Cherishable

Today’s cherishable sad and sweet memories are the times Manjula and I spent together.

Here

The writer Didion coined the term ‘vortex’ in her book ‘a year of magical thinking’ about the year after her husband died.

It helpfully describes when one is ambushed by trigger memories of good times spent together.

But I wasn’t ambushed, as I fully expected it.

These are sad and tearful yet happy treasured moments in central London. I know it so well yet it now has an other dimension.

grief gravy

I have swam in it, swallowed it, fought it, opened my arms to it, shrivelled from it, tolerated it, hated it,.. It’s hit me like a personal tsunami, been wishy washy, sticky beyond treacle, invaded my brain to make it fuzzy and cracked open my tentative comfort zones. I know it’s a lifelong friend I have to accept it. It’s equal with and probably surpasses the combined effect of all the worse times in my life and for the first time uncovered real solid regrets.

It’s a gravy train that doesn’t bring benefits or maybe it does.

My heart was broken by losing Manjula, I covered it up and held it close but now I’m beginning to feel able to open my heart again. So there are positives to discover and learning to reveal.

I now love Manjula even more and in ways that I couldn’t imagine. I’m tentatively beginning to be kind to myself.

Thank you for your support during this horrendous journey.

I love you Manjula

Little rituals

For almost 2 1/2 years I’ve received daily iPhone notifications —like the one below —reminding me to switch the water on and off. This is to pump water from the sump to the header tank and for the house to not run dry (a common system where we live). The messages were set up by Tom after we realised I needed a reminder. Without Manjula’s physical presence in the house it wouldn’t get done.

MAnjula collected coins in a make up bag. Each morning I take out ten rupees for my morning tea break while walking with Lucie. Thanks Manj.

Lucie waits patiently at the top of the stairs for me to go backwards and forwards getting ready to walk. At the last moment she peers in manjulas library as a reminder to check that I’ve bolted the balcony door.

I look in and smile at two of the many portraits of Manjula that fill the house.

Occasionally placing a T light in this wonderful engagement present brought all the way from Australia

A favourite photo, emergency escape and engagement present.

All pieces of the jigsaw of our life. The missing pieces’ essence is present in every one of them.

I’ve chosen to deal with my grief companion head-on. Others will do it differently. Who knows what’s the best way, our experiences are completely individual. The pain is there, whatever but I try to minimise the suffering.

Daily bittersweet tears

I share Manjula’s story wherever and whenever I can. In the dentists waiting room, even the treatment chair, during the morning tea break, handing out cards inviting people to appreciate our garden.

It’s important to me.

She probably thinks I’m ridiculous. 🤭

Last night was my second appearance at an open mic. MAnjula did get a mention (that’s the point) it was three intertwined love stories. But I ran out of time. The story of my life. If reincarnation and reconnecting souls is true, maybe I’ll have more time with Manjula’s sweet kind soul.

How long will I love you?

My friend Zetta posted about a funeral today Where they played: How long will I love you? Sung by Ellie Goulding. So I listened to it

Today, before a small piano concert at a friends house here in Mysore I was introducing Manjula to a few more people.

Yes, I’ll introduce Manjula anywhere and everywhere. I was talking about the new garden we were creating to help celebrate her.

I explained that it’s over two years ago that she died, sometimes that feels a long time ago, others as if it was yesterday.

I know there is no limit to my unconditional everlasting love and liked the song.

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I can
How long will I need you?
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan

How long will I be with you?
As long as the sea is bound to
Wash up on the sand

How long will I want you?
As long as you want me to
And longer by far
How long will I hold you?
As long as your father told you
As long as you can

How long will I give to you?
As long as I live through you
However long you say

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I may

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you

Yes, it’s forever, in this life and any others. 🌞

Manjula’s Messengers

Last night I completed chapter eight of our story Full Full (working title), of draft three (with many more to come) it was particularly difficult to work on, as it related the story of her last year. In some ways it also helped.

This morning I was outside our house, sitting on a stone slab bench, beneath our wonderful strong shading tree. I was waiting for my neighbour, for our morning cycle.

A friend came along

It was a messenger from Manjula to reveal she knew what I was doing, supported me and sent her love.

It’s a red eye butterfly.
It continued with me for over six kilometres, as I cycled
Another messenger from MAnjula

With critical timing.

On Facebook this MAnjula Memory popped up from our last visit to England four years ago.

I’ve had a few messengers now.

Equally impressive was the circling dragonfly and even pretty moths get in on the act.

More messages.

As we went for this afternoons walk a giant butterfly buzzed me the moment I left the main door.

I discretely followed it to try and take a photo but I could only get this silhouette before it flew away.

An hour later Lucie and returned home to it resting on the door knob. only to surprise me again and land on one of our windows.

From outside.

It has the scary images of two reflective eyes on its wings, it’s wing span is seven inches or more and now it’s gone.

It arrived a day after I had, once again, in exasperation called out to Manjula complaining that I couldn’t feel her presence or hear a message.

From inside

I’m happier now.

Tanuja tells me it’s a moth. So now we know messages come via Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths.

We’ll keep you posted as more messengers are added to the list. 🙂🙃🤭😉🌞

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.