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Dealing with the loss of a loved one. We all bleed the same.

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.-Og Mandino


Loss of a loved one and the subsequent suffering that follows can teach us a number of lessons on Human Existence. It can break and shape one into a transformed person. No one would like to go through difficult situations in life but such situations will polish one to become a better version of oneself, to understand the fellow human better.


Dr. Betty d'Coute once gave us a meaningful exercise in a Part II English class. I was a student of Ms. Dew Lawrent but our teacher was on leave and we were attending the class of our dear Betty mam.


Our Professor asked us to define life in a single line by comparing it with something else. For example, life is like a candle, star etc.. the presentation started from the first row of the class, till my turn came I was rehearsing my lines for the presentation in my mind. I said in front of the class,"Life is a beautiful song with its both pitches (high and low)". My dear mam explained,"Anita, life is a song, more than being beautiful alone. It has very tough times, hard times and also happy moments". I took her words, nodded my head and went back to my seat by pondering deeply on what she said. Here comes one such lesson which life gave me to make me as a strong person emotionally.


It was bright sunny, breezy day at Agarakattu. I was working as an Assistant professor in J.P college of Arts and Science, Tenkasi. A special meeting for freshers was organised by the college. The meeting's motive was to encourage the students to get ready for the academic challenges they will face soon. I was seated in the last row with my friend and a co-teacher, Asst. Professor Sudha who was a very talented soft skill trainer and a teacher, I was always amazed by her bold personality, which at times was a reason behind some of her unconventional teaching methods and style, still, I found it very fascinating.


We were in the middle of the meeting and the speaker Mr. Jegan was advising the students to make their parents proud. When he was about to talk more about the sacrifice that parents are making to give their children a good education. He requested the students who have lost their father or mother to leave the auditorium and wait outside, as he thought it might kindle delicate emotions, memories and breach a sensitive zone for them.


When the students were slowly moving out, the speaker asked some teachers to accompany them. My friend, Ms. Sudha turned her face towards the students and said to me, "Baby, join me, let's go and stand with the students", I didn't know how to react then, I felt uneasy as I never knew how to help the children handle their emotions. I totally regret today that I never stood along with them on that day. The children were in pain and were remembering their lost parent. When one started to cry, slowly the sadness gripped everyone and many started to shed tears. Sudha went and stood near them, she talked with some too to express moral support and solidarity.

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Months rolled by and I was there in the phase of my life where I faced a similar loss of a parent, I lost my dad on Oct 19, 2015. I never thought or dreamt that I would be going through something like that in the near future. When it struck my home, I felt utter despair for the first time. But all these never happened on day one.


All my spiritual wisdom that I got for years from my dad helped me to face it when he was lying before me lifelessly. He was a great believer of christ who walked very close with Him and have imparted so much wisdom about resurrection in my young mind. So when I looked at him I was saying to myself, "This is not my dad, He is alive, just not here".


As I was the only child, as much as I got everything (all love, gifts) for myself, the same happened here, I was there facing the loss all by myself. My dad was my best friend when he was alive, he was my brother who played with me whenever I needed a companionship. Everyday of mine started with him. I used to raise both hands from bed towards him, he lifted me up and carried me gently till the back door where I usually get ready to start the day. He was always there for me, when I was young, he taught me stories from a very colourful book of a Russian artist. The book had only drawings and my dad interpreted the stories for me.

He was there teaching me to draw whenever I got ready for drawing competition. He stood with me whenever I needed strength. He worked so hard to give me the best of everything. In my whole life, I enjoyed the friendship with no one like that I had with my dad.


But now, I was in a position where I needed to be strong for the family, without him being there. The family of three broke into two. The Bible says, "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" in Ecclesiastes 4:12. We were trying very hard not to be broken inside.


The sense of responsibility that I had on that day was huge. The way I behaved was totally unbelievable. One of my good friends who visited asked ,"How you are like this?" as my friends knew I was a sensitive person. I had no clear answer then but as Viktor Frankle, a challenging author of Man's search for meaning says,“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves".


That was the most toughest moment where I challenged myself to be more strong and to be less sensitive to the actual pain. Yet, here comes the truth, anyone at one point can make themselves strong to stand before people. But when you have to face the reality alone you can never escape the grip of the grief. The toughest part of grieving for the loss is, you trying to come to terms that, as long as you live, the person will never come back. (Yes, to the fact that the one who loved you, cherished you, raised you will never come back).

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An irreversible loss can bring huge changes in one's life and family. It changed my life upside down.


The innocent laughter I used to have when my father was there was gone in the wind. The carefree nature of mine changed, perspective toward life changed. Most importantly the perspective in looking at families who are going through the loss changed.


