You’re Always On My Mind

WHATEVER I AM TODAY IS BECAUSE OF YOU.
THEN THAT TIME ARRIVED, AND YOU HAD TO GO.
NOW, I MUST LIVE WITH THAT GAPING HOLE IN MY HEART FOREVER.

Six months have passed since that fateful day, when my father suddenly left us for his heavenly abode. Since then my life has changed forever. There were so many things that I used to take for granted, so many things that he would handle, things that never percolated down to us.

Even at the ripe age of 80, he was fully active and fully functional. He never depended on me or anybody for anything. His incredibly strong mind was a complete mismatch to his short height, small frame, and lean structure. He had boundless compassion for every living being – children, people (especially those that society decides to place on the lower rung), birds, caterpillars, worms, bees, butterflies, dogs, flowers, plants, fruits, etc., etc. An introvert, his ways were unusual and sometimes quite hilarious, especially when he tried to mask his compassionate self. A man of less words (except while criticizing politicians), his actions always spoke louder than words. He was headstrong too, both in a negative and positive way. It was difficult to dissuade him once he made up his mind about something, though in family matters he made sure to consult with all concerned stakeholders.  

My favourite picture of my parents, clicked at Agra Fort. History fascinated him and visits to forts and palaces would be associated with a lot of narration to my mother.

Losing a parent is one of the most difficult things to come to terms with, it’s like losing a part of yourself. It feels like you have lost your anchor in the rough sea. Someone had once told me that you feel like the roof over your head is gone and that’s exactly how I have been feeling. In his absence, I feel completely exposed and vulnerable. And on days like today, when I am unwell, such feelings start sky rocketing.

The weird thing is that I never needed my father as much. As a child, I grew up in a joint family and hence had many adults to go to. As an adult, I have always been very independent. I come from one of those relatively rare Indian families where there patriarchy is almost non-existent and no restrictions are placed on you because you are woman. There are family rules but those are equally applicable to all, irrespective of their gender. Hence, I have always taken my own decisions and did what I wanted to do. It was rare, if ever, I asked his advice for something. And, if I ever did his response was the usual – “Do what you think is best.” Having said that, there have been multiple occasions when he jumped in just at the right moment to protect me from a fall. And if I did fall, he was right there to lift me up.

My parents were tired of the hot and humid weather but this one’s for keeps, obviously so.

Two days back, I had to visit the hospital for an appointment with the doctor, the sights of old and frail people in wheelchairs made me extremely negative and upset. I could only express my gratitude to the Almighty that I didn’t have to see my strong father become weak, bedridden, and dependent. He would have reaped the benefit of some good karma that enabled him to transition so smoothly and painlessly.

The one good feeling that I continue to carry is the feeling of no regrets. I have no regrets whatsoever about how I conducted myself while my father was alive or what I could have done for him. Though I live alone in Bangalore, I made sure to visit home at least once a year. Again, my parents made sure they visited me once a year. The best part is that we spent time traveling together, especially in the last 4 years. The travel bit makes me the happiest as my father loved traveling and in the last decade, he couldn’t do much because of age-related health issues.  

The last holiday we did together at Rameshwaram just 5 months before he left us.

I can only hope that he will be with me and guide me to walk the right path always. He will guide me to manage the things that he managed so well – things that I never had to put my mind on to. He will enable me to be as strong as he was in discharging my duties towards the rest of my family.

I sum up with a quote from C.S. Lewis that I can so relate to – “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

22 thoughts on “You’re Always On My Mind”

  1. “I’m very satisfied with your service. Thank you so much!” So said your father to the guide at the Taj, and so you could say to him. He will always be with you. I lost my father a little over 67 years ago and still feel his presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so touching. This gap is too large to be filled. But we have memories of the happy and independent life he led. And fulfilled his role so correctly, without hand holding but being an umbrella of protection to call back to whenever you required. And the bit about rants on politicians – so familiar 🙂
    I do hope the doctor visits are over and you are recovered by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The rants on politicians is a very “bengali-father” thing of that generation I guess 😛
      I really like your Umbrella analogy, it so aptly describes the feeling.
      And, I am not well. In fact got worse but recovering now. Hence this delayed response and apologies for the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, put two of that generation in a room and they forget the world, even better if their political ideologies are contrasting from each other 😀

        Really sorry to know you were not well, do get well soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the reply he gave you when you sought his opinion ensured you always made sane & intelligent choices. Parting is always difficult especially the ones that are not anticipated. Introverts are usually misunderstood in societies like India, I’m glad you could understand him, truly, Neel. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right about Introverts. This reminds me of a TED Talk I watched recently called the “Power of Introverts”. It was really good. But I guess most often than not immediate family and friends accept you as you are. At least I hope so….
      And, my apologies for the delayed response. Have been unwell in the past few days.

      Like

      1. I guess most Asian societies don’t fully understand introverts. Fair skin and extrovert personality is considered as positive attribute. Anyways, what happened? Hope you are better now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It was just Tonsil Infection that went very wrong as it wasn’t treated on time. The doctors over focus on Covid aggravated the situation. I had a toothache too. Have written a blog post on it yesterday.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s bad. I guess the COVID fixation seems to be ruling here. Since a lot of symptons are common, a more thorough analysis should have been done. I hope you are better now, Neel. Take care. Nature therapy always helps, if not physcially, at least spiritually. So hike and enjoy sunrises and sunsets. Will check out your post. Thanks for updating.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes Neel : Time Heals Nothing! And yes he looks good and energetic. Just remember the good and positive things of life with him and he would always be with you. My wife has been with me like this for the past ten years.
    In our family too there was never any gender distinction and my four older sisters have always been more than equal.

    All the very best Neel. Though time heals nothing it does teach us how to handle our pain. Love and blessings 😊🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry to hear about your wife. At the same time happy to know that you feel her presence in your life. Of late, I am noticing that I am increasingly becoming like my father in certain ways, which surprises me, makes me a little happy too. Times heals nothing and you just learn to live with it, that’s what most people tell me. Good to know that your family treats everyone equally. That’s something to feel grateful for too.

      Liked by 1 person

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