Senior journalist Vinita Deshmukh has penned a book `Grieving To Healing’ after she suddenly lost her husband early this year to sudden cardiac arrest. Her book comprising 33 poems and 10 chapters of prose eloquently effuse what it means to lose your loved one and how to overcome such grief. The book has been published by Authorspress.
Picking up the beads
I am just trying hard now.
To pick up the strewn beads of life,
That you had so beautifully amalgamated,
Into a necklace of love, harmony and peace.
I am trying, with my fingers wavering,
The beads slipping out of the finger tips.
The eyes missing to thread them adroitly.
My precious pendant, lost up the hill.
What will I make this necklace to be?
One of garnets, pearls or emeralds?
These precious gems have lost their sheen.
My wavering fingers, for the pendant, searching.
My mind tells my fingers to search for Rosemary beads.
They don’t need no pendant; they go round, merrily.
As my fingers twirl them, I can chant your name.
But the monotony of these, unable to catch the spirit of thee.
The pendant is a star attraction in any necklace.
It lines up all beads and keeps them in proper place.
My precious pendant, ruthlessly snatched away by God.
My fingers are wavering; beads have lost the chord.
Death is a part of life – it is unarguably, the ultimate reality. Through the various rituals post death, we are told about the journey of the soul. To ensure its smooth journey, we are told that, if we mourn, the soul will not be set free. We are urged to get over grief as soon as possible. I was also a part of this belief and mindset. My parents and my in-laws who I was also close too, passed away. I accepted it as the natural process of birth and death. However, after Vishwas has passed away, it has been a totally different experience for me.
The death of a spouse, I now believe, through research and through talking to others in such situation, is a completely different feeling. I think that’s because your relationship is entwined in one another. You are with the spouse, not only in your outward journey but knowingly or unknowingly in your inward journey too. You become each other’s friend, parent, companion, consultant, stalker – your spouse is an integral part of your life, home, your mind, your heart and your children. And that’s why when your spouse dies, you are hit the hardest – you feel as if just a half of yourself is left in you.
I lost Vishwas within a few minutes. Unexpectedly. However, whichever way and whichever age you lose your spouse, the grief I think is equally deep. So much so that, you suddenly realise your identity is not because of your professional acumen but because of your personal relationship. When you lose that, the vacuum is so huge that your achievements are no solace. I realised that grieving is a natural consequence of your loss and suppressing it is unnatural – we do so because we are socially conditioned to do. We are asked to get meditative, go into silence – for me anyway my home has become a silence zone – what more Vipassana should I seek? I realised tears are but the tip of the iceberg of sorrow
For me, initially Vishwas’s death was such a shock that my mind kept walking, umpteen times a day to the spot where it happened. I kept reliving it all the time – so much so that it became my main corridor of my thought, 24×7. It was only when I returned from the USA, late June, where I along with my daughter and her family had gone to meet my son, that reality hit me hard. That’s when I realised, it was not just the way he died but that he himself is no more. Every corner of the house came alive with his presence and I was completely shattered from within. I didn’t know how to cope and definitely, anti-depressants were not for me as I usually avoid medication. Sharing my sorrow with my children and dear ones was painful as it pained them and then I felt bad that I am making them feel bad. For relief, I took several sessions of acupuncture which helped me a lot and have got down to do some serious yoga. However, this was inadequate to overcome my loss.
I’ve always believed in following my heart in whatever I do so I decided to go on an inward journey and find out the depth of my feelings. So, whenever I was overpowered with sorrow – I channelized it into penning a poetry, in the notepad of this Samsung Tablet. Sometimes I wrote two poems a day. There was no planning about which topic to choose, to write the poem. I just wrote when a particular thought overpowered me. I chose no time to write the poem. It would happen in the car while traveling for work, in a corner of my daughter’s house, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night. There is no logic to the poems I have written. Sometimes I question the very existence of Heaven, sometimes I term Vishwas as Guardian Angel. I have cursed the sunset as it happened at that time of the day. I’ve expressed my anguish about Alandi where we had gone to immerse his ashes.
As my poems progressed, there was somewhat a silver lining and I scripted a few optimistic ones, I think. I thought I would write five or six poems but they turned out to be 33 and after that I could write no more. My fingers just stopped. Then I thought I should give reference to these poems so I began scripting chapters in prose.
So, the book has just happened – as if it was self-constructing itself. Hence, `Grieving To Healing’ is a compilation of my raw emotions; stark outpourings of my heart. It is also about the healing process in the chapters which speak about that prescription. It is not intellectual, philosophical or logical. It is a sonography of grief and living with it. It is a glimpse of the emotions that rattle you, for anyone who is in this situation. I can safely say it has been a sort of catharsis for me.
I hope, reading it will help those who have lost their dear ones, in some way or the other. As Dr Mohan Agashe, noted theatre and film personality and Psychiatrist, has advocated in the book, ““The most artificial relation is that of a husband and wife; most of the cases, there is no tuning in but they stay together for other necessities of life. If it lasts though, the relationship is thicker than blood. It is like two bodies, but one soul. There are hardly any individual experiences – most are combined. That’s why the death of a spouse hits the hardest.
“At the end of it, you need to put your sorrow, in a velvet box – preserving it like a
treasure; not to be forgotten, not to be disposed away from and not be exposed for all to see.
It has to become your wealth of strength to move forward in your life, for death is the ultimate truth and life is but a journey towards it.’’
Above all, this book is a token of eternal gratitude to Vishwas, who was my best friend and a wonderful human being. My near and dear ones tell me that Vishwas must be blessing me from above but I think he must be embarrassed. He always used to tell me that I talk 19 to a dozen. Just when he thought he has silenced me, I’ve got back to my chatter, but through the book. Sorry, Vishwas, but I know you would have said with a smiling face, “okay, fine if you want it this way.’’
About the book
When Death snatches away your spouse, your world crumbles. Suddenly, your vision is blurred, much like the torrential rains hitting the windscreen of a car, on a speeding highway. You need powerful wipers and some sunshine to get back into normal gear. The book, `Grieving to Healing’ is a sensitive, heart tugging narrative, scripted in prose and poetry, to portray the sense of colossal loss, the author, Vinita Deshmukh faces, after her beloved husband of 38 years suddenly passed away due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The tragic incident occurred, within minutes of both of them sitting on a bench, on 19th January, 2017, after their evening walk together, atop a hill. Vinita pours out her raw emotions depicting the intensity of love and the spirited life she shared with her husband during life and post his death, through 34 poems and a prose narrative comprising eight chapters. The book portrays, how one need not feel guilty of grieving for your loved one as this in itself leads to healing. Though autobiographical in nature, the book provides useful tips on how to go about the healing process of losing a loved one. It is a book for each one who has lost their dearest one, be it spouse, any other family member or a friend.
About the Author
Vinita Deshmukh is a journalist of 28 years vintage and a noted Right To Information (RTI) columnist. Presently, she is the Consulting Editor of the business fortnightly Corporate Citizen (www.corporatecitizen.in) and Moneylife (www.moneylife.in), the e-news magazine where she writes her RTI column.
You can buy her book here