Losing half your life
WHEN DEATH SNATCHES A DEAR ONE FROM YOU, RECOUNTS BHUSHAN BAZAZ
The fact of death is universal. It is the ultimate reality of life. This is the end which awaits the most beautiful life on earth. The last act is cruel no matter how pleasant was the comedy. The hardest moment comes at the cremation ground - there is nothing worse, than watching your loved one being turned into ashes.
The death of a spouse is a great tragedy. When we are told that someone you love is dying, it wreaks hell. To me death had always been one of those things that was very alien, and suddenly it was personal, very personal. It took away my own spouse, with whom I had spent forty years of my fruitful life. His death came as a great shock to me and the thought that I would never see his face and hear his gentle voice oppressed me terribly.
One feels numb to hear a shocking news like this. The same numbness stayed with me for days. I faced the enormity of this loss for every waking minute. After the funeral I was surrounded by well meaning, well intentioned friends and relatives, who tried to ease my grief and diminish my pain with assurances that things would be better. They failed, "you cannot possibly know what it feels like". What I needed then was somebody who could say, "I survived the same ordeal you are now enduring. You can do it". I placed a value on such assurances.
During the week after my spouse's death I had a strong feeling of acquiescence. If someone told me to sit I sat. If I was told to eat, I ate. A normally strong minded person, my behaviour then suddenly changed. I appreciated, in fact, being told what to do. I was too numb to wish to think for myself -- certainly I was afraid the numbness would leave and make way for grieving. My life lay crumbled at my feet and I had no desire to put it back together, especially if it meant, I would have to live without my spouse. My sorrow and anguish were crowded with self pity. My heart refused to believe the reality thrust so cruelly upon me. I became crushed under fearful tomorrow and had anxiety about tomorrow. Nothing that was alive and part of this world was real. The only reality I knew was my spouse was dead. That was truth. Every thing else was false.
The physical exhaustion undermined much of my coping ability. When I opened my eyes in the morning I completely forgot my spouse was dead. Then like a tidal wave remembrances would come and engulf me and make me feel as if I were drowning. I had to fight my way out of bed every day - and I mean every day. It was probably my toughest battle. If it takes all that much to get up, what energy is left for the rest of the day.
The instant reaction to a widow's tears is to, you must not cry. Tears won't help. Tears do help, they are a kind of emotional first aid. A widow will stop when she no longer needs to cry. I went through months of obsessive remembering. And every memory tears rolled down. I tried not to dwell on these thoughts, for the tears came for too readily. Often in private I would cry until I had no tears left.
So far most of the burden had fallen on him and I was relieved by his loving care, of a host of difficulties. His amazing love protected me and I lived free, in a large measure, from the care and anxiety, which most of the wives have to face. I have to do without him now. As everyday passes I feel his absence more and a terrible loneliness takes hold of me. But I am wife of my husband and have something of his great strength and courage to endure the ordeal.
Time is a great helper and a great healer, provided the grief process is being worked through. Gradually the depression begins to be left, there is a resurgence of hope, with the realization that life has to go on. To see loneliness as a problem tied to anxiety and insecurity is to refuse to accept responsibility for so many things we must do alone. How we face loneliness is crucial, face it one way and life goes sour.
Time was a great healer and nothing ever stayed the same on the shifting sand of time. I reconciled to the emptiness within, tried to impart new meaning to life, rebuild my life brick by brick, moulded myself to be self dependent. You have to work it out of your system over a long time. And you have to do it on your own. There is no way you can overcome your loss through a second hand source.
Message to my spouse -- You must be far away from the human predicament, treading fairer fields, among flowers that eternally bloom. I want you to know up there how much you meant to me, somewhere in the recesses of my heart you will remain a fragrant memory -- with your cheerful smile and undying spirit.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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