the grief gravy group

I have been part of an online therapeutic group with two young women and a therapist, for the past few weekends.

At our final session we were asked to creatively reflect on our journey and how the group has helped. Here’s my feeble effort.

The detail in this rich picture will be shared by the end of our story. Yes, I’m writing and it’s far from complete but it is progressing: at the pace of a snail slithering along on the shell of a tortoise that’s travelling backwards.

Please do feel free to guess what the different images represent. There maybe a prize.

The group been an incredible support and very productive to help me swim along the grief gravy river and keep my head above liquid.

I know you’ve seen it before but I had to post the drawing of Manjula again as today’s attempt is so baaaaad.

Monisha Srichand, the group therapist is a skilled facilitator. She got the balance just right, providing enough structure, guidance and professional input so everyone felt comfortable and confident to share their own challenges whilst enabling us to provide insightful support to other members of the group. Highly recommended.

I’ve also posted details of the empty chair technique used in one of the sessions where you will also find contact details for Monashi and a network of therapists.

A great representation of the group by one of its members. Spot the dog!

If you or anyone you know is dealing with grief and need help. I can recommend books, have a chat or recommend the therapist who facilitated our group.


“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

More masking.

We announced in August that Vasanth’s wife Sumati was making Masks.

There was tremendous interest from our Mysore Bed and Breakfast family. Vasanth has now posted masks to Europe, India, Australia and North America.
Victoria in London is very pleased with her Buddha mask.
Of course, I have to go over the top. I have a great selection of Sumati’s but sometimes carry Manjula with me.
And the boys are spreading the mycycle word…

Feeding Manjula

First…. A little faffing, as we prepare to remember her preciousness.
Sowbaghya has prepared a full on meal for Manjula.
Some of her old and new clothing is laid out, in case she needs it, I forgot to ask what the money is for.
The chain around her neck and gold ‘coins’ form the Mangal Sutra which she wears to show she’s married
There’s always flowers and now my and Punith’s drawing of Manjula is also found everywhere.
We forgot the lamps, Manjula wouldn’t be at all surprised. Too many men involved and that useless Yindian. Thankfully SB quickly rescued the situation.
Sensible woman with fire.
Insensible Yindian playing with fire 1
Playing with fire 2
It’s the time of year when we especially connect to those like Manjula who slipped through our fingers. we do Pooja at home and some at the Kaveri riverside where I immersed Manjula’s ashes.
We stepped outside while Manjula came to get her fill. Then washed our hands and knocked on the door to warn her we were coming back inside.
Only then were we allowed to eat.

This annual Hindu event known in Mexico as the ‘day of the dead’ but of course, quite different, is known as Mahalaya Amavasya. We remember our loved ones and provide help and support for their journey to the next place. In our case to Manjula’s reincarnation.

Thank you to Sowbaghya, Satish and Vasanth for your loving kindness to Manjula. You made it very special.

Manjula and her good friend Ina have shared gifts of money and mycycle masks with each of our eight drivers who are finding it hard with very little business in these virus times.

Here’s a challenge:

How to keep in touch and show one’s love, on her birthday, when she’s not physically here, anymore.

I think I have a solution

I have found a famous time machine on eBay for sale by Leonard of the ‘Big Bang Theory’.

so I can travel back in time …..

and pass on a message

That was then and this is now. What fun and a great success but I think I’m back one day early. What date is it?

The next test is whether my strong-willed, determined most positiveness wife can somehow gets a message back to me. As she said: “we’ll see.”

Expect the unexpected

Nothing ever seems to go to plan in India……

to help commemorate Manjulasness on her birthday we’d invited a few friends to celebrate in the park opposite where we’ve placed three benches.

But two days before, this happened…..

There’s now the beginnings of a new path. We’ll just about manage if it doesn’t rain and create a river of mud.

One or two great books

In Manjula’s library on grieving…..

Adult books. My two top picks would be Didion and Grief and Grieving.
and children’s books, that this child loves. Memory Tree and Heart and the Bottle are fab but they’re all great.

there’s something about Manjula

Thank you for your empathy.

Yes, you….

Thank you for your guiding tolerance, for being with me, your ability to manage the slings and arrows that life throws at you, all whilst supporting the Yindian who goes on and on and on and on……..

You might have noticed that my mentions of Manjula have not diminished, in fact, they’ve recently increased because I miss her terribly but especially because:

1 Now is proving to be the most difficult period of all, the negative crumpledness is greater. But it’s all completely natural: the denial, regrets, blame, guilt and even euphoria. As Mr full-on I’m fielding the stages of grief one by one and all at once. It’s my way. We all have to deal with it the best we can. It’s the most challenging thing I’ve faced in my life and like Manjula it will always be with me.

2 It’s the anniversary of our adventures to the UK and consequently receive Facebook memories every bloody day. I have to share, I can’t not acknowledge her or push her away. She’s filling even more of my life and I get to know her better. That’s both negative and mostly positive.

3 I’ve been relatively isolated for four months. All of us are dealing with exceptional circumstances and it concentrates our emotions. That kyboshed planned travel would have been just right.

So thank you for you precious time and tolerance

to Oliver (youngest son) for my pep talk this morning.

I promise as time goes on I’ll post a wider range of subjects (watch for the famous OCI) however its Manjula’s birthday soon and so I expect her presence and a message. Am I expecting too much?

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Trees

Manjula wished to be reincarnated as a tree. She wanted to provide cover and and support to people. To me it reflected her strength and gentleness.

The Pongamia tree that Manjula wanted to be, as is the one outside our house.

I was reminded of this after reading a recent brain picking, with reference to a letter from D H Lawrence reflecting his love for trees.

“To walk among trees is to be reminded that although relationships weave the fabric of life, one can only be in relationship — in a forest or a family or a friendship — when firmly planted in the sovereignty of one’s own being, when resolutely reaching for one’s own light.”

That’s so my Manjula. It’s a lesson she leaves me with. As she now waits for me to lift myself from my bed of lethargy and act.

A century ago, Hermann Hesse contemplated how trees model for us this foundation of integrity in his staggeringly beautiful love letter to trees — how they stand lonesome-looking even in a forest, yet “not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.” Celebrating them as “the most penetrating preachers,” he reverenced the silent fortitude with which “they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.”

again I’m so reminded of MAnjula, her own strength, independence and gentle kindness.

A Manjula plaque fixed to our tree on her birthday.

“A supreme challenge of human life is reconciling the longing to fulfill ourselves in union, in partnership, in love, with the urgency of fulfilling ourselves according to our own solitary and sovereign laws. Writing at the same time as Hesse, living in exile in the mountains, having barely survived an attack of the deadly Spanish Flu that claimed tens of millions of lives, the polymathic creative force D.H. Lawrence (September 11, 1885–March 2, 1930) took up the question of this divergent longing with great subtlety and splendor of insight in his autobiographically tinted novel Aaron’s Rod (free ebook | public library), rooting the plot’s climactic relationship resolution in a stunning passage about trees.”


The fact is I’m able to find references to Manjula anywhere and everywhere. “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”

– Amelia Earhart

We need more

Some would say it’s best to place your memories of your loved one in a special place, in your heart and the ‘things’ in a box for you to sometimes get out.

No fear… That’s not happening here.

This one is to prove my wc credentials.

Manjula would often complain about there being too many pictures in our home and not enough room.

There’s plenty of room, (except in my heart, which she’s mostly filled) even more pics now and (usually) I love seeing her peeking out and catching me unawares.

It’s full on photos and all stages of grief piled on top of each other, she wouldn’t expect anything less.

Manjula would of course, just get on with things.