Category Archives: Death

Life is a bitch..

There is no other way to say this but no one has it good. In the day and age of social media over load, it may seem that all people do is be happy and make merry. What we don’t share is our daily lives, with its struggles and uncertainties. What doesn’t come through those filters are our insecurities and our fears.

A month ago, my Facebook feed was flooded with R.I.P messages for a young man I met around 9 years ago. He was almost a decade younger than me in college and very shy. I met him and his sister during their spring break. Two typical brown kids in the United States. It was easy for them to see that I understood their very brown parents better than they themselves did and we bonded right away. That level of understanding-misunderstanding made us laugh, talk into the night, and share a closeness I would never encounter again. I never even met the two kids again apart from the occasional interactions via Facebook. And so when I learned of his death I reached out to the sister and parents. The devastation caused by the loss of this young brilliant warm affection human being has touched me as well. One can only imagine what people close to him feel. There is an outpouring of messages on Facebook for this young man even today, a month after his passing.

Last Saturday I was woken up by a frenzy of text messages from my co-worker. His 72 year old ex-military healthy father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer on his first visit to the ER in 30 years. How does one even come to grapple with news like that. There is no cure, there is no hope. What do you tell your family when they look to your for some rationalizing of the impossible. For advise. I can only imagine what my co-worker is going through. He is the youngest of 7 siblings. Being the only physician in the family he is going to have to suck away the last rays of hope this family has at helping their father.

I can go on and on. One may feel that god gives different share of happiness to everyone, but let me assure you, there is equal amount of crap in every ones life that they need to deal with. We didn’t get pregnant with the last IVF cycle. Rather than feeling sorry for ourselves, we are compelled to counting our blessings when we see all the misery around us. I am not even going to get into the misery that is our government, the wars, the famine, the treatable infectious diseases that plague our society. We are even losing our basic sense of decency and respect. I am shattered today for more than one reason. My hope for me, my family and the rest of the world is that despite all the craziness in the world, we can all find some peace!

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Happy Mother’s day!

I could have been getting hugs and kisses and love and perhaps a handmade card and a nice little jewelry box from my husband. Today I could be celebrating mother’s day with two of my children. An older boy who would have just turned 2 and a younger daughter who would be barely 5 months. There could have been picture taken that we would have held dear for all of our lives. I would perhaps be very tired from nursing my new born and have my mom cook me my favorite meal.  We would have celebrated this day together.

But that wasn’t meant to be. I have a certain ache in my heart thinking of the could be, would be and perhaps. Life has other plans I tell myself today. The mind wanders to orphaned children in this world. How their heart aches to get love and mine to give. I think of all the unwanted/unplanned pregnancies. Mothers who neglected and abused their children make me angry. I am not alone, I remind myself. There are many who want to have children and cannot or who got pregnant but lost their babies. I don’t particularly care for women who are undecided. Right now that is making me angry too.

I don’t want to be an unreasonable or angry person. So I call my mom. She always puts life into perspective and reminds me that I am more than my loss and suffering. I am not sure if I should wish her today. She doesn’t subscribe to these days. She calls them  Hallmark days (Hallmark makes money off these days). I wish her anyway. She thanks me and immediately asks me about my graduation ceremony last week. I sense her pride as I tell her about my walk and the high praise my professors bestowed upon me. She asks me about my thesis and my future plans. She wants to buy me a graduation present. She is adamant. She says “her baby” deserves it.

For a moment I forget my pain and I think of what to ask. In that moment I realize how truly blessed I am. I have a mother who loves me and supports me and thinks the world of me. I have the best role model in my mother not only as a human being but professionally. I have experienced unconditional love and undying support. I have seen her be the pillar of strength and hold my family together. I have an anchor in her, not many can boast of. I don’t think anything can surpass such a unique gift all wrapped into one.

I tell her I have her and that is all I’ll ever need. Thank you and Happy Mother’s day mom!

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A very happy birthday to us!

Last week starting Sunday had to be the best and the worst week for me this year.

Sunday kicked off Diwali celebrations in our new apartment. I wasn’t up to company, celebrations, or even embracing the new place. I am not very good with change. But perhaps change is exactly what we needed.

I love birthdays in general. Mine most of all. EVERYONE should know that. This year has been miserably tough. Every birthday I am reminded that I lost my first baby just a day after my birthday. This year I had hoped my second baby would make it to my birthday so we could have had a fighting chance. That didn’t happen either. I almost didn’t want to live through the day, because I didn’t know if I had it in me to face the potential burst of emotions.

