On dealing with loss

Not many people know that I am an orphan … in the classic sense of the word.  My father died more than a decade ago, and my mother about four years ago.  But that was to be expected, considering that I am in my fifties.

The death that shook the foundations of my being was the death of my brother.  I was 22 and he was 21.

People thought we were twins, since we were very close and always completing each other’s sentences.  We had a bond that was very strong, and we had a sibling war happening every minute of the day – even after I was married and lived away.

At first I felt rage.  Uncontrollable rage, because I felt he betrayed me by dying.  Wasn’t it our unspoken pact to be there for each other?  Why did he have to be a jackass and die on me?  I know its not rational – heck I even knew it then … but the emotion was there nevertheless.  Then came the agony, the pain, the suffering, the tears that could not be stemmed.

I did a lot of things to cope.

But with time the pain left.  There is a God up somewhere, I firmly believe that.  He is indifferent to the suffering humanity in his own way.  Not a sadist, but not a mother clucking over us and trying to shelter us from whatever pain and suffering we face.  Supremely indifferent to our tears, he nevertheless gives us the strength to carry on and the power to heal us.

With me what happened was that the pain became the balm.

Not a day goes by without remembering Dony.  When I see siblings fight, tease each other or hug each other, I am reminded of Dony.  My sons remind me of him, the way they wrestle, pillow fight and tease each other.

But I remember him with a smile.  He was not perfect, he was quite a pain in the butt.  But he was my brother, my companion, my partner in countless pranks.  No memory of my childhood is complete without him.

I wrote my first book, A Bowlful of Butterflies, as a celebration of the bond between siblings.

It is my tribute to brothers and sisters around the world.  It is my humble effort to relive and translate into words the bond I shared with my brother, the bond I carry in my heart and mind forever.

Seeing the book in print brought tears to my eyes, but with a smile.

Live on Dony and yes, if you tear any page of my book, I will hunt you  to the end of the universe, find you, and kick you in the ass!

 

Parents raise you, the spouse lives with you, but it is siblings who really shape you as a person

 

 

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56 thoughts on “On dealing with loss

  1. Gosh U made me miss my bro 😦
    And the last quote …its so true……It was all so same with me and bro till he went to states….I miss those days but then atleast I know he is there….i cant even imagine what u must have gone thru….u surely one strong lady….I am sure up above he must be glad he had a sister like u 🙂

    • Oh, but when you meet, you must be just taking off from where you left. That is the wonderful part about sibling relationships … they stay strong even when there are long separations

  2. It is so touching really – gave me goosebumps. I was just telling an author, Mihir, about your book. That you wrote a book and dedicated it to your brother makes it all the more special. I am sure you have poured your feelings and experiences into the novel. Is the novel partly true or fictionalized? All the same, a definite buy. You say you are an orphan into your fifties, but I don’t quite think so as the spirit of your folks live in you.

  3. oh God!…now you have me thinking…I was wondering that I was satisfied with R as the only child..and now your last line……it has so much to say to me 😦

    Hugs and I am sure your brother will be super proud of you 🙂

  4. Very sorry to hear about your loss. It is difficult losing someone you love..it leaves a gaping wound in your heart which can never get healed.

    Congrats again for the book and many good wishes that it becomes a super hit 🙂

  5. “Parents raise you, the spouse lives with you, but it is siblings who really shape you as a person” That was an amazing line… I really did not know what was your book about… but now that I do… it is no way not getting ordered the moment its on flipkart 🙂

    PS: I am stealing that line for my gtalk status msg… plz do not mind…

  6. came from IHM’s blog.You’re quite talented.
    odd to ask,but what was Dony’s birthdate?
    sending love and hugs your way…
    very much looking forward to reading this book.

  7. Ritu bhen so sorry to hear. you are so right siblings shape us as a person, big big punjabi hugs your way I dont know what to say …

    I dont cry of shed a tear as i said but this one reminded me a lot of things .. God bless ritu bhen .. take care

  8. Oh that was beautifully written, Ritu. Considering that I just woke up from a dream about my sister, and me wishing we could live closer to each other, this post moved me to tears….

  9. Gosh… you made me cry even though I have no siblings..!
    Re: the last line… no wonder I am outta shape…! Hmmm…. darn…! My parents did me IN…!!!
    *sulk*
    Dagny

  10. I lost my brother when I was 16 and he was 20. Its been 11 years now, and I still feel his loss so much. Its like a phantom arm. people don’t get that. They wonder how can I still feel like that 11 years, but I do. I might be having chhole and all I can think of is how much he loved it – he would pick it over chicken. Or some stupid dialogue and I want to tell him, and I can’t just pick up the phone and call him. I lost my brother at a young age right before I started going to college and I found it easier to tell people I was an only child rather than dealing with any unwanted sense of pity.

    I missed him when I got married, I miss him on special days, when his favourite food is made, when ‘tu cheez badi hai mast mast’ is playing and when people talk about their siblings.

    People say time heals all wounds, but that’s all bullshit. There are some which fester and never go away or leave scars so deep they never heal. I so understand what you wer4 feeling when you wrote this post.

    • True it is like a phantom limb that hurts and itches … but you can never reach it and make the itch go away. Only someone who has lived with this loss can understand it. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I celebrate the memories that I have of him alive, fighting with me, teasing me, playing games. I also laugh and say – at least he did not grow old, or bald. It is a way of keeping the essence of him alive with me.

  11. Aww Hugs Ritu.. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. The quote is so true, and like you said the best part of sibling relationship is we can pick up a conversation where we had left it. I miss being with my 3 sisters and a brother all the time too. 🙂

  12. The bonds between siblings are indeed quite powerful…I used to think my friends who were only children were missing out on something big. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for you having to deal with the loss of your brother…it’s a fear that scares me often. I am going to keep your book in mind and will look forward to getting my hands on it the next time I’m in India…

    • Siblings are very important in life. It is the bonding in childhood that makes the relationship so strong. You may fight with them, and sometimes even decide not to communicate, but when you get over that anger, the sibling is always there – for you forever

  13. Yes, love them, hate them, fight with them, cry over them and with them, they are so much a part of you. My brother passed away five years ago, my parents last year, but the loss of my brother is the one that is so hard to reconcile too. Big hugs, Ritu. I loved your book.

  14. Wow the words have so much meaning, am talking about the last line that is. The whole post is heartwarming. I blog hopped and came to your blog. Truly amazing and such a nice read of it own kind. I have bookmarked your URL’s and am reading each post as i get to it. Such beautiful writing.

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