Day 881

The school project entailed each student discussing what they would put in Room 101 and why. Room 101 is where the bad things go.

For Saagar, it was translucent curtains. He thought they were pointless. They didn’t keep the sun out. They didn’t hold any warmth in. They blew in the wind. They annoyingly got in the way. Close up they were see-through. They twitched in the hands of old ladies. Their flimsy paperiness didn’t have a pleasant texture. They collected dust. They looked like nothing much. As far as he was concerned, they didn’t serve any purpose They definitely belonged in Room 101.

When I look back to my younger days, I can see me making similar arguments. At that time things fell into distinct boxes – good and bad, right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, royalty and commoner, black and white – concepts inspired by fairy tales, cartoons and films, Cinderella and Snow White to name a couple.

As the years went by, I learnt that a lot of life happens in grey zones, many rights and wrongs are based on a given context, some things can be beautiful and ugly at the same time, royalty can be common and the good and the bad resides in all of us.

Maybe his young mind told him there were only two available choices – life or death. Maybe if he was a bit older he would have known that there are other choices, one of them being, waiting it out.

“Nothing worked but the passage of time … It’s an illness and it ran its course. I had always described myself as melancholy or depressive but I hadn’t a clue. Anything I had before was a blue day by comparison. This was altered perceptions, a mental illness.” Says the Irish novelist, Marian Keyes, 53, about her severe depression in 2009. Writing was her “rope across the abyss”. She started with short stories and her 13th novel is soon to be released.

 “Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself.”
-Saint Francis de Sales.

Ref:

Room 101 : http://www.definitions.net/definition/ROOM%20101

Novelist Marian Keyes reveals fight against constant ‘suicidal impulses’ : https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/12/novelist-marian-keyes-reveals-fight-against-constant-suicidal-impulses

Day 879

37 copy

After 3 years of no singing, last week I recorded 3 tracks of devotional music with a friend. I sent across one of them on whatsapp to all my family in India. I got a few ‘wow’s and emojis of an applause and a rose and such. My mum called to say it was nice. Yesterday my 8 years old niece spoke to me about it. She said, ”I didn’t know it was you. Mamma told me. It was like you were singing for God. It made me feel relaxed and sleepy. It was like a lullaby.” That was the most honest and descriptive feedback I had. She shared how it made her feel rather than how good or bad it was.

Judgements come from the head and feelings come from the heart. That the music made her feel a particular way, that she didn’t just hear it but felt it, that she could verbalise it as well as she did was remarkable.

The purity and sweetness of the innocence of childhood is one of the most precious things in this world.

Saagar couldn’t wait to grow up!

Scan 9

 

Day 873

It’s Thursday.
It’s the 16th.
It’s March 2017.
Exactly 29 months.
2 years and 5 months.

I am in the same part of the same hospital, doing the same job with the same people as I was on that day. I am taking a break in the same clutterred coffee room where Saagar visited me a few months prior to his death.

Today, I sit here reading the House of Commons Select Committee Progress Report on Suicide Prevention. It informs the Government’s strategy on the same.

In a nutshell, it clearly states – Suicide is preventable. Current rates of loss of life in this way are unacceptable and most likely under-reported. Even though 95% of Local Councils have a Suicide Prevention Strategy, its implementation is very poor. We must have a way to reach those at risk but not in contact with health services. It commends the work of the voluntary sector. It identifies stigma as a big hindrance. It emphasises better targeted training for frontline staff, medical students and GPs. It expresses disappointments at the poor follow-up of patients after discharge from psychiatric services, at poor information sharing with families and poor funding/staffing of services.

It identifies self harm as the single biggest indicator of suicide risk. Poor psychosocial assessment and safety planning of these patients possibly contributes to a high rate of suicides. Proper support for bereaved families should be an integral part of suicide prevention. Irresponsible media reporting is damaging. Coroner’s need to call a suicide, a suicide.

All the things that we have been saying for all these months!
To think that at least 15,000 more suicides have already taken place in the UK since Saagar’s death!

