The point of it all

Sometimes I wonder what’s the point of it all. We work, we eat, we live, we pray, we fight and we die.

We just die. We stop breathing and we cease to exist.

All that effort, every single drop of blood shed, whisked away in an instant. To be snuffed out like a candle, when everything seems to be going your way.

What is the point of it all?

There are days when nothing seems worthwhile and other days when everything makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. That’s life, though, isn’t it?

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I lost a friend earlier this week and although it’s been five days, I can’t stop thinking about her every single day. Every morning begins with the sight of her face and a vision of her kids, wondering how they will now have to wake up to a life, every day without their mother. A husband will sit across from an empty chair, his eyes holding the tears of a lifetime.

Then, this evening, out on my walk, a chance conversation with a friend turned into a reliving of her personal story of loss- one that shook me to the core. To lose someone is bad enough, but to lose them and then be denied access to their remains is a whole new level of grief. I cannot share more details, out of respect for her and her privacy.

Because, no matter what I say, one’s grief is intensely personal. People walk up to me and say, ‘I am sorry for your loss. I know how it feels’. And a part of me wants to shake them hard and scream, ‘You don’t! You can’t know how it feels. You don’t know how it feels to feel the tears well up in your eyes right in the middle of a happy scene in a movie or feel a tugging of intense sadness amidst the crazy dance moves belted out by your nine-year-old. You don’t know!’

But I cannot say it. I must smile sadly and nod in agreement, because that’s what we do. We put on the masks of propriety and social decorum because who wants to see a grown woman cry with tears streaming down her face every time she walks past the badminton court and recalls the thrill of playing a sweaty, invigorating game with that best friend?

All those inspirational messages and happy posters on the wall about enjoying the journey are somehow wasted, utterly and completely wasted, when I think of a 41-year-old woman struck down without reason.

Yet (yes, of course there’s a yet), it’s not all in vain. We step out, you know, when this happens. We step out of our comfortable cocoons of mundane and pedestrian coffee-drinking and stand for a few minutes in the rain. Soaking up the warmth of the sun mitigates the cold hand of despair, albeit in a small way. We call up friends, reach out to them, hoping they will give us their hands.

Most often, they do. Sometimes, they don’t, because we have been too busy for them. We have been living our shells of lives, shutting out the noise of reality. And it hurts. It hurts like the dickens when you are misunderstood and friends turn away and a part of you stops explaining anymore.

But, the point of it all?

The point of it all is that although we are hurtling down the same track towards the inevitable, a part of us will always want to stay right here, in some way or the other. In my mind, I am hoping that it will be two things that I leave behind:

my words and my character.

Everything else will disappear with me.

That’s as it should be.

16 thoughts on “The point of it all

  1. How very terrible to hear that, Asha. Again, I cannot even tell you how that feels because I have lost an uncle to cancer, not a father, but a father-figure. Yet I know that your grief is intensely individual. So yes, we move through life in a languid haze and hope that the fog lifts at some point and we can breathe in the ether of normalcy.

    Yes, spirituality has always been my salavation too. Glad to have found my Guru at the age of 16. It’s what keeps me going on every single day.

  2. Absolutely. Making each moment count seems like an awful lot of effort. I try to live in the moment and do the best I can- write, not write, laze, read a book, chide my kid, cook- I mean, it’s the monotony that actually saves me on most days from a complete breakdown. Thank heavens for boredom.

    Sorry for the late response. Too many things happening otherwise but I do apologise for not replying this long.

  3. I really needed the space to come back and comment on this post again. Now that I have the advantage of perspective, I realise that life happens, death occurs and life goes on. Really is nothing left to grieve. She is gone and we are left behind. As simple as that. Yes I hope we always feel human. What a beautiful thought, Uma <3

  4. Somebody who has lost, knows and somebody who has not lost, cannot know.Sad but true. Difference between sympathy and empathy. I lost my dad to cancer in a matter of 4 months after he was diagnosed. I can relate to a lot of feelings that you are going through, but I can also say with confidence, that I have grieved and I have healed. The scars will always remain and there are days when the scars will pain like fresh but then that’s how it will be for the rest of my life. And this too, I have accepted. He had to go as his time had come. All circumstances just colluded and there was nothing we could have done to avert it.
    When the questions about pointlessness troubled me, I found a release in spirituality. I hope you find your release too.

  5. That is the difference between living and survival, isn’t it? To make each moment count is the least that we can do. It doesn’t need to leave an impact or have a point – as long as we kept moving.

  6. No words… What can I say? Your pain is so raw and intense. And the reality is when you think you have come to terms with grief and bereaving, you actually haven’t. Because grief has a way of creeping upon you in a most unsuspecting moment to deluge you, long long after the loved one is gone. I guess, we can never come to terms with loss, only perhaps with an altered reality… Take care and take your time. Love, Priya

  7. It is really sad. I had seen your facebook post and I felt, a woman so young has no right to die. I can only imagine her family getting through life. But time is the greatest healer. People may leave us, but not their memories.

  8. I really don’t know what to say. I know how this feeling is…It took me over a year to get over the death of my paapan (fathers brother) and it just reduces with time..but strikes you again and again whenever anyone talks about death. With his death I thought a lot for what you just perfectly penned down but that has almost started to fade. I guess this is again a reminder to live a mindful life. You only exist in the words of others, once you die. Yeah I said it. I am not scared of dying, just scared that I will.not do anything meaningful for anyone. If one person befits from my life, I would feel more than ready to die. I guess I said too much . 🙂 See, this is why I like u. You say things that make me want to say what I feel out into the open. May you always feel as human as you do now. :*

  9. Those two things will be the legacy you leave behind, Shailaja. I have nothing else to add to this because you know that we’re on the same page. Stay strong and let’s push ahead.

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