Love of a lifetime.
Pain for a lifetime.
Love happened, life happened.
Four years together, a lifetime happened.
A son together.
And then one day, it happened.
Death. A life not lived.
Loss. A pain to be lived.
Life ahead. Pain ahead.
Lonely days, lonelier nights.
Without him — life ahead?
With our son, with my son.
And his questions at two.
Will Papa come back?
No. And I told him too.
Pain at two. Anger at two.
Angry with me — I was there.
He too should have been here.
Questions at two. Questions for a lifetime.
Questions at twenty-six. Answers for a lifetime.
Pain to be lived. Loss for a lifetime.
Why does it feel like love of a lifetime?
He keeps asking her — which is more painful — not to have it at all, or to lose it after having it for a while? She doesn’t have an answer. Neither does he. And so they mourn the loss — of both kinds.
A child’s pain. A child who lost his father at the age of two. He will never know the difference between the two kinds of losses. What matters to him is when at the age of three his preschool buddies talk about what their fathers brought home last night, he will stand there — quietly, very quietly. When his cousins come over for a sleepover, and next morning as their voices get that special lift when their father comes to pick them up — this child will fail to understand why. He will also not understand — why him?
Neither will they. They waited, waited, and waited… patiently. They waited for a blessing. They waited for a miracle. But it didn’t happen. And so they grieve — for loss of something they never had. How does it feel to be a father? To be a mother? And so they grieve…
The child grows up, and so do the questions. But with youth also comes the promise of new beginnings.
They grow old, and so does their pain… but it doesn’t seem to heal. Does it ever? With age comes the fear of lonely endings.
Perhaps they were never meant to find the answers to their whys. Perhaps they were always meant to just accept the loss — of either kind. But then why does it hurt so much to accept? Not just for them who never had it, but also for the little child who lost it after having it briefly. Perhaps because a loss is a loss, it leaves a void somewhere deep — a space that was not meant to be empty.
Empty spaces, empty hearts. The life goes on. They try to fill up these empty corners, the child does it too. The busier they are, the less it hurts. The less they think about the loss, the more normal they feel. But there are those moments — those real moments when nothing means any more, except those empty spaces. Those empty hearts.
So they all search for an answer — not to the question of why, but of how? How to make it hurt less? How to not let the loss take over? How to move on… ?
Move on they must. That is life. The pain of loss moves with them, that too is life.
Why did I show it to him?
It was my broken heart — my empty heart.
Could he really feel, really?
Feel what I feel.
Can I really feel
what he feels?
Fate brought us together
Vows bound us together.
Are our hearts bound too
in the same togetherness?
I thought so.
I think so.
But why can’t I feel what he feels?
Please, help me feel.
I want to take away his pain.
I want to feel his pain —
in the core of my heart.
I want him to feel my pain.
Together in joy.
Can we be together in pain too?
First published on Sulekha 17 years ago