Report:
https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/news-parliament-20151/suicide-prevention-report-published-16-171/

Day 863

IMG_0562

Jalebis are the most luscious of Indian sweets . They are made from plain flour, ghee, saffron and sugar – the best possible ingredients. They bring back the sweet memory of home. Lately they featured in a Holywood film, Lion, as a trigger for a deep longing for home for a young displaced man. This longing grows into a desperation and then becomes a source of great suffering. Even though the body moves from one place to another, the heart can stay in one place for lifetimes, clinging on to sights, smells and sounds that mean ‘home’ and ‘love’. The power of the mind to revisit, relive, reconfigure and re-create life from all these stray scraps is tremendous.

This big blockbuster addresses issues of adoption, childhood trauma, migration and much more. The most interesting questions it has raised for me are – What is your narrative? What is the story you tell yourself? Do you ever question it? Are you willing to see how your life might change if you did question it? Are you willing to be proven completely wrong? Would that set you free? Would that empower you to change your direction?

The things we tell ourselves have more power than we know. They make the difference between life and death.

Lion

Saagar as Lion 🙂

Day 858

img_0558

One of Saagar’s friends and housemates from second year at Uni writes in his memory book. He mentioned her very fondly very often. Friendships, so precious!

Saagar,

You were such a big part of my Durham family and being in fourth year without you is horrible. Second year in Gladstone Villas was undoubtedly one of the best years of my life and everyday I wish we could turn back the clock and be sitting in the living room all together again.
I wish I had been able to speak at your memorial service today but every time I tried to muster the courage to speak, I just burst into tears. I miss you so much.
We had some fabulous house dinners together and I think my favourite is when you convinced me to use two packs of mince for our dinner for two. This made thirty meatballs and we had to use two pans to cook them all. You impressed me with how many you managed to eat!
I always think of you and imagine you happily looking down. Still wish you were my housemate and in my French classes.
All my love,

Louise. xxxxx

Unforgettable, my darling! That what you are.

 

Day 841

His bathroom has 3 lights, one on top of the mirror and the other 2 on the ceiling. The switch for the mirror light is just underneath the mirror. The switch for the ceiling lights is outside the bathroom door. I sometimes found the mirror-light switched on, on the way to his room even when he wasn’t there. I would tell him off for repeatedly forgetting to turn the light off after use. Now, it is my bathroom. I still find the mirror light on sometimes when I go upstairs, even if I haven’t been there for hours.

It is so easy to forget to turn the mirror-light off. I know that now.

I would arrange mail-order deliveries for the times when he would be home. Sometimes he would be in his room on the second floor and fail to open the door for them, especially if they came very early in the morning. We would then have to go around chasing our parcels. Again, I would get a bit annoyed with him for missing out on the deliveries.

Now we sleep in his room. One morning last week, I almost didn’t hear the deliveryman’s knock on the door. I thought I heard something like a knock in my sleep but disregarded it, believing it to be a dream. An identical sound came again and nudged me out of my slumber. Had the man not had enough patience, he would have left us a note and gone to his next destination. But I did manage to bundle myself up and roll myself down the stairs in a semi-comatose panic to get to the door just in time.

It’s so easy to miss a delivery. I know that now.

 

Day 840

They met on a bus, got along, got together and after a while things turned somewhat strange. They thought they wanted to erase each other’s memory from their minds. They thought it would help with the suffering, the pain. The memory was successfully erased, yet they met again, on a beach this time, got along, … “How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.” Even after their minds forgot, their beings felt their connection, simply by being themselves and vibrating at their natural frequencies.

Yes, we watched ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ today.

I want to hoard each and every one of our memories. Erase nothing. I keep going back to Facebook to look at more pictures, his friends, their happy times, their life, their love.

A post from his first Anniversary:

“One year. It’s been one year today. One year since the lives of the many people you came into contact with had changed. A year where we’ve come together, grieved together, helped each other understand or at least try to understand the little we all knew. A year where we pushed on with our lives, hearing of other tragedies occurring around the world but not really caring as much as the day we lost you. A year where we tried harder and harder to make people aware of these mental illnesses and their symptoms so others don’t find themselves with the same heartache we felt. A Year where money has been raised for research to stop people from slipping through the cracks, yet some still do.. It’s been a year. A year of many changes. But even with all these changes there have been a few things that stayed the same. Our image of you. Our living memories of you, Our undivided love towards you.

Saagar Naresh, you are missed my old friend.
we’ll meet one day and have a much needed catch up. Xx”

– Juan Muriel Escudero