Death is a brutal truth. There is no negotiating with it.
In the last six months, I have lost two dear people in my life. Accepting the loss is harder than the loss itself. The past two weeks have made me realize how fragile human life is. What exists today may not exist tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Our control over life is minimal, and we can only increase the probability of living. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, know that you are not alone, and the process is difficult.
Here are my reflections and learnings on handling loss
Seeing informs knowing, knowing informs doing, and doing changes everything. If you are in your mid-forties, mathematically speaking, you will lose your parents, in-laws, uncles, aunts, etc. Expecting mortality can soften the blow. Every extra day is a bonus, and you should take it with gratitude. Saying a graceful goodbye is hard, but you can prepare for it. My father-in-law's stage 4 cancer gave him 12 weeks, but grace gave him 162 more weeks. I was able to say a graceful goodbye to him, but for my father, it was sudden and tragic (a road accident). I didn’t expect it. It was a jolt, and it still hasn't sunk in. I wish I had expected that his days were numbered so that I could have spent a little more time with him.
Intentionally carve out time in your schedule to spend time with your aging parents. It helps them feel better, and it helps you minimize regrets later. Culturally, we live with or around our parents and in-laws, but the quality time that we spend with them is low in our busy lives. I make sure to have a meal with my mother every day, go out for a long drive, drink chai with her, and drop her home. She looks forward to those times, and I also look forward to them. I hate my night meetings because they take away this precious time.
Create memories consciously. Invite their siblings, friends, or family to come home. Make WhatsApp video calls so that they can talk for hours. Make a dish and take it to your parents or in-laws. Plan a trip every year so that they can see more places with you.
I have learned so much about aging, mortality, and the afterlife in the last 180 days. The dead are dead, and the emotional churn is for the living. Make it more graceful for yourself and those around you. Every morning, I smile because everyone at home woke up. It could have been different, but it was not. Gratitude makes it far easier.
🥂 to grace!