In the recent past, I have been feeling low and have had nagging thoughts about life.
Last year my mother passed away, yet life never took a single break. Some days pass by, thinking about her, the moments with her and her life until it ended.
A scene that haunts me- her inability to speak for her last two days because of ventilator pipes that the doctors had to insert to stabilize her ‘critical’ condition.
Those unforgettable 55 hours…
After five hours of admitting her to the hospital, I was allowed to see her in the ICU. Draped in blues, her eyes opened, fluttering around in confusion, her mouth moved. I stood at the foot of the bed, silently watching her calling my name, but she found no voice. Taking deep breaths, I went closer to her, held her hand, told her I was there. She questioned with her eyes, ‘where am I?’ Gently, I told her it was the hospital. With a frown, her eyes focused, she was trying to recall the ‘how?’.
A series of events went on until all her family was by her side. Her eyes were closed, only opened when we called her. It seemed she was in a world far away. Whenever she returned, I saw she had something to say but couldn’t say it. Her hands now didn’t have the power to write. All she could do was look, both physical and mental pain making her eyes tearful.
Every day, mom and I slept alongside, and that night too, slumber had just caught up with us, yet separately. A few moments later, I was woken up only to know that there was a difference in our sleep patterns.
She slept forever that night.
Memories… The torn pieces of the heart reflect many of them. But sometimes, looking back at these memories, one ends up with enlightenment of a new lesson of life.
As I sat by the lake, immersed in my memory treasure, I realized- Each day passes, each second that ticks by are promising never to return and yet, there are so many things to say to those I love that I am carrying as baggage.
I questioned my heart; what was it that stopped me from pouring out my heart to those I love? Thankfully I had told my mom the things I wanted to. But what about the others? Do I really want that lying in my deathbed I’m wondering ‘if only I could speak…’, ‘if only I could see him/her…’, ‘if only one of those around me was a mind reader…’ ‘if only… Had I said it all before…’?
Would I really want to think all the ‘what if(s)?’ when death is calling?
No, I don’t.
The one thing I dread of is dying in regrets for not pouring out my feelings and not fulfilling my dreams. Yeah, it’s easy to think that life has just started; I’m not old enough to worry about death yet. But isn’t that irony of life?
We never take chances or risks, thinking we have loads of days to come. But death comes like an uninvited guest. So, can I really think it couldn’t come today or the next moment? Leaving some unsaid/undone things on a random chance, a chance that might not ever even come, is really risky. Risky for the sanity and peace of our minds. For days I kept thinking. Fearing… Another realization hit me. One:
We don’t fear to say, to pour our hearts out. We fear the reaction of the listener of the world. We fear to be left alone. We just fear too much. We get selfish for the things/people we love because we love them and can’t really let go.
Chances demand to be taken. Somethings don’t just happen ‘by chance’. We cause the chances to happen and don’t really realize it.
In my life, I’ve fallen in love twice- with my mother and a stranger.
My mother knew I loved her. For four years, I suppressed my feelings to never let the stranger know what he made me feel. He became a friend, a friendship I’d cherish for my entire life as I’ve learned so much from this one person.
“You meet thousands of people & none of them really mean anything to you. And then you meet one person, and your life is changed forever.” – John Green.
Yes, my life changed. I learned what it meant to love, to have desires, to live with the pain. On the other hand, my mother left an incredible message for me- love enough to let go, let the person choose his/her way and fulfil his/her wishes.
Although, for many, this isn’t fair because of the selfishness that comes in between. Thoughts like ‘why always me?’, ‘why do I have to lose everyone I love?’. But my interpretation of these experiences, of ‘what it actually means to love someone with all your heart?’ is different.
In my early teenage, I came across a few beautiful quotes like:
The moral of the short story, The Gift Of Magi, by O.Henry, Self Sacrifice is a way to true love. (Although the characters in the story sacrifice their best possessions to buy a Christmas gift for their beloved.)
I never understood the depth of these. It happens with many who say ‘we should selflessly love’, either because they have actually experienced it or an event/text reading left such a strong impression on them because they know love is hard. It isn’t painful, yet the expectations and hopes of it do hurt.
My friend recently got in touch with me, and I wondered if, after all these years, it would be fair to tell my feelings. It became harder to hold them because of these recent realizations. At first, I feared my friend’s reaction and then at analyzing more on whether I should or not, I asked myself, ‘what do you want?’ Not giving heed to what somebody else would say or think, just for once, what does my heart want?
It turned out that my heart wanted to just say. Just let out what it was holding on to for a long time, without any expectations, just let it out once. I thought, ‘so be it. Do it. Say it!’
‘Why?’ you may ask. Because I accept that I fear dying in regret. I don’t want that at the last moments of my life (whenever they come), I’m thinking, ‘why I didn’t take my chances?’
In an utmost friendly manner, I finally told my friend, mentioning clearly that I didn’t and wouldn’t ever expect anything, and our lives wouldn’t change because of my confession. Four years of ruthless torture from my heart and the recent realization of loss and death’s timings were enough for the needed courage.
Silent anxiety bit me as I wondered if I’ll get any replies ever, and I did! He acknowledged my feelings and accepted to cherish our friendship! At last, I was freed from my heart, and it now rests in peace, knowing that it will never have to regret never letting the words out at least once.
The moral of the story is, it’s one life, just one. How long are we going to fight our hearts for doing what it wants? How long are we going to live with the suppressed feelings? How long are we going to live with hatred and jealousy and all other negativities? How long are we going to procrastinate to fulfil our dreams? If for once in our lives, we know that we made mistakes and we want to alter them, then we should do as our heart says so that we never think that ‘Oh… I should have done this…’ If we feel that we need to pour out our feelings, we should. Though a correct way of conveying them is very important. But what is more important is the need to make sure about our own expectations, make peace with ourselves first, and then include the other person.
After all these recent events, it feels like my life is having a restart. It’s new every day… Brand new… and I know it’s going to bring more surprises, both good and bad. But for now, I’m freed of my suppressed feeling withheld in my heart which feels ecstatic!
-Mamta K. Sofat
(Just for the music lover readers’ inspiration, listen to Brave by Sara Bareilles, I realized a lot late it said what I had learnt.. Enjoy!)