Sigh! I’ve begun to love my readers. Writing is a labor of love anyway, but to be writing for you, is a privilege because I know you are amazing. Let me say, that your responses have made me feel so close to you all. In the past two weeks or so, (after my father passed away) I’ve been totally overwhelmed. Your messages on Instagram and Facebook have truly helped me in coping.
Now, it has come to a point, where I’m going to be consoling you all. Everyone who came, naturally shared their own sad experiences too. I realized I’m not alone in my sorrow. Many of you have had far more heart wrenching experiences.
So, let us heal together.
I’ll start with a joke; There is this funny case, where there was one person chasing the other. When they were stopped to find out why; one said, ‘I’ve sat and listened to all his poetry. Now, when it was my turn, he is running away! So, I’m chasing him, to make him sit and listen to my poetry also!’
Got it? I’m here for you. So, let us heal together.
Luckily, we belong to a religion that doesn’t allow more than three days of grieving. (Only the wife can be in iddat for around four months. That too, she need not be too restricted.) So, all others are to get back to real life.
How to get back to normal life:
- By looking round at people who have gone through more than yourself, and sharing their sorrows. Try healing together.
- I’ve realized that sorrow has a tendency to make one a bit selfish as we start only thinking of our own grief, so this is why we need to give charity, to realize the pain and sorrows of others.
- We need to consciously, make commitments and honor the commitments made earlier. Instead of refusing such occasions, try to attend them. Make an effort to get back to normal life as soon as possible. For instance, much earlier, I had accepted being a chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony in Sarah’s Wisdom Garden school where I’ve worked earlier. When Munazza Azhar asked me, I agreed to go. So, when the time came, I went. This was exactly a week after my father passed away. When asked again, I purposely made the effort. Once I went, it felt good to get back in touch with real life.
- Similarly, I made an effort to resume my art classes which I had recently begun at my studio. I know it is hard. It will be hard anyway.
- Be kind to your staff who has worked so hard. So, I gave leave to my father’s helper, so he could be with his family too. (In the earlier days, he himself didn’t take leave.)
- Thanking Allah at every step is so important.
- Watching finances carefully is vital. Due to departure of one family member the financial dynamics change. So, be down to earth about it. In our culture we have a tendency of over spend. We are at fault. I’ve seen very big business people being very simple at such times.
More self-talk points:
In fact, self-talk is awareness of one’s inner voice. We do it with our journals. When I became a widow, I faced appalling financial issues. I was also clear not to ask for any money. So, I had to be very careful and focused. (Perhaps one day I’ll share with you how I managed.) But this time, it is sufficient to say, always keep money aside for a ‘rainy day’. This is the rainy day. But then, do not spend all of it either. Here too, you’ve got to keep aside for another rainy day.
So, what I do is to have a ‘meeting with myself’. It sounds funny, but it is true. One has to give time to such an activity.
- A time free of all distractions. To sit alone with a notepad or journal.
- Decide the topics that need to be thought out. And do it.
- So, you can silently communicate with yourself, taking your own name or using the third person as ‘she’ or ‘he’. I looked it up and there was interesting information on the net. I liked this one best. Specially the ‘door’ methods, where you invite the uncomfortable emotions in, and deal with them with compassion to heal yourself.
- In my recent case, I had to tell myself to be grateful to have had my father in our home for last six years. To have so many happy memories with him.
- In short, through self-talk you will be your own best friend.
Make a reality check. In short, accept help offered voluntarily. Later, you can reciprocate at an appropriate time. Also, be in the middle ground for all expenses. Be careful with valuables around the house, and keep an open eye all round. Sometimes miscreants arrive at such times. So be vigilant.
In the beginning your relatives and friends will come at all hours. It is fine, and you need it. Later, on as you get back to normal routine, have a special ‘visitor’s hour’ so that you can start work too. Usually, a time slot between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm is a good one. Be particular that this socializing doesn’t put a burden on the sleeping times of the young and old in your family.
Our culture is pretty lethal. So, be very clear about not letting such cultural traditions into your routine which have no place in one’s religion. The fact is that there is no room for lavishing food out on ‘chaleeswan’ and ‘barsi’. Even a Qul isn’t necessary. But it is better for the family to call everyone at the same time. So, this is fine. Usually, in our culture we are lavishing food on those who have enough, it would be better to feed the poor instead.
During your self-talk…
- Clarify your situation to yourself. Then specify your requirements and prioritize them.
- Be clear as to what needs to be done first, then next and so on. So, later on you don’t regret for not doing certain things in time.
- Do, take help from your near and dear ones. Decide whom you will confide in.
- Do make notes.
- Once you have clarified your stance. You will feel better and more able to cope with whatever situation is at hand.
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. If you are doing ten things, there would be failure in two or more. Do not dwell on your mistakes. Just learn from them and move on.
- Take yourself on a drive, or pamper yourself. Take along someone who gives you peace, not brings in her own potpourri of miseries too. It is a time to say a simple ‘Alhamdolillah’ that is all.
- Listen to your heart, because your gut, your God and You live there.
- Through your self talk, you will find ways to implement what is in your heart.
Keep up your good work:
My mentor Mahjabeen mentioned the other day, if you have started doing something for Allah’s sake, like giving food to fishes, or birds or animals, do continue doing it, as they will be looking out for you now. If you have started some social work, do not let it get stopped because you got busy, you must make a point of doing all those things, as those people too will be waiting for you.
Once, I used to volunteer at Rahat Kada in Karachi, (a place for the terminally ill patients.) When I went, a lady told me, she had put on lipstick and was ready since the morning waiting for us! She was so happy we had gone to sit and chat with her and other patients.
Sometimes, if we cannot do anything, just to give some time and attention can make all that difference in someone else’s life.
So, in this ‘self-talk’ we need to remind ourselves to carry on the little things we have taken up lately. To make sure we are doing our bit in this life given to us.
Stay blessed my dear one. I really love you, and wish all the best for you.