interesting.

I shall just experience the experience.

Day 50

Think of Breast Cancer and immediately we think of …… pink ribbon foundation, of course, whose main aim is ‘to advance the understanding of breast cancer, its early detection and treatment’.

Think of mental illness and ………. well, not clearly visible.

A Black Rose for me represents many things – darkness and mystery, resistance and courage, tragic love and deep devotion, rebirth and rejuvination, end of an era paving the way for a new beginning, death and mourning. There are a number of charities doing a lot of good work in the field of Mental health – Bipolar UK, Mind and Equilibrium to name a few, but they do not have a prominent visual presence. How great it would be if we could create more visibility and hence more awareness of Mental illness and the issues surrounding it.

Today the moon is full again – seems like the most appropriate night to be thinking about a logo to represent those who are allegedly greatly affected by the lunar cycle.

At present, I recognise that the biggest battles for me are firstly, dealing with the pointless guilt I have and secondly, dealing with the pain of missing him. Well, I did do the best I could and nothing is wholly dead that once lived, be it people or love.

Love you darling. xxx

Day 49

It turns out that it was not just Mercury but other planets and cosmic forces were also conspiring against us. Saturn, Rahu and Ketu were all in cahoots. So much so they managed to have the solar and the lunar eclipse within the same calendar month – October 2014! Together they eclipsed my son from me forever.

Last week has been restful and contemplative. The village where I stayed was a huge contrast to the Big Smoke that I am used to. The one thing people had was plenty of time. How unusual is that for this day and age. Education meant understanding local flora and fauna, protecting the environment and planning living spaces in an all-inclusive and sustainable way. Schools had an ethos that allows kids to be who they are and express themselves openly. The only rule being – no violence, verbal or physical. I felt great admiration for the inspiring work being done by a couple of local NGOs. I could have just stayed.

My spiritual leader says – ‘Walk lightly on this planet.’ I have been doing quite the contrary. But I do feel lighter than I have in a long time, despite the fact that I have not been doing any of the things that I would ‘normally’ have done, such as, work, listen to music, spend time with friends, watch films, talk about it and cry a lot and eat some chocolate. Going back to work just doesn’t make any sense right now.

What is the new ‘normal’? What do I want to do with my life now?

Day 48

Today was a day of exploring the concept of ‘Karma’ which is an eastern theory which explains the present circumstances of an individual with reference to his or her actions in the past, during this birth or previous births. The fundamental assumptions of this theory are that reincarnation is for real and that the soul is immortal. Is that why some of the loveliest people leave the planet early? It must have something to do with their actions in their past birth. The same goes for their loved ones, who suffer due to their ‘karma’.

The Masters have spoken about past lives – ‘We choose when we will come into our physical state and when we will leave. We know when we have accomplished what we were sent down here to accomplish. We know when the time is up, and we will accept our death. For we know that we can get nothing more out of this lifetime.’

This rings true for me because during the last few weeks of his life, my son did not enjoy anything of this world and had no contribution to make towards anything. The fact that he could not be himself was painful for him. He coped with it for as long as he could.

It is 7 weeks today since he passed away. I only realised today was a thursday towards the end of the day, which I suppose is a good sign. While walking uphill on a mud track this evening I was starting to break into a sweat when out of nowhere a gentle breeze started to blow. I could feel him in the air, in the sunset, in the clouds, in the smiles of the village kids, in my heart.

All of us are divine sparks of the universal light. He has merged back into the light and shines bright as ever, keeping a special few rays for me. Thank you my darling. I love you so much!!!

Day 47

”The UN estimates that nearly 200,000 people have been killed in the Syrian Crisis over the last 3 years.” says BBC news update in Nov’ 2014.

I feel like such a hypocrite. So much of the news is about the violent losses of life in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine – lots of young and innocent people among them. I don’t remember mourning any of those lives lost. It is unjust and upsetting but really ….. did I pay those bits of news the attention they deserved? One death of a loved one is so devastating. I cannot imagine what it must be like for those communities and countries to have incurred such huge losses!

Are ‘those people’ not just like you and me? Are ‘those people’ not our very own? How is our grief different from their’s? How can we be made to believe that those deaths are well-deserved? Whatever the media might say but war is never the answer. Do we take any responsibility as individuals and as nations to stand up against violence? This is our world. Our responsibility.

I love. I feel. I am.