Lost a loved one? Don’t lose yourself
The best way to deal with grief is to stop trying to deal with it, writes Sonal Kalra.Updated: Apr 29, 2012 01:04 IST
What? After 4 years of …err...at least attempting to make you laugh over the most idiotic things, I can’t even write one senti, sad column? That’s not fair. Itna toh banta hai yaar… life’s not always about grinning away problems, though actually, mostly it is. But somehow, I don’t quite agree with applauding only those who claim to laugh through every low point in life. Because, my dear calmness seekers, sometimes you just don’t feel like laughing. Because grief is an intrinsic part of our lives, just as happiness is. Because a big part of calmness is about dealing with the stress of grief. And because, it is okay to be sad some days in life. I’m at such a point in my life today. And I wanted to write about it only because I know I’ll not be here for too long. I lost a loved one recently, and even though we would all wish our lives to be immune and untouched by grief, the truth is that we all have, or will, someday lose someone we love - a friend, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a child… a pet —to death. And everyone has to look for a way to deal with that grief. Sometimes in doing so, we subconsciously end up feeling ourselves, or making others, miserable. Let’s at least try not to do that, shall we? How about keeping the following in mind…
1 Don’t blame yourself: Ever. You know, I’m not a very religious person. But when it suits my convenience, I waste no time in quoting the theory of karma and destiny. That each one of us comes in this world with an account written somewhere of how each day will go. That when someone would die - and how- is all pre-destined. So, there really is no point in feeling guilty about someone’s demise, unless you genuinely feel responsible for it in some unfortunate way. The other day, I went to the funeral of an ex-colleague’s mother. The first thing that he said on meeting me was, “My sister kept telling me that we should seek a second opinion on ma’s condition. I somehow could not do it on time, or else she would have been alive. I’ll never forgive myself.”
One person died, and here, another was killing himself with such thoughts. I really wish people would someday realise the futility of
after something as permanent as death has happened. Leave it yaar…it’s pointless.
2 Allow yourself the right to grieve—the way you want to: Don’t hate me for saying this, but one of the things that puts me off the most is how most people in our country behave when they go to mourn someone’s death. In other words, mujhe afsos hai ke hamein afsos karna nahi aata. Most of the people start by asking some supremely idiotic question like ‘zyada beemar the?’ Yeah, yeah, I know that they mean to ask if the death was sudden or the one who died was unwell for a while. Still somehow this question seems inane to me…like someday someone would reply “no, not at all. He just sneezed once but we wanted to see how he’ll look dead. So we asked him to go all the way.” And then, the person who’s already undergoing tremendous pain for the loss of a loved one is made to undergo the additional pain of recalling the entire sequence of death to relatives and visitors of all kinds. Even those relatives who may not even have bothered to call once in years. Why? Just because that’s how it happens in our society. I’m sorry, I don’t buy this. If you want people around for support and feel like voicing your emotions, do so by all means. But if you want to grieve without having to cry in front of the whole world, please claim your privacy. It’s your right. That we all have to go someday is fixed, but how you are supposed to mourn the loss is not written in cement. Hell to the way it happens in our society.
3 Give it time: This may be a horribly clichéd statement but is so darn true that I have to make it. Time heals. I’ve seen it heal the worst of wounds. Losing a loved one to death is one of the most painful experiences, and it’s very normal to feel that life will never be the same again. Maybe it indeed won’t in some ways, but what definitely doesn’t last forever is the pain of the loss. The best thing to do, actually, is not to do anything. In terms of trying to make it go. Give that pain a chance to complete its course. Cry if you feel like, as much as you feel like. And with time, your mind will start a soothing healing process on its own. However, this is the time when some people get onto a guilt trip because their pain has lessened. Please remember, moving on with your life is not an insult to the one who died. It is in fact, the best gift you could give to their memory. Oh, by the way, I’m not looking for such a gift from my husband, in case I decide to, you know, take leave. Please tell him. Tell yours too.
Sonal Kalra knows the trick of dealing with healing. Just don’t try to fast forward it. Mail her at sonal.kalra
@hindustantimes.com or on Facebook at
First Published: Apr 28, 2012 17:51 IST