Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Fallen Petal...
Photo Courtesy: 
It had been almost 6 months that I had lost my best friend, my confidante, my mentor, the one person with whom I could always be me, with whom I felt most confident and happy. It still did not feel real and all I kept wanting was to go back and get her to be with me. Why had I let her go? How had I not known her importance in my life, when I had her? These questions haunted me day and night. I was not myself without her and no matter how hard I tried to be happy, the tiny pangs of guilt and sorrow kept pinching me.

I was on the verge of falling into the depths of depression, so deep as to never be capable enough to rise out of that. And yet, it did not feel like I was facing depression. Like every other person facing depression, I was not yet ready to accept that I was treading on a path, revival from which was impossible. I thought it was okay to feel sad and numb and motivation-free all the time. Was it not my fault that I had let her essence slip through my fingers? So why shouldn’t I be punished? Maybe this was destiny’s way to get back at me and hand out to me what seemed only fair at that time to me.

I went through all the phases a person faces after going through a loss: denial, retaliation, sorrow and finally acceptance. Very soon I realized that overcoming these phases to be at peace is not as easy as it looks and each person takes a different amount of time to go through each of the phases. The first phase of denial was the most painful one because I was still under an illusion. I kept trying to get her back, trying to find ways to revive her. I truly believed she could make a comeback, and be with me forever. My family and friends were patient at first, and did not stop me, hoping that this would pass soon and might help me come to terms with the reality. But, soon enough they realized how self-destructive my actions were becoming. The paranoia and obsession of bringing her back was taking me far, far away from reality into the land of dangerous hallucinations.

Once my family knocked out my split thought process, I was angry at them for dragging me out of the imaginary world of harmony. I was angry, upset, agitated and disgusted all the time. I had to find someone to blame for my loss, so that I would not feel guilty. And who better than caring friends? In life, all of us deal with rough times in the same way, using our loved ones as punching bags, hoping they would still care about us enough to ignore our foolishness and still want to stay around. In retrospect, I feel lucky to have been blessed with such wonderful people in my life, who never left my side even when I was at my worst and they let me heal at my pace.

Pretty soon, I got tired of being angry and harboring mounds of bitterness within me, and I gradually moved on to being sad and teary-eyed. It was emotionally draining for me and I felt exhausted all the time. I had realized that no amount of anger was going to bring back what I had lost, and it was best to accept the truth. But acceptance doesn’t come so easily, you have to feel the heat of having burnt your hands, taste the salt in your tears, let your throat dry up, witness your skin feeling torn and parched, and hear the sound of your heart breaking every day. When you have hurt yourself as much as you could, pondering over 'what could have been', and you can longer find strength within you to answer the questions, you give up. And you are left with nothing, but to move on to accepting reality.

I hate having to quit and not having answers, and it broke my heart every miniscule moment of my life, not being able to find out, why I had been dealt this unfair hand. I had heard people surrendering to God, and finding answers there, but I couldn’t find words that would soothe me even there. I rapidly, started losing faith in him too. But, I kept thinking what it was that He was hinting at. And I couldn’t help, but wonder, what was it that I was expected to do. Was I supposed to make a path for myself and find a way to make peace?

This was when I tried everything possible to help me find my way, I was not going to quit anytime soon. My friend would have wanted that. She hated seeing me down and out, and fragile. She could not have tolerated to see me paralyzed by destiny and being kicked in the rut. She would have wanted me to stand up for myself, and not be cowardly enough to blame fate. I held her hand, and embarked on a journey to appease her, and redeem myself back. She loved flowers, every single petal, with fragrance and color that she saw around her. I decided I would find our great memories by designing a small, but pretty garden. I signed up for online mentoring programs, where I could be with little kids and help them with homework and projects. This was one of the best ways to feel her presence, since she loved kids and teaching was what brought her the most pleasure. I indulged myself in art and unearthed my dust-covered art supplies to go back to one of the things that we had bonded over and found penultimate pleasure with. She loved travelling and learning new things, so I vowed to explore every nook and cranny around town, that held any ounce of history or diversity. I found myself falling in love with books again and depending on the local library to be my Knight in Shining Armor. I knew it had been on her bucket list to be able to read lots of books. I was hoping through my tryst with books, I would meet her halfway.

My best friend, who was everything to me was my soul, it was ME! 

lost my job 6 months back! That day, a part of me died; knowing that I couldn’t go back to work for a few more years due to some unavoidable circumstances. I missed my job, I missed my teaching endeavors, I missed my students, I missed having to read through their essays, and grading papers. That piece of me was amiss, and it took me a long time to overcome the huge loss, but in the process, I discovered that there was a lot more to me than just my job. Yes, I was a Teacher, but I also was an artist, a nature-lover, a book fanatic, a blogger and more so, a person to whom their family meant a lot. The past few years have been rough on a lot of us, and there must be many others like me, who lost their jobs, but if you cannot do anything about it, the least you could do is to be fair on yourself and try to rediscover yourself. Although the loss of a family member is harsh, if you lose yourself, there is nothing else in life that matters. You are incapable of appreciating anyone or anything in life, if you feel incomplete. I have vowed that I am not going to let that happen again, and even if I lose one part of myself, I am determined not to let that bring me down because one loss could mean finding many more different facets of my personality.

This post was submitted to the Short Memoir Contest, entitled  "Overcoming Loss" on Biographile.


  1. I like the mystery surrounding the identity of your "friend"...but your story needs more to connect the reader. It's clearly about you and this loss but you have to give your reader a way in. There are also some weak sentences: "overcoming these phases to be at peace is not as easy as it looks." This sentence is awkward and there is some tense confusion for me. I would try to edit this some more until the story is really tight and crisp.

    1. Thank you for the insightful critique! It really helps to hear from readers to know what they are perceiving of the story. Actually, I did edit some of the portions in the story, before sending it in for the contest, but kept it the same here. I am not sure what you meant, when you said I need to give the reader a way in. Do you mean, I shouldn't have kept the suspense till the end? Or add something that people could relate to?
      Thanks again!

      P.S. By the way, who is this?

  2. That's indeed a nice post. Rediscovering ourselves is needed at some point in life for sure.


    1. Thanks Namrata... It indeed is important to be in touch with your soul and innermost feelings, to be able to truly lead a happy life :)

  3. Replies
    1. Sorry ..... I get agitated too, when these crazy captcha codes come up :)

  4. I agree that when a dear one is lost it takes time to cope up. Nevertheless it is not impossible. Time is a great healer. At the same time if one looses confidence in self then its really hard to cope up with that. It needs great deal of grit to regain self confidence. Every passing day adds insult to the injury & confidence level keeps going down. Best way is to find out an alternative where you can rebuild yourself. It helps two ways, one that you utilise your time & energy in rebuilding & second that does not give you time to ponder upon the past. No individual has only one talent only thing is that it was never explored. Encouragingly well written.
    Kailash .M.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it always helps to get input from readers :)


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