Stop the magic roundabout

I want to help Manjula get off and get back on at an earlier time, let’s relive…. let’s try again…. if only

The special flexi specs (First introduced here) aren’t good enough. I need a Tardis. (Dr Who’s time travelling gizmo)

or….. I want to jump to an alternative reality rather than just time travel so that I can rerun our life but with a different outcome!. Let’s try again. I help Manjula get off one merry go round and then jump on another. In my magical thinking in this alternate world…. We meet, fall in love, this time she doesn’t get the series of crushing illnesses and we live happily ever after.

Maybe in this current world where she’s died she only had a very limited cache of ‘good’ luck; she used all the good luck that was left over in her life in the nine years we were together and thats why she had to go. In this alternative world she’d have more good luck.

You will see more of the total picture when I share her story. She did have a very very very tough time throughout her life and what seems like astonishingly bad luck in the 36 years before we met.

Yet she remained positive, a bright light with a beautiful smile she radiated joy.

Since we met she’s had better luck and we’ve had a wonderful life but Manjula still had to deal with her illness and its impact.

Maybe this bad luck in Manjula’s life would be interpreted by some Hindu’s as repayment for ‘mistakes’ or even repayment for ‘bad’ in a previous life. Whatever, there can be no doubt that she has now well and truly repaid her debt for any transgressions in that life.

Surely she now has a massive deposit of wealth in the Karma bank because of the good soul she has been in this life. So I hope and believe she will be kindly rewarded in her next life.

and not just with ice cream

So where is that other magic roundabout to jump onto and experience the different alternate reality? I realise I’m rambling now but miss her terribly and want her here with me now.

We have sent her off with our love and kept some of her in our own hearts.

Today is a difficult day

To live in others hearts is not to die

Manjula’s Mysore, our shared passion, will continue

Manjula has created a home to share, where people from around the world have visited and connected with others of like minded openness.

Her essence permeates the space and she’s left a piece, a mark with all of us.

We will honour her wishes, her work, and follow her pattern.

Manjula’s Mysore Bed and Breakfast will remain and change. We’ll build on what Manjula created and ensure it’s the same but different.

You can help

Come to visit and send your friends.

If you’d like to get more involved we also invite old and new friends come and help out. For a couple of weeks or longer come and help look after the place. In return for bed and breakfast help keep the place clean, welcome guests and maybe help create a new dimension to Manjula’s place.

There’s even been a few guests interested in setting up their own BnB so why not come give it a try and dip your toes in the water, just learn by doing.

I’ll be away over the next two months then reopen.

ap pagal hey

I’m getting into a weekly routine. Buying gorgeously fragrant flowers

Then back to the Ashram as lunch arrives.

I’m invited to partake but I’m not taking photos of the people who live her as requested by the home.

And a word from one of the sponsors

Tom and Amy remembering…

‘ap pagal hey’ is what Manj and Tom used to say to each other all the time. Means you’re crazy. Haha

On my remembering, it’s sometimes getting harder. It’s easy to remember the last few weeks of her life but more difficult to recall the older more positive memories without falling into the blubbering brook

It’s a significant anniversary

Today, exactly four weeks after my beautiful died I’m at the old people’s ashram.

In memory of Manjula we’re gifting all today’s meals. I’ve arrived an hour early so it’s time to chill, remember and reflect and in a very limited way feed my addiction to share with you guys.

Back in Siddarthanagar smileys have appeared on the road, overnight.

Using stencils and water soluble spray paints they are another simple way to discreetly and publically remember and acknowledge.

There’s a fair amount of sweeping goes on at the ashram.

Checking out Manjula

Memories of Manjula

There are just so many….. photos everywhere (Manjula would complain that there were too many but I never believed her)

These are in prominent positions in the house.

This one with lots of her things as part of the pooja on specific days, they’re not always there!

The logo created by Punith.

videos ….

Article in the Guardian (photo is taken from the article)

The river Kaveri where Manjula said a prayer after our wedding celebration in the field on Srirangaptnam. A tender memory.

Facebook and blog postings, meals at the Ashram for the elderly residents ……. remembered happenings, and most importantly the piece of her that’s in my heart that will always make me smile, ( the T-shirt I gave her in recognition of this and the rosette I made awarding her best maid in Mysore after working for her for one year…. early signs of my love?)

the jokes, the giggles, bossing me around, the hair (she was losing it) I still find in nooks and crannies.