The birthday came despite my denial with a promise that four days later it would be my husband’s. The old man turned 40 this year. I decided to give him a birthday he could feel loved, honored and appreciated for who he is! So I took solace that I had something else to think about.

Last week my husband and I experienced pouring in of love, affection, hugs, phone calls and messages. People came out in numbers to join us in our attempt to celebrate life that exists and forget even if for just a second of the life that didn’t make it. I am touched by the effort our friends made to take time out of their busy schedules to ensure we were made to feel special and loved.

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Even though this was a tough week to live by, the universe had other plan for us. With the love we have experienced in the last one week, I feel we are stronger and more prepared for the challenges that lie ahead of us. I got to make my husband feel loved and appreciated and nothing makes me happier than a 40 year old man, feel like a young boy again.

A very happy birthday to both of us! I am ready for the world again 🙂

 

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Friday fives

Five things that don’t help when you have just lost a 6 month fetus!

1. Well wishers tip toeing around you. They want to say something “right”. But they have absolutely no clue what to say. There is no right or wrong. We lost a child. Or the potential of being a real person. We lost our dreams and hopes and aspirations. We lost our own potential. It’s like doing everything you could to get a job, you go through 6 rounds of interviews. In your gut you think you got it this time. Why would you get to the 6th round of it wasn’t meant to be. And yet the job goes to another candidate. Nothing against the other candidate. But why not me? So yeah. There is no “right” thing to say. But say something. It’s a freaking huge loss. Don’t hide behind political correctness. 
2. People telling you, it wasn’t meant to be. Something better is in store for you. This I feel is the worst. This is probably the most true, but it’s also the worst thing to tell a would be mother. It seems like getting pregnant isn’t what it used to be. You know two people have awkward sex at the back of the car and wham! Positive test. It takes months and years of trying, doctors visits, medical treatments, artificial insemination/fertilizations yada-yaad-ya. And even then there are no guarantees. Then the ensuing pregnancy related issues of nausea, taste changes, gi upsets, mood swings, etc etc. Accompanied by doctors visits, injections, tests and more tests. When finally things settle and you start to feel the slightest hint of life inside -those sweet kicks. Then to lose a child. You got to be freaking kidding me. Something better??? Why wasn’t this it? I was so ready to put it all behind me. 
3. Everyone around you seems to be getting pregnant and having healthy babies. How does that happen??? Why didn’t I get my success story? Some of my friends are having their second child. When they want that child- like on demand. And here it took me 16 months to get pregnant that too with help. I want to know what they are doing differently. 
4. Your mom comes to your rescue. I’m sure women like their mums to be around. The whole mother-daughter relationship, understanding, bonds of love, etc. I don’t particularly relate to that. I have a pretty kickass mom. She was on a 15 hour flight to the US within 4 hours of being told, that I was taken to the hospital. She felt rightly so that we would need her. And we do. Just to have another human being, the most well meaning, caring, fabulous cook of an awesome person that she is. However, she insists on daily massages, an agarbatti to the gods, three meals, cheerful conversations and ice cream after every meal. I feel like I need to indulge in her before she loses her shit. She is barely holding it together being brave and strong for her daughter. But I see the pain she feels for her little girl in her eyes. 
5. Having the best husband/ partner in life. If the man you lost a baby with was a bit of a scumbag, then you could throw a tantrum, stay in a bad mood, eat what you wanted to and shut him out of your life. Just to make sense of what life threw at you. But when you see relief intermixed with fear in the eyes of your man as you get wheeled out of the OR, feeling empty and defeated rather than pain and disappointment, you can’t push your rock away. You want to hold them and grieve your loss together. Sometimes you just don’t know how. We make promises of staying strong together. We tell each other we love each other. We promise we won’t give up. We hope to learn and grow from this experience. We will. Yet I know we both are struggling with the pain we each feel our ourselves and for each other. 

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Rerun

I’m heartbroken. But the tears won’t fall. The heart won’t cry. The feelings don’t sting. The words fail me. I’m numb and it’s beginning to worry me. I don’t know when I’m going to break. I know I will. I’ve watched this movie play before my eyes in the past. I know I will be shattered. It’s just a matter of time.

So I hang onto my sanity. Make the right decisions. Assure people around me. I know they are walking on egg shells. They are right to do so. Just like me they are waiting for the ceiling of normalcy to break. Neither of us aware of the aftermath.

