Amidst the beautiful condolence messages on ma’s death, the recurring one is a wish for me to ‘be strong’.
As I see more and more of ‘be strong’ I wonder if I am being strong? I seem to make phone calls to arrange for care for my dad who is not doing well. I am exchanging wsapp messages, text messages, Facebook messages with friends in Kolkata and here to make decisions regarding baba’s care, trying to figure out how to procure ma’s death certificate (seems strange to write that), communicating with Gouri who lives in our house in Kolkata and is crying her heart out, informing friends and family about regular health updates. When all this is done, when Kolkata falls asleep and I am even more numb from pain, I sit quietly, catatonic. Is this being strong or this numbness is extreme shock and extreme vulnerability? What does strength mean in this situation? Does it mean holding it together and getting the job done? If it is that, then I am being strong. But then when do I grieve? When can I just let all this go and scream and beat my chest and just cry my heart out?
I have this undescribable pain in my chest that is simply lodged there. I feel if I have a good, loud cry, the pain may just dislodge but would that seem weak? Also, tears are coming in spurts when a sudden memory rises up in my mind. When her whole life with me plays out in front of my eyes. All those years when we were apart seem such wasted time.
Saying I am in a lot of pain – is that strength or weakness?
This grief is an interesting process.