While we had just started coming to terms with the disruptions made by 2020, we were struck by the devastations of 2021. By far, the toughest year we have lived. The news of our acquaintances losing a family member, a close friend, an office colleague began doing the rounds daily. Covid scare constantly kept dangling on our heads like a sharp dagger. I too went through the loss of a loved one who was very close. A friend going through a crisis and our favourite aunt who loved us so dearly and warmly welcomed us in her small house whenever we visited her is no more. After my grandmother’s demise, this was my second experience of someone so close leaving me forever.
Amid this turbulence, a tsunami of Mental Health was about to hit all of us hard. Mental Health is all about how we feel and act. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), USA, 42Mn people suffer from anxiety disorders, 60Mn have major depression issues and another 6Mn have bipolar disorder. These are just in the US. So the global number is much higher.
Constant posts of friends & relatives losing someone dear threw me in a different zone, trying to understand the suffering that has been around. Always worried for my loved ones, knowing the fear around me, and I just kept praying for the safety and good health of the universe.
When someone dies, the body is placed on a pallet, wrapped in a sheet, and carried through the streets to the burning grounds while a mantra is chanted. Death is out in the open for everyone to see. The body is right there. It isn’t lying on the floor. But in this difficult & helpless time of COVID, we aren’t even allowed to see the body or let give a proper funeral to our loved ones.
Spiritual Master, Sadhguru simplifies death in his blog –
“Some people are dear to us because they have enhanced our lives in some way, maybe in many ways. They mattered to you because, in some way, they were wonderful to you. Let the memory of them bring back those wonderful aspects, rather than drive you into grief and depression. Driving yourself into grief and depression means you have not come to terms with the most fundamental aspect of life – mortality.”
Lessons Learnt During the Pandemic:
1. Stay in touch and give a call to people who matter the most
2. Show the dear ones how much you love them and appreciate the time you have spent with them
3. Pray for the safety and health of people who are suffering
4. Be compassionate towards what the world needs. At this time, it is your prayers, compassion, love and care
5. We need to be proactive and predictive and build resilience. We need to build social and emotional strength along with our immune resilience
6. Yoga and meditative practices are great tools to build immunity. With Yoga, you can see short term immediate effects. Yoga can also help people having a milder form of depression, anxiety and sleep
7. Show gratitude by simply counting your blessings
How I Am Getting Over the Grief?
We as a family used to spend at least a week with our aunt in Konkan. She was very hardworking, caring and loving. Just by looking at her photos or how she would react to particular things, brings a smile to my face. Sole caretaker of the house and her garden was so lively in her presence. Remembering the house, trees in the front yard, the small lanes of the village where she would wait for our arrival and when we used to leave, her goodbyes and telling us to visit in our next summer holidays gave us the satisfaction of another level. The rage against covid is obvious, I wanted to scream and bash someone when I heard that aunt is no more and we couldn’t see her in her last times or perform last rites as this couple stayed away from us and we couldn’t travel, and we were helpless because we had tested positive.
However, This Is How I Am Processing the Feeling at Present
1. Talking to my mother, sister and family members and trying to address the void that has been created. I try to share the loss that I had in our family. It has been 13 days since she has left us.
2. Looking at her photos and remembering all the good times we spent with her is one more way to bring back the memories.
3. Thinking about how meticulous she was in her cooking skills and trying to match up what I learnt from her is one of the ways.
4. Understanding the suffering and death as a whole concept from spiritual masters would simplify things to us, and that’s exactly what I am doing these days.
5. It took me more than 2 years to come out of this feeling when my grandmother passed away. Slowly, it started sinking in, and this is the reality around.
6. By sharing grief with my best friends and family gave me a slight passage to my feelings.
I am no expert on this subject, but these are my experiences. Everyone else’s experience might be different, but we are all in this together. There’s a lot of wisdom hidden with elders of the family; speak to them, understand and take care of them.
When Will Things Get Better?
It will get better gradually as you begin to find meaning in the loss and appreciate the relationship you had, no matter how long it lasted. Cherishing the good times spent with that person can bring happy memories. Time will heal everything. Be patient.