Living in the answers a healing journey
Updated: Jul 23
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke
The more I search for answers to my questions the further away I find myself from them. The deeper I dwell within the why’s the further I retreat within my shell.
These swirling questions in my head are similar to a glass of cognac…the only difference being that I am able experience and taste the richness of each sip. It dawned on me did that in searching for the answers I had centered myself and made it about my feelings and what I was going through and in doing so, distanced myself from the cruel experiences that my parents had endured until their very last breath. I had to taste, feel, hear, sense and smell what they went through. I wanted some kind of understanding.
Landing in India during the peak of the cruel second wave (April) is an experience that I will never be able to forget. It is imprinted in my memory forever. I could smell, taste and feel the fear even the sounds of dogs barking, birds chirping and the peacocks were no more. There was an eerie silence through out the day and night except for the sounds of ambulances. The comfort from spending the few hours with my father until he passed away has kept me going but not being able to see mum saddens me deeply.
Since my return to India I have been spending time with friends and family of my parents. Listening to each of them talk of those last few moments leading up to mummy’s hospital admittance. The courage she showed and how alert and aware she was of what was happening to her. Till the very end she was more worried about daddy staying safe and making sure I knew where and who to get in touch with when I arrived.
I spent numerous hours chatting with two of the most important people in my parents day to day life. What they did during the second wave which literally paralyzed a country and her people has touched me so deeply. I will forever be indebted to their kindness and care. They went far and beyond... especially at a time when many were frightened of what it may do to them.
The more I spent listening to others the clearer it became to me of what many experienced during the second wave was unimaginable and difficult to put into words. There was utter chaos and panic. Every single person was trying to save a loved one. The hospitals were overflowing and the frantic search for oxygen was incomprehensible. It was gut wrenching to see fear on their faces even now, to feel the pain in their voices and hearts. They were heartbroken as much as myself for the simple reason that we were limited in what we could do or offer due to the nature of the ravaging disease.
I realized that pain and loss was felt deeply by all. Even through their own grief the community has been very much here for me. Their warm hugs and soothing voices have been comforting and caring. People still stop me as I take an evening walk within the grounds to share their stories of my parents and to reassure me that as a daughter I did all that was possible given the circumstances.
The more I made time to listened to others as they recounted my parents last moments the more I began to understand their ordeal. It was one of the most difficult period for them. The decisions that were taken were out of fear and safety. It was a matter of life and death.
The questions that once swirled in my head slowly began to separate making room for space and before I knew it I was slowly moving into that space where being present in that space was all that mattered.
I needed to hear their harsh truth not focus on my own pain. For healing to happen I had to step away from own negative narratives and self harshness and to put the broken pieces together I had to stop searching for answers and wait to be invited in by them....the answers.
It was necessary for me to step out of my own self induced confinement and physically be living in my parents home, surrounded by everything of theirs. Touching, holding, having conversations and being a part of the community has been therapeutic and healing for me.
Tears still surface when I see pictures or reminisce about them but it’s not out of guilt, sorrow, anger, shame or frustration. More out of tenderness and knowing that even though they were apart they were very much attached to each other spiritually even in death.
I have slowly found myself living with the answers to my questions. It is something so simple yet so profound. Small reminders that my parents would always say to me when things became difficult or uncomfortable.
“Accept things as they are” AND “At times you have to be practical in life ” these words resonate clearly within my heart, these words are the answers to my swirling questions.
Artwork by : Nalanda West