I loved David’s article in the New York Times today. It resonated with me at many levels. I will try my best to summarise the gush of emotions that I felt as I read the piece. Not to ignore the wide spectrum of reflections from the recent past that kept coming back to me, as I progressed through the day.
Going back to his words – “We underestimate the power of temperament to gradually pull us up from the lowest lows. And if our capacities for imagining the future are bad in normal times, they are horrible in moments of stress and suffering.” I know this because I experienced it. When I was in India for my father’s last rituals, I heard a lot of voices around me. Very concerned voices I must add. How are you going to manage? How will your Mom live alone? Are you taking her with you to the US? These were all voices that could not imagine our future without him.
Exhausted by the emotional outpour around me, I also started thinking like the voices around me. How will I go on without him? I will miss out on all that we could have shared. I felt like my future cheated on me. I will be incomplete without him, his lessons and his stories and more importantly his love. Just like David said, I underestimated the power of my temperament, my natural predisposition towards crisis. And not only did I underestimate my temperament, I also did the same for my loved ones.
Although this severe a crisis had not hit any of us thus far, each of us had withstood failures in life before. We were raised to be resilient. His death was just another failure. A more massive one to that. And so in spite of all concern and despair, we recovered, with grace and gratitude. It was our temperament that carried us through. We dared to see the future, and build it upon his memories. We did not brood over his going. We completed his last task, to get me married. Yes there were celebrations in the house, just 15 days after he left. We looked ahead and accepted the cards that we had been dealt with, and with this acceptance of the present, came respect for the future. We believed in the future, and that got us to where we are today, 18 months after his departure.
Some people are so scared to think about a future that is different from what they had planned it to be, that they continue cling to their past. They want to derive every bit of comfort that they can by reliving it. At some point you will have to look ahead and move on. How soon you get to it, is up to you. The comfort from your past will only take you so far. Very soon you will see yourself standing at the edge, with not much to go back to. And don’t forget that the world continues to rush ahead. It does not wait for you. So if you want to have a role to play in your future, then you have to let go of your past, and accept the potential that your future holds.
You cannot say to me, “Easier said than done.” I know I did it, and I know two other equally strong women who did it with me.