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A stormy day, high winds laden with dust, and in the desert with sand. Unfortunately this is the season of the “khamaseen”, those seasonal sand storms that rake up all that is residual, disturbing, polluting, mixing it in the air and spreading it all over. Today I feel this is a reflection of what is happening internally with me. My tsunami was last week, but today it is an internal whirlpool, raking up all the feelings of being rudderless, of grief, anger, depression, loss, mixing them all together and threatening to take over my life.
In such weather people rarely venture abroad if they don’t need to, so obviously no visitors today. Back to square one. Alone. So it is no longer a question of strength, it is a question of no choice. What choice do I have but survival? Give in and collapse? No, that is no choice, because this means that all I will be able to do is continue to exist on an unacceptable level, that of mere existence. I always say that it is more important to have quality and not quantity of life. My Mom had both, except for the last two months of her life, when the quality deteriorated, and I think, that is why she opted to leave. I firmly believe that that is what happened. The only thing that was keeping her was me. So when she reached such a painful point where I wished relief for her, that is when she finally had peace and let go. But she was a fighter all her life. She survived all her siblings, her husband, a few of her nephews and nieces, and worst of all, her grandson. And she lived on, struggled, survived, and went on to live, and live well. She is my role model. Yes Mom, you survived and went forward to a better quality of life, and that is what I will do.
While the storm is raging outside, my internal storm is trying to take over, but remembering my Mom’s ability to overcome, I shall do the same. It is not a question of strength, it is just a question of choice.
Suicide is not an option. At my lowest point, when my Mom was at her worst, I thought, for a few minute, longingly of running away, but serious thought of suicide was never really an option. I cannot really say it is because it is a deadly sin, but I think it was more because I thought it was a coward’s way out, a running away, and I could never do that. When overwhelmed by uncontrollable circumstances, I take a deep breath and stand my ground till I find a different way to tackle the situation. I attribute that to stubbornness. I cannot accept defeat. Ok. So where is that resolution now? Slightly dimmed, but simmering under the surface. And this article is my attempt to bring it forward and give it full force.
I am now going through the motions. And as the saying goes that if you pretend to smile at first, in a while it will become a habit and finally turn into a genuine smile. Ok, now I am pretending to establish my new life, in a bit it will become a habit, and finally will be established as one. I started with changing the layout at home. This is helping a bit. I am now living in a new living room, one my Mom and I rarely used. I’ve changed its layout and it is now a completely new one. The old living room is also completely changed, this too helps. I still cannot tackle her room, but in time I will.
The more difficult change is the handling of my time. All my actions, time, outings, travels or lack thereof, were centered around her existence, her needs. With her gone, my central reason for everything I did no longer exists. I am totally without anchor, left rudderless to be buffeted by the storm of my grief and loss. This is far more difficult to overcome. But realizing it cognitively, gives me an advantage, by trying to deliberately plan my days. I am helped in this by my family and friends, who now call to set up appointments to come pay their visits of condolences. This way I can plan my days. I am not going to lock myself up. I saw how devastating that was the first couple of days back in the house. It is still difficult for me to even think of entertaining on a significant scale at home, but I will go out. If my friends want to gather somewhere for lunch, I shall go. I don’t know how that will feel, but I’ll try it out and see.
If I cannot be with people, I will keep my mind busy. I will read, which has always been one of my favorite pastimes, or even watch TV, watch a film or follow a political talk show which is more interesting. Interact with my friends on Facebook, or even chat over the telephone. I shall keep my mind engaged so that dark thoughts, loneliness and grief do not take over. They still have a sneaky way of suddenly appearing, in full force, but I am getting better at keeping them at bay. A careless remark, or even innocent observation could easily set me off, but I think, in time I shall be able to control this.
God give me the strength to accept thy will, the wisdom to see my way out of my grief, the patience to achieve a state of peace, and the ability to continue what is left of my life with enthusiasm and joy.