a new leaf

as we approached the second anniversary of losing Manjula I took myself on one side and had a chat.

I will always have grief gravy to deal with, hopefully the flood that’s now a river, becomes a stream and in time a puddle. As part of that there is a shift towards pushing aside more of the upset and blame, allowing more space to remember the positives and her joyfulness.

The latest sign in response to that positiveness was three examples of people contacting me who might help create the garden, do interviews for ‘our story’ and help reach our story to more people. How cool is that? It’s another sign.

Another is our flag.

Out the front of our house its flapping to show, the Union Jack representing me, with the sun rising to provide a beacon of kindness, that’s Manjula and a crown because she’s a queen.

Here’s this weeks postings, if you missed them:

In planning for this anniversary we sponsor meals at the old people’s home

Manjula’s Anniversary Continuing, lunch and pooja to celebrate and help her soul find its new home, if she’s not already there, who else gets fed?

Kind friends sent messages, called round and shared poems here and here

There was an earlier sign

The anniversary reminded me of facing one of the most difficult decisions in my life which should not have arisen. Another example of me stumbling through life

happier times

Another poem

My good friend Brian, who has a cameo appearance in my short story ‘looking for a home’ also sent a kind thoughtful poem on Manjula’s second death anniversary.

“remember

we rediscover

step by step

the world you showed me

and remember my hand

is in your hand still

and remember my body

is the hammock of your presence

think of this—love ends 

where the void begins

and we pierce the void together.”

Michele Najlis

From the poem A Fernando

Manjula Memory

On this second anniversary of Manjula slipping away to continue her journey, friends have continued their Kind support.

This from a thoughtful friend in Mumbai 

Through the doors in your eyes

I formed my sweet little home

When you left

This life became homeless

The shade of your tresses

Is now not in my destiny

The melody of your dainty feet

Is now not in my destiny

The echo of your laughter

Is no longer here

The fragrance of your aura

Is no longer here

When I think about you

Your thoughts are all that remain in this life

Your memory is what makes me complete the cycle of

Each breath. Each moment. Each day.

You just floated away

Leaving me at the crossroads of life

I remain there stranded

Longing for your return

Neither did you know

Nor did I

That this was all the time that we could get together

In this lifetime

May you be happy in your new world

That is my only wish

With the hope that one day

I will join you once again

In your loving embrace

With you, hand in hand

In that new world.

from Amargani

Thank you, Stephen

and in its original form in Hindi

तेरे नैनों के द्वार से

मुझे एक आशियाना मिला था

तू जब चली गयी

ये ज़िंदगानी बेगानी सी हो गयी

तेरे झुल्फों की चाऊँ

मेरे नसीब में अब नहीं

तेरे चंचल पाऊँ की आहट

अब मेरे नसीब में नहीं

तेरे हँसी की छाया

अब इधर तोह नहीं

तेरे पवन की ख़ुश्बू

अब इधर तो नहीं

तेरी जब याद आये

इस बाकि के ज़िंदगानी में

बस याद तेरी मुझे पार कराये

हर पल। हर सांस। हर दिन

तू जो चल पड़ी

चौराहे पे मुझ को छोड़ कर

मैं बस खड़ा रह गया

तेरी राह देख कर

ना तूने जाना ना मैंने

बस इतना ही साथ था हमारा

इस संसार में

तू खुश रहे अपनी नयी दुनिया में

मेरी बस ये एक तमन्ना है

पर आशा यह है की

मैं फिर से सेहलाऊँगा

तुम्हारी बाहों में

तुम्हारे साथ, हाथ में हाथ

उस नयी दुनिया में

MAnjula anniversary continuing

Sowbaghya did a wonderful job helping us remember MAnjula with assistance from Satish and Tanuja and guests, all friends of MAnjula.

Finally providing food on the roof for the crows who just might be Manjula’s soul looking for food on her journey to finding a new body.

We need to cover all bases, in case she hadn’t found a new home, as yet.

Anniversary

Remembering MAnjula who continues giving.

Sowbaghya and I visited the home for elders to sponsor their meals on the 23rd March on the anniversary of Manjula’s soul flying away.

It was a hoot. SB and I misplaced each other before arriving. Then there was the checking Aadhaar (ID) cards, completing the receipt, and at the last moment remembering to write to confirm it was in Manjula’s remembrance.

The guys remembered and others joined in recalling me cycling in the grounds with the giant picture of MAnjula, a year ago on the anniversary of her death.

I promised to return for her birthday in August. We all laughed and joked, very entertaining but I wonder what they really think.

Sowbaghya is preparing for today’s memories of Manjula.

It’s a sign

As they would say in Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’

Well I’ve had a few after complaining to Manjula that I’d failed to notice any.

The first major happening was the message delivered by the Dragonfly. I’d hinted enough, not least by having one tattooed onto my shoulder.

She came through, on that one.

Today a brick fell off the wall. This thick one knocked it onto the ground and it broke.

It’s a sign.

So what’s the meaning of this sign? erm…..

Manjula is pissed off with me for not sending a Valentine’s Day message. So she threw the brick at me.

She’s actually gone. As we approach our third wedding anniversary and shortly afterwards the date she slipped through my stubby fingers two sorrowful years ago. Maybe it’s a sign that her soul spirit has found a new home and been reincarnated. It’s a realisation that our attempts to help her move on have worked.

Helping her soul on the way on the anniversary of her death.

And maybe it’s a crumbling of the wall that’s hemming me in.

Whatever I’ll look on the bright side as this is part of my journey to learn from life’s challenges and realise something or other.

and of course, no matter what she’s still with me….

For at least seven lives.

Manjula’s Messengers

Today’s messenger rest on a branch of the tree across from my balcony, repeatedly flies away and returns. Sometimes it’s still, at others its chuntering or maybe chewing.

The dragonfly arrives as I’m writing about how we first met to be submitted for a literary competition. I’m happy that this messenger is a reminder that she’s still with me and loves me. It’s taken up residence on the branch. Lucie’s walk will have to wait.

The dragonfly leaves to be replaced by a butterfly flying to me on the balcony.

A few weeks ago, I complained to Manjula that I’d not heard from her. Within days a dragonfly maybe ten times bigger flew into the downstairs hall, circled me three times and landed on Manjula’s pennant.

Butterflies have often visited, since my appeal.
They also feature on a banner that Jacquie is creating in the U.K.

They get everywhere. Thank you Manjula

Publish and be damned – a plan is forming.

Five things lead to a plan

First, a cow peed on the Rangoli.

Missing Manjula. Second Christmas and birthday without her

Next, a dragonfly flew into the hall, circled me and landed on Manjula’s penant that we bought on holiday in the U.K.
Immediately afterwards, a sepia coloured butterfly as a few days earlier also kept circling me.
Some believe that Dragonflies and Butterflies are messengers of love from your dearly departed.

At today’s writers group a presentation from editor Karthika helped clarify what is possible.

I’ve committed to Manjula to write our story with a working title of Full Full. I’ve completed the first draft of many and feels like I’m building the Taj Mahal out of matchsticks. This will take sometime.

Target date March 2022 to complete story

Launch book by August 2022 on what would have been Manjula’s 49th Birthday

Identify Editor, First Readers, Community Publisher advisor,

Create 2000 person mailing list and feature blog posts to help create interest.

Self publish POD and E book with 1000 sale target

Available in Hebden Bridge U.K. and silverfish (mysore) local bookshops.

Next: consider… additional chapters, Children’s book, Online interactive version

Non work station notebooks and printed draft. I have a fountain pen and blank paper. I must be a writer.

Missing my love.

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

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.