It is a lonely autumn afternoon that I’m spending in my room in London. This means it is typically cloudy outside with hardly any ray of sunshine at the moment. I was in a different place three days ago. I was in Delhi – with its people, chaos, noise, and sunshine. Lots of sunshine.
I recently lost my grandmother. Just wondering, can I call it a loss if the other person is in a better and happier place now? She was suffering since a long time. Physical ailment in old age often breaks human spirit, and I cannot say for sure if it hadn’t broken hers. But she had faith. And it is through her that I touched the tip of this iceberg termed Faith. Her faith wasn’t particularly specific to Nature or God or people- it was just in her own ‘self’ and the continuity of ‘life’ as a concept. She spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking what – I do not know.
My Nani had lost her son several years ago. I can’t say I understood her grief. I have never had a child, I do not know what it is like to lose a child who you’ve nurtured him from a tender acorn to a sturdy oak. Love is felt intensely, I believe. But what does grief feel like? It is like a prolonged state of nausea for the one who is grieving. The more you think about it as a permanent loss, the more you will feel miserable. Further, grief and remembrance may or may not overlap. For people like me, it was hard to distinguish. The closer you are to a person, the harder it is to distinguish between the two, I guess.
Chants and prayers soothed her but did not particularly elevate her spirit. Our culture does not teach a child the importance for living for himself/ herself. Living as such is implies a heightened sense of individuality and borderline selfishness. Simultaneously, the society also condemns taking your own life. We must teach our children the importance of being social – for man is a social animal. But it must also guide them to carry on when the people who you love are not around anymore. They grow up to be you and me.
Life in itself is meaningless. It’s us who assign meaning to it. For instance, a man I knew once threw a part of his dead son’s ashes in a garden, and then when there were flowers and foliage growing on the spot, he found comfort in the belief that it was his son living in another form. He believed that life is life, no matter what form it continues to live on in. What is this if not faith? Faith can be a strong purpose to live. Using it might lead us to give meaning to our lives.
If you are a Giver in love, you’ll find it easier to find love around you. Grief can only be overcome by giving love. Find someone who needs your care. Think of them as someone who deserves your love. Love shouldn’t have to cost too much. Who knows in what form we might find our loved ones who we’ve lost? Grief can never be a purpose of life. It will only distract us diametrically from finding the real purpose, the real meaning of our life. And that purpose need not be singular. We can have a different goal each day, as long as it takes you forward in life :)