And what about this from Kate who came to stay with us years ago?

A lovely gesture, trees planted by treesthatcount.co.nz in New Zealand in memory of Manjula.

Thanks Kate, love it!

Grief

So far I’ve found three buckets (pails) of grief. As I share this, I realise that it might resonate with your own experiences. (See I’m moving on from me me me). As you know, I’m new to this. Maybe it might help others, who knows?

In bucket one is the stuff you just can’t avoid. The absolute challenges which you face when your loved one dies. The sudden trauma, the shock, the breathlessness of the realisation that she’s gone. Bam

Just like that! A wacking great big black hole.

No matter how much you think you prepare, or plan or maybe you had realised what might happen. …… It’s not enough. It has actually happened and you’ve just got to deal with it.

Your personal resilience might help, your belief system (they’re still here and gone onto greater things?) could wrap it up nicely, time will also be the proverbial healer, or so they say. My mate Tom says it’s like walking down or further away from the hill, you see more of the total picture and put it in perspective.

Bottom line is…. You ‘choose’ how to deal with it.

In the second bucket is the grief you can give yourself. You know the sort of thing. The what ifs? The guilt trips. The preoccupations. Missed opportunities. Recriminations. Regrets. The whispers you ignored. The stress.

In my view, this is the big challenge and again you choose. In this case you can maybe control how much you open the tap and fill the bucket.

So how much angst is there to be?

I don’t live a life with regrets but this is a whole different ball game. The smallest chink of light, the smallest possibility to catch the grief and you’ve got it. It’s hard.

In my and Manjula’s situation.

We’ve been dealing with a series of serious illnesses for over three years. I wonder if we could have handled it differently. More regular tests, quicker responsiveness to trying new things, better lifestyle such as exercises, different opinions, complementary medicines. I know though that it was very tough for Manjula, she hated the tests (usually with disapppinting results) the clinic merry go round, the manic mother hen husband, the too many tablets.

The second main choosing-to-give -myself-grief issue is how well we used the last twelve months.

After a spell in intensive care a year ago and her unhappy experience on a ventilator she was given another lease of life. I look back at the photos. We sort of had the old Manjula. After six months she began to lose weight, they thought she might have TB and her drugs didn’t seem to work. She was slipping away and I just didn’t know what to do.

At the end she’d had a heart attack and real difficulty breathing. This was on the Friday evening. They’d resuscitated her and not intubated her in line with my (her) request. On the Saturday morning she had another heart attack. Immediately before we managed to discuss and she only wanted to be on ventilator if it was a day or two. There was a real likelihood she would never be able to come off it. I decided to let her go.

We did do good things. We have so many happy memories.

She was keen to properly celebrate her birthday in August, she wanted to continue the BnB even as she lost more weight and lived between her bed, the downstairs lounge and outdoor sit out. She loved and livened up when meeting the guests.

We managed a final holiday in Kannur, the site of our first holiday together after becoming engaged three years ago.

Our time was precious. We had a wonderful, odd maybe but amazing relationship. From different worlds but all the better for it.

In that final year there were times we both knew where it was heading. Manjula would once or twice talk about death. Me forever the coward didn’t want that, couldn’t deal with it and worried that might in itself help bring it on. We had to remain positive. We should however have discussed it properly. Some might say I was in complete denial.

We seem to choose whether and how much to give ourselves the grief in bucket two, maybe not even the time of day or perhaps the full flow.

I realise now it’s useful to create your own narrative or ways of fathoming it all out. It requires a balanced view. I think we did the best in the circumstances.

Bottom line is ‘it’s how it is’

In bucket three the grief is more existential. What’s the purpose or point in life? What happens when we ‘move-on’ ?

That can remain with its lid on!

So now as we approach The fourth week since Manjula died we have a few more things to do to help her on the way.

It may now be time to step aside from the angst. It’ll still keep popping up but I’ll hold it with me

I thank you for allowing me to share and your kindness, patience and support by being there for me and Manjula.

Next I plan to bring you herstory.

Yes, I’ll lighten up…