P.S: Phases

Every individual goes through different phases of life. I strongly believe that it is more so after a personal loss. What I am listing out here is what I have gone through. It may be similar in case of others.

Phase One is Denial Of Reality. This happens immediately after the loss occurs. Its like "No, it is not true" or "It cannot happen to me" or "My so and so is very much alive". Its a phase where both the heart and mind refuse to accept that such a loss has occurred in the first place. After my husband's death I refused to accept the same by constantly telling myself that he was away on a job where no channel of communication existed. No, I had not gone bonkers but since I was five months pregnant with a baby, my priority at that point of time was to ensure my negative emotions do not affect the baby's development. On top of it I had a toddler to handle as well. Did it help me? To some extent yes because my baby was born normal without any abnormalcy.

Phase Two is Self Pity. During this phase its felt as if the loss happened because of a personal flaw. After my baby was born and I joined back work, I started indulging in self analysis. Slowly, without my realising, I starting feeling that maybe I was responsible for my husband's death. The fact that I was far away from the site of death didnot not make me see reason. So...it began with an "Its all my fault" syndrome to a "Maybe I am destined to be punished" notion. Yes, it was definitely not healthy because I had withdrawn myself completely and had kind of become an.anti social person. As I wallowed in self pity I failed to realise that I was slowly becoming a cause of happiness and stress for people around me.

Phase Three is Realisation. This is a phase where reality dawns, when its understood that no amount of self pity could undo whatever happened. I realised that I had only two choices. One was to either grin, bear it and live in the present while the other was to indulge in self pity, turn negative and live in the past. I chose the former because I had two pairs of eyes innocently looking up to me, smiling when I smiled, being happy when I was happy. What was my children's mistake? That they were born to a dead father who no longer lived and a living mother who had died within? I realised then and there that it was inhuman and cruel on my part to let my kids suffer.

Phase Four is Acceptance.  This happens immediately after realisation. So when I realised where I was erring, I started my journey of acceptance. I had to accept the fact that my husband was no longer alive. For this purpose I had to live my pain all over again. I decided to do so by doing what I loved best - writing. I decided to write about the day I was told I had become a widow. And I started writing verbatim. As I wrote I realised that even though it was almost two years since my husband's death  I had not forgotten a single detail. Strange are the ways of the human mind. It makes minute recording of events and pops them up accurately when asked for.

Writing made me feel lighter inside. I went a step ahead and published my story in the form of a reality fiction. This made my well-wishers reach out to me. I had completely shut myself out to people. I started opening up. By doing so I realised that the wounds which had remained open for months were slowly healing. Yes acceptance did make a difference but it was still not enough.

Phase Five is Venting Out. This is where all pent up emotions find an outlet. I knew I had a truck load of negative emotions buried inside me. I had to vent out. At the same time I knew I could not do so in front of my children. God was kind. I had to go for a course which entailed me to leave my kids behind. I cannot thank god and those who forced me to go for it enough. But for them I would have been a bitter woman today. I vented out like never before well within the confines of my room. I cried my heart out, ended up with puffy eyes by evenings and in short, looked a complete wreck. But now to look back, it was needed. It was necessary to heal my soul.

Phase Six is Self Healing. This is the positive phase that follows venting out. The negatives of venting out could be self harm or bitterness. Thankfully, my sensible self prevailed and during my absence from kids I decided to heal myself. I remembered that I had drawn up a bucket list before I had got married. I decided to tick off a few stuff from that list. I penned my second book, went biking and trekking, learnt to craft and create jewellery, started dancing, picked up new languages, made friends for life, and most importantly, underwent a complete makeover when it came to my sense of dressing.

Phase Seven is Confusion. Now, when healing takes place it would result in confusion because healing does not involve adherence to socially accepted norms. In my journey I stopped dressing up like a widow. From a la plain Jane wrapped in pastels and whites sans make up, I turned all dressy, as in wearing mini skirts, gowns and dresses in bright hues with a kohl and lip balm to give me company. So, you can well imagine that such transitions are perfect recipe for confusions and conflicts. There were moments when I felt that I was not healing but was manifesting PSTD tendencies. Luckily comments from my daughters like "Mom you loom amazing!" "Wow!! Mom you are the best. Stay the same way" made me cope up with my internal confusions.

Phase Eight is Adaptation. Here it means adapting positive facets of life and adapting to life with a changed persona. Trust me when I say this, both are not at all easy. I had detractors walking up to me and commenting that I had changed or that I was becoming more opportunistic and manipulative. But the truth was I was only trying to lead a normal life for retaining my sanity and helping my children emerge emotionally strong. Did people understand? Well...my genuine well wishers supported me selflessly and the others indulged in back bitings and bitching about me. Not that I cared for the latter because it was not people's opinion about me that truly mattered. What was important was living in the present because the certainty of a future ceased to exist. Besides, life is not about other people's opinions but about the woman in the mirror. And I did not want to return back to my broken self. I was in love with my stronger self now.

Phase Nine is Reaching Out. One can reach out only when one is healed. I now reach out to people who have met the same fate as I. I hate doing so because I do not want any lady to be in a similar situation like mine. But then, maybe if I can help somebody begin her journey towards inner healing why not? So every time I hear about a fatal news I send a silent prayer up in heaven to my husband to reach out to the martyr as I try reaching out to the lady.

The nine phases described above have been my journey post rebirth as a phoenix, yet it is not sacrosanct. Every phoenix has her own story. And this was mine. Every phoenix does go through similar stages but maybe in another order.

I believe that every chaos has order and likewise in every order there exists chaos. I finally managed to find order amidst my internal chaos but does that imply it is all normal in my damaged paradise? No ways!! Do stay tuned as I share more.

Love,
R

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