Anita’s Attic

Anita Nair a renowned author here in India has an annual programme ‘Anita’s Attic’ to help up and coming writers.

It’s my new thing, writing. Ha ha says the Yorkshireman, who can’t even speak English.

Our group of ten have just finished the latest programme with each of us reading a short creative piece that we’ve written.

Here’s mine. You can’t escape so easily. 🤭

Do provide critical feedback.

My not work station

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

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula, step-by-step

We have had great feedback about Aadirika’s painting of our beautiful Manjula with requests to see the step-by-step process in one post. Here it is….

Aadirika was absolutely dedicated to doing justice to Manjula’s memory.
Manjula was with her every step of the way
Lucie posed, not.
this has taken astonishing commitment and skill
Stephen’s love for Manjula .
Weaves a bridge,
between our worlds.
A bridge made of heart strings,
a bridge of exploration to the multi dimensional.
Manjula’s love for Stephen.
Pierces through the veil,
as a warm ray on a chilly day. 
by Aadirika Kawa
on the day following the unveiling of the painting a dragonfly flew into the house, circled me and landed on Manjula’s pennant.
It’s a sign, it’s a sign. A message of love.
Manjula and I, was and are very happy

‘Beloved’
A portrait of Manjula
by Aadirika Kawa

With me

I’ve reached out to Manjula and I’m disappointed that she’s not appeared, or maybe she has. I know she’s with me. I am surrounded by her image but is that any reason not to commission another?

MAnjula is even on my mask and T shirt on this morning’s Lucie walk. .
A ghostly apparition?

She once told me a story about hungry ghosts which will feature in our story. I hope she’s not one as we’ve completed the rituals to help her her soul find it’s way to a new home.

I’ve commissioned a painting, of MAnjula and posted for you some of the early stages and a ‘teeny’ example where Lucie appears.

Previous postings of the painting one and two.

There will be more on the 24th and the painting arrives on the 25th. Look out for the star.

Hug them closer.

I wish I’d discovered this earlier, when Manjula was with me in person. 

I realise with Manjula and others I love, that there are often times when I’m — ‘not quite there.’ I have a tendency to distance, to go numb when stressed, withdraw and move to the edge.

On reflection, I think this might be one of my most significant failings. OK OK, queue here to add to the list….. (of significant failings) 😉

Presence Stephen, be there …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maria Popova’s Brain pickings which arrived in my mail box today, relates to this, and has introduced me to Thich Nhat Hanh.

I love this quote and there is more here, if you’re interested….

Some of my friends have been kind enough to share that when I lost Manjula they felt for me and hugged their own loved one closer and tighter.

It’s great that friends gain insights from our loss, which heightens their appreciation of their loved ones now.

….

I”m not sure we can maximise every single day and live it as if its your last (how exhausting) but Thich Nhat Hanh points out that we should strive to be there, to be present and connected to our loved one(s).

I realise, I did what I could in the circumstances but it’s always possible to do more and better. 

The intensity of loss highlights how important your love always is and will be, it shows how invaluable is the support you can give each other especially in challenging times. 

Manjula continues to give and she was always there and present, remarkably so, more than anyone I’ve known. More in our story, you’ll just have to wait.

I realise now that then you’re shocked by untimely death your love doesn’t perish, it grows in intensity and in a way, absence doesn’t diminish presence.

Her presence is of course beyond all the pics I’ve got around me of Manjula at home or that I occasionally ride through the city 😉 .

Meet We Three….

Hello from Manjula, Lucie and Stephen. Please follow the links below to the videos introducing you to our family.

An introduction from Stephen

A wonderful message from Manjula on what would have been her 47th birthday. Created by Faizan from the many videos she made for Stephen and our worldwide family.

The two lovely videos below are made by Tom and Amy who became so significant in our lives, we ‘adopted’ them.

Manjula preparing a meal and gifting her love.

Stephen guiding a MYcycle tour and providing historical, political and cultural insights in a boring Yorkshire way.

Lucie

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

Waiting rewarded….

Happy Birthday Manjula we love, miss and cherish you.

We wanted to hear from you on your 47th birthday and we’re not disappointed. We have a lovely message… check the video…. below

Thank you Manj.

Manjula never ever let me down and together we created a wonderful life. Thank you Manjula for making me happy.

Lucie and I, are now missing our brilliant smiling light. The memories and intensity of her giving soul of a beautiful caring, compassionate woman lives with us still.