When someone dear to you passes away, you never ‘get over’ it. It’s a ridiculous concept – ‘getting over’, the loss of someone. You can’t ‘get over’ it. It’s not possible. What you learn to do, is live with it. You find that even though you may think about them everyday – remembering them becomes less painful. Your eyes don’t sting with tears as often. Your throat doesn’t constrict as frequently, with the pain of needing to swallow back the sobs of grief. At the time of their loss, you don’t know how you will carry on, how you will survive in the world without them. Everyday is a miracle though – because somehow you do. Somehow you make it through and you manage to carry on.
When you least expect it though – you are taken by surprise, and the memories and the grief come shooting back with a vengeance – and there you are, back to where you were, the pain as fresh and raw as ever. You realise, ‘I hadn’t got over anything. I’d just learned to live with it.’
Let me put things into context. 31 years ago, my father passed away when he was just 33 years old. No one in my family has ever been able to ‘deal with it’. Don’t get me wrong – we all function perfectly well. We love each other, take care of each other, are there for one another at the drop of a hat. We lead professionally successful lives, we are happy, positive people. BUT – each of us, still finds his loss unbearable and challenging to deal with, in our own ways. At times, we can look through old photographs, share anecdotes – and it’s ok to that. Other times – no one can even say his name.
This week, we were dealt a blow, that our Mashi’s husband had passed away on Friday. Mashi, in Bengali, is your mother’s sister. My thoughts immediately leapt to those left behind. They are the ones who need support – they are the ones who need someone to look after them and feel like they’re not alone. My mother’s family are all in India, so I needed to be there for my mum, making sure that she was ok, because even though her family are thousands of miles away, grief is still grief, and I knew that more acutely than anyone else in the world, she would know what her sister was going through.
Throughout all this, my husband kept checking on me – ‘Are you ok?’ He kept asking. My response was the same each time. ‘I’m fine, don’t worry about me, I’m fine.’ My thoughts were occupied with other people – not myself, and I genuinely believed that I was fine. We were caught up in the routine of our jobs for the weekend, and what we needed to get done. And I genuinely believed that I was fine. Every so often, I was checking in on my mum through texts or calls, making sure that she was ok. I was fine.
And then we sat down, after our dinner, after sending the girls to bed, to watch an Indian singing programme that we are huge fans of – and I was still fine. Everything was fine. Until one of the contestants, a beautiful, angelic, little girl started to sing a song…and I realised that I was absolutely not fine. The pain and sensation of my heart breaking all over again, was something that I simply had not expected. It was the innocence and purity with which she sang those words, that made my heart ache, the agony was unbearable.
As I have done in previous blogs, I’ll write the original lyrics and then translate:
Aisa Laga Tumse Milke
Armaan Huey Purhey Dil Ke
Aye Meri Jaan E Wafa
Teri Meri Mere
Teri Ik Jaan Hai
Saath Tere Rahenge Sadha
Tumse Na Honge Juda
Which translates to:
Meeting you, it felt as though all the wishes of my heart had been fulfilled. Oh love of my life. Yours, mine, mine, yours, it’s one life now. I will always stay with you. We will never be separated from each other.
As you can tell from the lyrics, this is a very simple and very beautiful extract from a love song. The lyrics describe the simplicity of falling in love. The innocence of falling in love. There is nothing complicated about this. You fall in love with someone and you realise that this is the person that makes you feel totally fulfilled. Everything about them makes you stop looking for anyone else in the world. This is the person for you. And you promise that you will stay with them forever. And you will never leave them.
And I cried, and cried and cried. I’d heard this song so many times in my life before, but never really paused to think about what the words meant. The agony and the pain that the lyrics caused me yesterday, was the fact that no one can actually make that promise to anyone. You can’t promise anyone that you will never be separated from them, because unfortunately, that is not in your hands. There is a greater force out there – our own mortality, which we have no control over – so you can’t make promises to people that you’ll never be separated from them – because it’s not up to you. Although this was a romantic love song – the promise that you will never leave someone that you love, applies to so many different relationships – not just romantic ones. The bond between parents and children; siblings; friends – you all hope that you will never be parted from one another.
And that’s the ultimate pain of losing someone in your life. If it was up to them – they wouldn’t leave. If it was in your control – they wouldn’t have gone. But ultimately, that’s what happens to us all.
So, what can we do whilst we are here? We have to spread so much love and affection, that even when it’s our time to go, it will cause pain, but in the quiet moments, when people remember, and think about us again – they feel warm and comforted.
Ultimately, I suppose the lyrics, ‘We will never be separated from each other,’ means that even when we are not physically together anymore, our memories will always be there in someone’s heart – and that promise still remains fulfilled…