Dealing with loss
Hello and welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine Podcast. I am so happy to be here with you today. The days are becoming extremely busy for me but every time I pull out my laptop to plan or record my episode, it brings me so much joy. Every time, I read a review from you guys, I feel so fulfilled. This podcast has given me an opportunity to work on something that I truly , deeply love. As you know, I love to celebrate the milestone. I love the feeling of accomplishment. Today’s episode is the 20th episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. When I started this podcast, the only thing I decided was to consistently put out the episode every single week. I am so happy that I am able to consistently create 20 episodes. I know I still have a long road to go but I am determined to create episodes every week. What amazes me even more is that I am really enjoying every step of the process. Definitely you have a big role in this. I am grateful for each one of you so thank you, thank you so much for listening to me every week. Today, l am going to talk about a subject which is extremely serious and needs a discussion. Most of the time, we are afraid to even talk about it but I felt really necessary to talk about this subject after recording my last episode. The topic for today’s discussion is dealing with the loss. But before we start discussing this subject, I want you all to think about your happy memory about the loved one who you lost. I want to start and end this episode on a happy note as always, so today, I am going to share a happy memory of my mom and dad. I have tons of fond memories of my parents so to pick one is definitely a difficult task, but let me try.
When I was growing up, we used to have frequent power outages in our town. We used to be without electricity for an hour or so at least once in 10-15 days. I clearly remember, every time, there was a power outage, my mom, dad , me and my sister used to gather in our living room and play Antakshari. Those who don’t know what this game is, let me explain this fun game. One person has to sing a song and then the next person has to sing a song starting from the last sound of the previous song. Only Bollywood songs were allowed. I am sure most of you are not only aware of this game but are expert in it. Am I right? But we used to enjoy playing this game so much that we often used to forget to check if the power is restored. This game was a fun and bonding time for us. You won’t believe it but I actually used to look forward to the power outage. I can still see 4 of us sitting in our living room and playing the game with such a dedication as if our entire singing career depends on it. I loved that time. I would give anything in my power to get this time back with my parents. This is definitely one of the happiest memories I have. I am sure, you also have such fond and happy memories of your loved ones. I want you to think about these happy moments and try to cherish those moments for a couple of minutes. Remember this feeling, hold on to this happy feeling for the rest of the episode. I don’t want this episode to be triggering instead I want you to take away the tools, means to handle the loss. I can understand, the loss in any shape or form is a loss and is definitely painful .I have experienced it first hand. I will be the first one to tell you that it is not easy to just let go of that pain. But as always, I am here to walk the path with you. Together, we will find a way to deal with the loss. So, without any further delay, let’s start discussing the steps, shall we?
Step 1 : Take your time, don’t rush
First and foremost, it is okay to feel sad , it is okay to grieve for any number of days. There is no number that can define your pain. Take your time and don’t rush. It takes time to heal your wounds, especially the wounds that you can’t see. Feelings of grief are different for each person and can take different amounts of time to pass. Believe that your loved ones did not go away, they are still walking beside you everyday, unseen, unheard but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear. It is not easy to forget everything and turn a new leaf. But as the time passes, these feelings will still be there but they will be less intense. It gets better, I am not sure if better is the word, but it gets a little bit easier as the time passes. You somehow start getting used to your new normal but it takes time, a lot of time sometimes. Don’t rush and pretend you are okay just for the sake of others. If you are struggling, work on it and try to come out of it for real and not just for the show. It is okay to take your time to heal yourself. It is okay to take your time to feel better. It never gets easier and you never get over it but time teaches you how to live with that pain, how to handle that loss. So, take your time.
But during these difficult times, try to ground yourself. Let’s discuss those techniques in step 2.
Step 2 : Ground yourself.
When you are dealing with a loss, it is most important to bring those feelings out. Don’t suppress or repress those feelings. You are bound to feel uncomfortable at first but if you keep those feelings suppressed for a long time, those feelings will become more intense. There is a chance of having a complete meltdown or a complete shutdown. Instead it is always better to process your feelings at the right time. There are a number of ways to process your feelings. The easiest way is to talk to a friend or a family member. Talk it out, vent, cry, let your feelings out. It is your safe space, there is no judgment. You will feel better after a heart to heart session with a friend. If talking to a friend or a family member is not something you are comfortable with, then seek professional help. Talk to a counsellor but let your feelings out somewhere right.
Another way to process your feelings is journaling. You know, I have become a big advisor of journaling. Journaling will help you pour your feelings out on a piece of paper. I guarantee you that you will feel better after writing your feelings. It is for you, my friend. Nobody is expecting you to show them your thoughts, so be as much honest as you can and write your feelings about this loss.
One more way to process the feelings is meditation. Spend some time thinking inward. Sit in quiet and peace and meditate for some time. If you are new to this mediation practice, use guided meditation. There are thousands of videos available for guided meditation on Youtube.
Of course, how can I forget our usual helpful points. If you want to feel better, the easiest thing that you can do is move your body, go for a walk , do a quick home workout. This is an instant mood lifter.
Eating healthy during the emotionally turbulent time is extremely important. Most of us reach for unhealthy food options when we are suffering emotionally. Every time, you feel emotionally drained, you try to eat your emotions through junk food. But this will not make you feel better, instead after you realize your eating pattern, you will feel guilty and even more drained emotionally. It is better to avoid it at its root. If you are feeling lonely, sad, drained , process those feelings with either talking to someone, journaling , exercising but definitely not with unhealthy food.