I tell myself, I’m going to get past this. I don’t want to give myself a choice. I want to look beyond my loss, the impending grief, the feeling of complete failure. I know all the words that were said before. If I gave people the opportunity they will say them again. I don’t want to. Empty is all I feel.
I remind myself that the two people who care for me the most and truly love me are right here besides me. I’ve got to get it together for them. As it is I who holds them up and keeps them standing strong. I’m not sure I want this burden, but I will bear it anyway.
I want to tell you exactly what I mean. I want to tell you what happened. I want a shoulder to cry on. But the words fail me. The tears won’t fall. The heart won’t cry. The feelings don’t sting. Empty is all I feel.

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Unfulfilled dreams

After having been told that I could not bear children getting pregnant in itself felt like a miracle. Miracles and joy don’t really set in when you don’t allow yourself to be happy. I remained worried, that the miracle would be taken away from me at any time. And it was.

I told myself, I shouldn’t get too attached. Who was I kidding. My very body, mind and soul were attached. I fought the connection, because I kept reminding myself that I am a person of science. I don’t believe in things that cannot be proven, seen, or  reproduced. So how could I be in love. I was in love more than I realized at the time.

Then when I lost my 5 month fetus/baby I was devastated emotionally. I could not pin point why I felt so sad, since I didn’t really know my unborn child. My husband and I don’t talk a lot about him any more, but we both miss what we could have had. A little boy for us to love, for us to grow old with.

We often meet new parents, tired eyes and body, but excited and giddy. The joy and challenges of bringing up a child that lay before them is unmissable. Sometimes I wonder what kind parents my husband and I would make?  Will we love our children enough to make them strong, confident, ambitious, hardworking, and polite. Will we teach them well enough so they would be respectful, kind, generous and humble? I often wonder what my child would have looked like, sounded like?

After all this time, I still breakdown when I think of my unborn child. I feel sad that I couldn’t do more to keep my baby safe. I am sad, that the baby didn’t fight harder for us. I feel sad for all the unfulfilled dreams we had for him.

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The traditionalist?!

Karva Chauth is a day of fasting observed by married women for the health and longevity for their husbands. It is a tradition followed by women from the northern part of India.

As a child growing up in Mumbai, I watched my mother keep this fast every year for my father. The year she started to study again, my father requested her to consume fruits and water so that was the end of stringent fasts. What never changed was the ritual of breaking the fast. My mother would make ‘pukka khana’ and puas. ( traditional formal north indian food with a deep fried sweet treat made with whole wheat four). She would arrange a prayer plate. Seven different ingredients, rice, sugar, almonds, cashews, raisons, puas and some money, plus water for the moon. We, my family of four would await the moon. Once sighted, my mother would pour water in the direction of the moon, say a little prayer, we would all join in. Every year she would  attempt to touch my father’s feet, which is a sign of respect to our elderly. My father would always hold her halfway and hold her in a huge warm embrace. Then he would feed her first morsel and my brother and I would grab the puas. Our favorite part of the day.

I have never forgotten those warm long embraces my parents shared. For me it was always an acknowledgement of their love of each other. That day stood for the promises they made to each other. The commitment they had towards their marriage vows. The acceptance of life with it’s good and bad, but always together. The moment my father would hold my mother, reminded me that everything was okay in our world. Actually scratch that. It was perfect in our world.

So naturally when I got married it would be a day I would share with my husband. I follow pretty much the same ritual. My husband won’t even let me bend to touch his feet. We always hug, he always feeds me my first morsel and I always cook his favorite food. The year I lost my father, I begged him to let me touch his feet. My husband had become the anchor I thought I had lost. That year, he became the son my mother never had, the support my brother thought had lost for ever and so much more. While he understood what it meant to me, he didn’t let me, but he held me tight until I stopped crying. I am not sure if he held me because it was cold or he just knew that I would need that hug to last a little longer.

4 years since then I have never missed Karva Chauth. It is the day I say thanks to my husband for being him, my anchor, my voice of reason, my strength, my friend, my confidant, and hopefully one day the father of my children, while being completely fussed about.

Over the past few years I have noticed that the newer generation of Indian women don’t share the sentiments that I do. They probably don’t care about traditions or consider this a feminist cause to fight. Whatever their motivation, I can respect the choices they make. And just like that I would like for my choices to be respected. Not necessarily accepted but respected.

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