It’s true you never knew somebody’s pain unless you walk through it by yourself. I understood what it feels to be treated like a fatherless, what it is to have a broken soul at home, what it is to have the longing to have all the lost joy back, what it is to struggle to sing again, what it is to struggle to enjoy music again, what it is to struggle not to drown in sorrow.


My choices and decisions in life started to revolve around my family’s situation.

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I found the meaning of true friends. Yes those who stay with you when you grieve, listens to you without judgement are indeed true.


I found a great friend and a well wisher named Ms. Victoria, HOD of English Department at J.P College who played a crucial role in the grieving or healing process of mine. I shared, poured my heart out to her for months. She was there to fulfil the place of a sister whom I never had in my life. The way she helped me to process what I had in mind and the way she helped me to deal with it brought me some comfort to the grief that was in my heart.


Another person who became very close to me from a friend to a sister was my friend named Sheeba Mary, the girl whom I always looked upon as "special". Now I know the reason why she looked so special to me from the rest of us. God was her father throughout her life and adorned her with special abilities and gifts throughout her life. Whenever I talked with her, I totally felt the love of a sister who understands what I was going through. She was a beautiful, independent, smart daughter who was raised by a single mother. The only person who understood what my mother went through after losing her husband, (the pillar of the family) was my dear Sheeba. She was full of empathy and compassion. Our friendship grew in a very meaningful way after every conversation about our families. She knows what it is to walk in my shoes.

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All people have different ways in reacting and responding to a person who goes through loss. I found this out when people visited me.


Some never care and will visit you for the sake of visiting. Some could stay before you when you grieve and have the guts to laugh like nuts.


Some genuinely care, but will be afraid of the responsibility and develop fear to get closer to you. Some openly will say not to trust them to stay by your side always.


Only very few will come, understand, empathise and most importantly will never leave your side. All one needs at the time of grieving is your presence, your shoulder to lean on, your genuine concern.

I often thought how great it would be if people had an understanding heart on what was going on in the family when they were going through the loss.


What if people empathised with them?

What if we stay quietly with them with our presence?

What if we never thought of a fatherless child as a burden?

What if we visited them with a genuine concern?

What if we ignore the society’s stereotype and look at a widow as someone who deserves to live and thrive well in life?


I ask, why not?


We all bleed the same my friend. One of the meaningful things that we can do when one bleeds is not simply watch them die before us. (Yes, many do perish in the grief). But in action, bind them with your love. A word of comfort, a simple visit, right word to brighten their darkness can do wonders. There is no need for us to wait to take action. Yes love is a not only a noun it is also a verb.


When somebody asked Jesus, He rightly pointed out the golden rule as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Let us not wait and stare for somebody or someone's situation to get better. Do the little you could do which you will be wanting them to do to you if you went through the situation like theirs. (It will surely create a great difference in their lives.) It can happen to anyone as death is inevitable.

I watch a vlog named "London Thamizhachi" where the wife Subi Charles is a nurse and the husband Charles is a psychologist. The man offers bites of wisdom now and then. Once he said when someone is sad, the gentle touch of comfort can do more healing, he said showing affection like holding a person's hand is a kind of therapy which works to bring good results. He called it as "Touch Therapy".

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We are the generation who are going through something very remarkable in the times of history.


More than ever, people now search for love, people search for a word of comfort, people search for a meaningful conversation with someone who genuinely cares in these days.


Why can't we be that generation who goes for an extra mile to show that we care and spread the message that "all are loved genuinely".


Giving a call to that long lost friend, forgiving someone who wronged you, forgiving yourself for not standing for people when you should have and actually reach out and do more acts of kindness in the present.


The world now needs love more than ever. Come on, let's do it. It is time to relearn something and do it right.


The regular readers of the blog might find this content not light as usual.


What stirred my soul for this writing is the passing away of the father of my beloved friend Jemima. Uncle John Sunderesan, "Josuda" they lovingly call him, known for his knowledge of the scripture finished his race recently.


In 2015, the dear family of Jemima invited me to stay at their house when I went to Madurai for graduation after I lost my dad. I attended their church service and I also happened to see the library of this wise man, the varied collection of books in his shelf testified his thirst for the word of God.


Josuda Uncle got miraculous healing from COVID 19 in the first wave. Till the end he lived a testimonial life.


Jemima in her Whatsapp message said "Just few hours before his stroke attack, he was preaching the conclusion part of his Bible study on Book of Revelation in YouTube". I can very much relate the same scenario with my dad Sobitharaj, he was in his prayer room meditating on the holy Bible and was praying just few hours before he had his fatal heart attack. Now, I truly, firmly believe that both our fathers will be in the presence of God Almighty, singing the everlasting song of praise, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty.


They left great footprints in the walk of their faith to be followed by the generations to come. Goodbye, until we meet you on the other side of that beautiful shore.

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