Dealing With Loss

Beautiful evening

It has been five years since I lost my mother to breast cancer. I have never accepted this publicly on this blog, keeping her alive in imagined conversations and shared moments that will never again be. But she doesn’t linger anywhere—not in her bedroom back in Delhi, not in the photo albums of my birthdays, not in her old clothes that I have clung on to and insist on wearing now and then. She lingers only in my memories, in a big room in my heart that she owns for the rest of my life. And while I will never let go of her, I have come to realise over time: it is essential to deal with loss.

In the early years after her passing, I looked for her everywhere. I have never seriously believed in ghosts or spirits, but I figured this was different. Perhaps, she would find a way to come and visit me from time to time, sitting herself down on the swing in our balcony on which we would spend many a summer evening. When I spotted a woman who looked like her in a Durga Puja pandal, it took me a ridiculously long time to compose myself. But while I fooled myself into believing I heard her once or twice, calling out from the ceiling or sneaking behind cabinets, she never came to meet me.

My Mom’s passing affected me in more ways than I can count. She was my best friend, accompanying me to bookstores and movies, chatting with me till the early hours of the morning about career woes and “deep” philosophical questions, advising me on shoes and clothes, never forgetting to check on my meals and naps even when I started living in other cities for school and work. The house would be decorated with balloons and confetti and smell of freshly baked chocolate cake each time I came home on holiday; my “big bag of snacks” would be choc-a-bloc with wafers, candies and all things delicious. Now that she is gone, I miss my treats. I miss conversations with a keen—really keen—listener on the other side. I miss my friend.

Five years have passed, but I find myself tearing up when I see old videos, my Mom energetically getting things ready for my eleventh birthday party. I dream of her often; curiously, in my dreams, she seems well attuned to my present life situations, and we usually go on fun trips around the world, to places where none of my current problems can follow me. Sometimes, I wish the world of dreams was the real deal; I am still not convinced that it isn’t, and the hours of wakefulness a mere mirage.

Oh look, I had intended this post to be about dealing with loss, and instead, I have meandered and gone astray. Perhaps, it is foolish of me to assume I will ever “deal” with this loss that has seared my heart and changed me permanently. Indeed, the primary “dealing” I have done is accepting that my Mom will always be a part of my soul, even if I cannot see her as an apparition or hear her voice carried by the wind. She is there somewhere, looking out for me when I face new challenges, break down when things get impossible to bear, and painstakingly gather the courage to face the world yet again.

I haven’t dealt with my Mom’s death.  But she has done it for me: by telling me I don’t need to since she never really left me. She never will.

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46 thoughts on “Dealing With Loss

  1. Pingback: Papa | Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune

  2. Pingback: If Mom Had Been Here Today | Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune

  3. I am so grateful that I came across this beautiful post, I recently posted on my Blog about dealing with loss too. After only losing my Father a year ago these are the types of posts I need to read.

    Thank you for sharing 💕

  4. Very sorry for your loss, Debo. Hugs. Those we love and who love us, live on with us. The post brought tears to my eyes. You are blessed to have known her and have her within you ❤

  5. Pingback: Dealing With Loss | Hebrews 13:2 NIV Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! EASTER 2019

  6. I truly resonate with you. I lost my favorite uncle around 20 years back but I just couldn’t accept it for years. I used to get dreams that he is alive. It was a difficult phase but trust me over the time I understood that the bonding and love will never fade.

    Your mom was always there for you and she will always be… Lots of love and hugs to you Deboshree 🤗🤗

  7. I understand what you feel. This resonates so much with me. It will 13 years this April since I lost mom to breast cancer. Hugs to you! You will find the strength and your mom is incredibly proud of you!

  8. You never forget your loved one’s, yes you miss their actions, behaviors, voice, those little things. But then that’s why we cling onto memories, and it is with those memories we try and make ourselves a little better, a little more resilient. After having lost my father 24yrs ago, my teacher said to me “dear boy there will be a time when you will go weeks, even months without thinking about your father”. I was furious, but he was so right. I so love picking up on those memories after a while.
    Have a nice weekend 🙂

    • Reading your words and thinking about them and wondering how the years ahead will turn out to be…I certainly agree with you about the importance of memories. They are a huge help!
      Wishing you a nice weekend too. Also, a big thank you 🙂

  9. I have read so many references to your mother here, and had no idea of this. It is one of the toughest things to accept, the loss of a loved one – a parent. I can’t imagine the pain. So big hugs and prayers.
    And yes, moms never leave, they cannot, out of habit 🙂 Their need to watch over is so huge that can’t even if they wanted to – so she’s most definitely around!

    • Thanks a lot – your comment brought me an uncanny sense of solace. Moms indeed cannot leave, even if they wanted to; their hearts always remain connected to ours 🙂

  10. Hugs and love. I lost Ma to pancreatitis seven years ago. I had been married for 5 months only. The irony was that I m married to a doctor and yet we lost her overnight. I’m yet to come to terms with it even today. I can feel your pain. I am here to listen to you if ever you feel like sharing your pain.

  11. Oh God D, I am struggling to find words for what this post made me feel. I don’t know if I can write coherently. I am sobbing away. I live on the edge after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And though she is in remission now, the dark fears lurk in my heart, in my soul and don’t let me be. I have tried several times to write about it on my blog, but each time I find it too traumatic to even confront my thoughts. I just went through an avalanche of pain on reading your post. I know I need to pick myself up. I rarely allow myself to cry but this post brought about a certain loss of control.

    Big, big hugs to you. You are incredibly brave and I send you good wishes and lots of love right from the bottom of my heart. Your last line is beautiful. It’s true. Your mom never left you, she never will.

    • Oh Pepper, sending you bear hugs, hope, and lots of prayers. I am sorry the post stirred up your pain and anxiety; I can understand how heart-breaking it must be for you. I fervently pray that your Mom remains hale, hearty and healthy for a long, long time, and that you two never have to be apart. ❤

      Thanks a lot for your reassuring words – I too have avoided talking about this like the plague, always pretending all is as it was. But like you mentioned, mothers have a way of being with you even when you can't see them 🙂

  12. Acceptance is a huge part of time. It’s true that there is someone, your Mom, watching on you and out of the blue, her voice telling something cropping up. It’s her way of telling you she is around. I often experience this voice of Dad popping out of nowhere or my friend who passed away in Pune. I experimented the presence of friend very often and the conversation which is not imagined at all. Wish you strength for it’s never easy dealing with the loss of a loved one. Hugs.

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