Thank you for your kind responses via messages, phone calls, Facebook and here on this site, to my two letters. It’s been important for me to share and feel your support.
In passing through the grief portal of pain to love, to understand and know Manjula better. I’ve found a few useful books.
The letter to Manjula was me talking to her to recognise my loss, and share with her, my remorse which I wasn’t able to before she died. It’s part of a process outlined in the grief handbook the book on top of the pile.
I’ve maybe written the letter a dozen times but it’s only now I’ve felt able to share it with her. In therapeutic groups or pairs they’ll often read their letter out to each other.
It’s quite interesting to shift from focussing on her body/ego to her soul spirit wherever that might now be.
It’s been quite a journey from the devastation I felt through to recognising my absolute love and devotion to Manjula. There’s now more sweet and less bitter and my first thought is now more likely to bring a smile, than a tear.
I now know her better, partly as I’m researching and writing our story.
Meanwhile Mysore comes back to life. There’s been an unlocking. Here’s a few shots from our morning walk
I’m reading the book about finding meaning: the sixth stage of grief. I’m writing notes as Kessler talks about “the secret to remembering with love begins with accepting the pain not trying to deny it or ignore it….. love is on the other side of pain”
I’m reflecting on how I’ve managed this over the last year. As I write this I’m gently crying, sniffling just a little bit. Lucie looks up, stares with her sad brown eyes and squeals as if to draw my attention. I think she knows what’s happening and wants to comfort me. So we have a stroke for support.
At that very moment a black and orange butterfly flies into the balcony with a message: Manjula did feel my love and would have always known it was present.
It’s an important day as the Poojari has read the stars, consulted who knows who and what to issue a hand written decree that today (12th March) is actually Manjula’s death anniversary and not the 23rd as we mere mortals might have assumed. I was on duty this morning making breakfast for two sets of guests one from Belgium and the other from Canada had gelled wonderfully on yesterday’s cycle tours.
After breakfast the real work began preparing lunch for our immediate team and special guest Kanchana.
A BIG thank you to SB for everything, Satish was project manager and his wife on cooking duty. Good to see Vasanth and his wife
Pooja for Manjula was completed by one o’clock then we all went outside and closed the door for Manjula to come and tuck in.
should we allow five or ten minutes? I reckoned ten as she was a slow eater. We then knocked on the door to warn her and reentered. One more turn with flames. I’d forgotten to count and so might have done extra. MAnjula wouldn’t have expected anything different.
then we were allowed to eat. Quite unusually in our house. Men first on the floor, women, the sophisticates, at the table. They clearly had planned to feed the five thousand so a fair amount was distributed to the poor. Of course we’d also sponsored food at the ashram for the elderly residents as we, Tom and Amy have done numerous times.
To engage the neighbours I placed little signs by the benches and a life size photo of MAnjula out the front of the house.
Lucie got tired just being Lucie. It’s fair to say she was overcome by the emotion of it all. She’s clearly in tune.
as are the water Lilly and today’s innovation the memory tree.
Manjula, our star, we miss and love you, sometimes it’s too much to bear but we have lots of wonderful memories to help us through.
Manjula had a most beautiful smile that many have said lit up the room and left a presence in their heart.
A smile brings us together and Manjula most definitely brought people together, crossed social, class, cultural caste and international boundaries and made connections. Just one of her astonishing attributes. (There’s that Farrell bias again 🙂)
“Care granted to the sick, welcome offered to the banished, forgiveness itself are worth nothing without a smile enlightening the deed. We communicate in a smile beyond languages, classes, and parties. We are faithful members of the same church, you with your customs, I with mine.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I know this of Manjula, she beamed her smile, passed on her warmth, lit up our way regardless of the toll her gattling gun of illnesses was making on her poor depleted body. To her very last she squeezed out a giggle and a smile.