Why??!!

Messages to my dear friend, Monica, as we share our experiences of being a mother, the things we learn from our little girls, everyday and the lessons we learn from life itself.
A Blog-dialogue across continents, countries and oceans of time and space...
(We last met in 2000 A.D, in India.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This too, shall pass.

My dearest Monica,

Sleep is a pause for the Soul- that which is eternal, unchanging and untouched. When we are sleeping, our Soul lies with God for those brief moments between dreams and wakefulness....That is when we have no sense of 'self' no bondage, no relationships, no likes and no dislikes...we are even unaware of our own breathing... We are like a shell, with the pearl within given up, deep in the ocean's arms...This was something I realised in the last couple of days..


Last weekend,when my Mum (-in-Law) came home, Raj and I were really happy and relieved. There were many reasons: Bapuji and Ba who are both elderly and frail, were making this long-haul flight and had arrived safely, if a little exhausted from the ordeal.We could look forward to being with the whole family and mum wouldn't have to worry about them (her parents) being alone in our village in India.

It was all okay for a day or so, when mum tried to coax them both to eat a little bit and rest a bit too. Of course, we were worried for their health and how they would cope with the long journey, but given the circumstances, this was the best option: get them both here before Ba was too frail to travel. Bapuji had not been his usual self since he arrived, and this was making us all worried to varying degrees. Once, mum asked him if he would come to the doctor with her, but he declined, saying that in a day or so, everything would be allright, he probably just needed some sleep. He did not eat much, and mum had to cajole him to eat a little bit that evening. What we never imagined was that it would be the last time we saw him awake..

That night, sometime after midnight, (when we all went to bed) Bapuji passed away in his sleep... I remember staying awake until around four a.m that night, on the landing of the stairs, unable to sleep, reading, writing and listening to music... I was listening to your favourite songs, mentioned on your last blog post and noticed Ba walking to the bathroom in the night... When morning came, I woke up early, and went down to the kitchen, where mum was making some tea for them both. We talked about how they were that morning, and she said they were both asleep. Ba told mum not to wake up Bapuji, as he must be resting after a long time, so she got Ba ready for breakfast and then went to wake him up. That's when she discovered that he was really cold...

With the family in mourning, we organized his Funeral...What struck me was how composed Ba was, despite the gravity of her loss... She's a terrific Lady. She's a fighter, a Survivor and a great example of how to face circumstances like these with equanimity and composure, calm and clear in the mind... Although suffering from cancer herself, she is an example of how to be stoic in the face of tragedy.

Telling the kids what had happened, and explaining it to them was the hardest part; I didn't want to make them feel like nothing was the matter- since they could clearly see everyone was upset and grieving. I broke it to them as gently as I could, explaining that their great-granddad was no more amongst us, but would always be in their hearts and thoughts, if they wanted it. Others may disagree- choosing, instead, to keep the truth from ones so young but I am a believer in the facts of life. The sooner my kids understand the way life works, the sooner they can make sense of their world. Besides, they need to appreciate the feelings of others around them, and if they're unaware of what is causing the grief, how can they empathise??

Thank you for such a simple yet difficult lesson; prioritization! I think, I need a lesson in the ART OF PRIORITIZATION!! There is something my mother told us about a story related to Siddhartha, or Gautam Buddha, and his path to Enlightenment... In one of your last posts, you had mentioned the phrase , 'this too, shall pass', and today, or in fact, this last week, I realised the true meaning of the phrase...
It is said that Gautam Buddha was born as prince Siddhartha of Kapilavastu, to King Shuddodhana. When he was born, a prediction was made; that the newborn prince would grow up to become either a great, renowned king or a world-renouncing monk. Hearing this, the King who wanted his son to succeed him to the throne and be a great ruler, shielded his young son from all the unpleasant truths of life, in the hope that the wise men's prophecies regarding him becoming a monk would be proven wrong.

 But one day, the young prince Siddhartha witnessed the truths of life in quick succession- rendering his world-view obsolete, and gave rise to a restlessness of the Soul which made him seek the truth...He first saw an old woman, bent with age, frail and forlorn, and asked his father's minister who she was and what was the matter with her... "She is an old woman, young prince," said the minister, at which Siddhartha asked what had made her grow old, "...age, sir, has made her bent and old, and time is what has aged her... Siddhartha thought for a while and asked, "Will I too, grow old one day," "Yes, my dear sir, everyone who is born must age one day, just as surely as the sun rises and the seasons change with the passage of time..."
Then, the prince saw a sick man, ailing and emaciated, and a group of men taking out a funeral procession..with each passing sight, his questions grew deeper, his realization of the truth of life as he knew of it changed and he became more and more keen to find out what, if anything, could make a person really blissful in this world full of grief and suffering...
As if in response to his thoughts, he finally saw a monk, his face aglow and his simplicity rendering him with a magnetism that was hard to escape. We all know what happened next; how a prince realised the transience of the world, its joys and sorrows and how unaffected the soul was, in essence... How his realisation led him to renounce his kingdom, leave his loved ones and choose the path of enlightenment, becoming a seeker...

Its sad that it took a bereavement in our family to remind me of the lesson of life- living in the present and having no regrets. How do I focus on others all the time and still look after my soul and its inherent well-being!? How do I prevent myself 'reacting' to situations in a negative way and still not appear to be 'unresponsive' and 'uncaring'!? That is something I'm still pondering, as I take the kids out 'Egg-Hunting' over Easter, and watch them have fun splashing in the rain-soaked outdoors...
The learning continues...