I know this episode is getting heavy but that is the demand of this topic. I know, so many of us have lost our loved ones. It is hard to process those feelings. My mom passed away when I was just 12. I don’t think I even understood how to process my feelings. Even after these many years, I still feel a sudden burst of sadness. Everytime, I hear my friends talking about their moms and how fun it is to visit their mom’s house. Everytime, I hear my friends talking about their parents and how they dearly love their grandkids. Everytime, I hear my friends talking about the help that they get because they live nearby their parent’s house, it breaks my heart. Don’t take me wrong, I am not jealous of my friends. But hearing all those things, takes me into a series of emotions. I feel sad, lonely, helpless, sometimes, even angry at my parents for leaving me alone. I know these are a lot of emotions to process. After 23 years, I am still finding ways to handle those emotions. Talking to my sister is definitely the best way for me because we are in the same boat. She exactly understands what I am feeling. We become each other’s support system in those trying times.
Find your support system and use it next time, you feel lonely, sad and emotionally drained.
Now, as I promised you in the beginning of the episode, I want you to feel joyful after listening to this episode even though the topic is very sensitive. Listen to the next two steps to know what I am talking about.
Step 3 : Think what you can learn from them or this experience.
Always remember, every loss has its own message. Maybe it is teaching you how to be more loving or it might be teaching you how to be more resilient, how to be more independent, how to adjust when your surroundings are changed drastically. But you won’t be able to see those messages if you don’t work on your emotions first. Once you have a handle on your emotions, try to think what you can learn from this experience.
I would suggest going beyond this. I know, it is hard to lose a loved one. You can not stop thinking about that person. I can totally understand that it is not possible to forget this loss and just move on. But what I am trying to say is try to look for the qualities of your loved one. Think about their best qualities, the ones you loved and then try to learn from them. Try to acquire those qualities.
When I think of my mom, I always remember her management skills. She was just plain amazing in managing home and her career. Even a 12 year old me could see her efficiency of managing time perfectly. She was always neatly dressed. She was always cheerful. She was brilliant in her work. I still remember her solving tough maths problems without any pen and paper. She was a working woman but I don’t remember feeling neglected. She always made sure that she takes a day off on our birthdays and bakes a homemade cake. I fondly remember her love for cooking different dishes. These are the qualities I remember when I think of my mom. I would like to learn from her, from her memories. I would love to be a mom who works and still gives a dedicated time to her kids. I would love to be a person who values time. I am still learning from her even when she is not physically here. But her memories are mine and those are not going anywhere. I am determined to keep some of her traditions alive, like baking a cake for my kids birthday each year. I am keeping my mom alive in my mind through these small gestures. I am slowly coming to a point where I feel happy when I think of her. It is a long journey and I am nowhere close. There are days when I feel sad not to her by my side. But those days are becoming less frequent and days where I look at her as an inspiration are surfacing more and more.
Try this step and I am sure you will eventually reach a point where the memories of your loved ones start bringing you joy. That is exactly what we will be discussing in the next step.
Step 4 : Remember the fond memories.
Life is all about changes, we discussed that in a previous episode. There can be uncertain situations in life. Either expected or unexpected loss of a loved one is always always difficult. There is no perfect way, no perfect prescription to cope up with the loss. So trust yourself. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to be scared. I remember feeling extremely sad, lonely every time, my birthday rolls around. To date, I miss my mom’s homemade cake and her enthusiasm to celebrate the day. But I am trying to navigate myself out of that lonely feeling. Now, I surround myself with fond memories of my parents. I tell my kids stories of my parents. I tell them a lot of fun memories. My and I had a very special bond. He never treated me like a child. He always treated me like his equal, always involved me in all decisions. I inherited two major traits from my dad. His love for Bollywood movies and his punctuality. He was a movie buff. He had a friend who owned a movie theatre. My dad and I saw countless movies in his theatre, sometimes without tickets. We could discuss a movie for hours. I enjoy remembering those fun discussions. I cherish those lengthy discussions about the number of songs in a Bollywood movie. I loved watching those old golden era movies of Dilip Kumar with him and he enjoyed watching all Madhuri Dixit’s movies just for my sake. I love even thinking about these special moments. Same thing for his punctuality. He was an Anesthesiologist by profession. He was always the first one in the Operating room in any given surgery at any given time. Sometimes, we used to hate his love for reaching on time all the time. But he did not care about our tactics to slow him down. He was like a clock himself, always on time and always on duty. I never realized that I have inherited this gene from him, but my husband pointed this out to me a few years back. Honestly, I almost panic if I feel that we are getting late anywhere. I always have to be on time. I find it funny how I got this from him unknowingly.
I cherish this fondly. This is my way of remembering my parents. I think of fond, lovely memories of them. I try to think of all the happy memories I have of them. It is hard sometimes, it is not all that easy always. I miss them even after these many years. I miss talking to them, I miss their support, I miss their presence but I am trying to be strong and present for my kids, for my family.
Losing someone is always a challenge and the one left behind has to navigate his way. But if we truly love them, it is always better to cherish their memories through the happy moments that you spent together. There is a quote, “Grief is like an ocean. It comes like waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes, the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. Only thing we can do is learn to swim.
On this note, let’s recap this episode, today, we talked about the ways to deal with the loss. As I said, loss is tough. You never understand how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. You have to be strong for yourself, your family and these ways might help you to just do that,
Step 1 : Take your time, don’t rush
Step 2 : Ground yourself
Step 3 : Learn from your loved ones
Step 4 : Remember the fond memories
This week, I want you all to think about all the fond memories you have of your loved ones and cherish those with open hearts. Cheer up. I am here for you always as your virtual friend. Give yourself a warm hug, you have been through a lot. You are strong, you can do this. Always, always remember, when someone you love becomes a memory then that memory becomes a treasure, so cherish it, protect it and love that treasure with all your might.