To be honest, this draft post has been in my account for the last one month but I’ve never been sure if I’ll have enough courage to ever post it. It’s not easy for me to do so – I still can’t believe you’re not around, you lived a difficult life, struggled and fought depression for more than 20 years mostly with a smile on your face and then before we could realise what had struck us, you were no longer there.
However, I hope I will post it some day for everyone to read what a courageous life you lived and what a beautiful soul you possessed.
I will always remember my childhood days – I being the youngest family member and you being the eldest sibling. You were the most amazing and loving elder sister anyone could have hoped for. You were always protective, caring and there fore me whenever I needed you. Being the youngest one in the family, I was the pampered one and received lots of attention.
As a family, we had long periods of struggle – sometimes it came down to a stage where it was a herculean task to make both ends meet but we all got past it together. Despite all the ups and downs, you were always a good student, a great orator and one of the most creative minds I’ve ever come across in my life.
How that changed over the years I’d probably never be able to find out – perhaps God has more answers than we do.
Again, being the youngest one in the family – I was always kept aloof from the troubles and struggles we faced. Before I could call myself as mature enough, I was told that you were suffering from depression. I didn’t really understand what it meant but I believed that like any other disease, it was a matter of time before you would recover from it.
I then left home to pursue my education and I was never really up to date on what you were going through. Of course, I would visit home during my college breaks sometimes and see that you were no longer the same person – you wouldn’t speak that much or sometimes, you would just talk about our childhood days and nothing else.
All this while, you were actually still trying to find a footing for yourself – you setup a hobby center where you would spend time with kids teaching them a number of fun activities – dancing, paper art, Mehendi and lots of other stuff who you were an expert at.
There would be days where you would struggle with mood swings but those would be far and few.
As much as I’m proud to be an Indian, I strongly believe our Indian society is completely insensitive towards women, those who are unmarried and those suffering from depression. Unfortunately, in your case, you ticked all those wrong boxes together. You didn’t want to get married and we never forced you to do so. How I wish the Indian society would accept this as a personal choice.
Of course, there were always people who knew what a beautiful person you are and were always sensitive and loving to you. And obviously there were those who would always believe that you shouldn’t exist. I’m sure God has his plans for them so I’ll leave it to him.
Not just a sister
Your depression meant that you were not just an elder sister for me. Sometimes, you were like a chirpy youngster and I’d need to act tough as an elder brother. With your mood swings, you would often be like a child – feel vulnerable and I’d have to treat you like my own kid. There would also be days when you would act as a complete stranger and it would sink my heart. And there would be days that I would cherish for the rest of my life, when you would be back to your usual self – my loving elder sister from the childhood days.
This has also meant that with you not around me, I feel like I’ve lost an elder sister, a younger sister and a child of my own – all at the same time. Perhaps, that’s the reason why I feel a collective grief of losing so many people at once – which is making things even more difficult for me. You always wanted me to be happy and successful – no matter what was going on with you. You always mentioned that I should continue doing whatever makes me happy so here I am – spending time reading, writing, organising and speaking at community events, helping people in whatever ways I can.
To say that you’ve left a void would be an understatement. My son still picks up the phone everyday and calls you out hoping to hear your voice from the other end. My daughter still walks into your room hoping to find you there some day. I can still see the grief in my wife’s eyes every now and then. I can’t even express in words what my mother is going through. And for me personally, I’ve been trying to take care of everyone else around me fighting my own struggles of your memories.
Perhaps, it could have all been so different. Perhaps, you would have been happily married and would be raising your kids. Perhaps, you would have attained lots of success in your professional ambitions and lots of happiness in your personal life. Perhaps, God could not see you suffering any longer, called you back and gave you a new life. How I wish I had these answers but perhaps God knows better.