It’s been one full year since Reena lost her younger brother in a bike accident. And today as she sits down with her cup of coffee, she is bombarded with the memories of that unfortunate day. The crying, the grief, the stress, the blood, the dead body, the frantic calls, the guilt, the police case, the hospital, the crematorium and so much more that she wishes nobody had to ever experience.
Nothing has been more painful for her than to see his brother’s body lay their lifeless. The moment she heard the news from a stranger calling from her brother’s phone – she was devastated. She wished and prayed that this was some sort of a misunderstanding or horrible prank but when she reached the accident spot – she immediately identified the bike and then the helmet, it was indeed her brother’s. Then she saw the clothes smothered in blood, she identified the Levis Jeans and the UCB tee that was supposed to be blue but now was entirely red. And she screamed her most painful scream when her eyes met the face.
Her eyes welled up and she shut them close as she remembered the moment. She shut her eyes so tight in an attempt to shut the pain but that never happens. Even after a year, the pain seems to be so deep – it is like being killed a million times. She kept her cup down and moved towards the bookshelf. Picked up the book called “Stages of grief”. She had read it so many times in the last one year. She opened the first page and it said “May this give you the strength. Love Sujata”. This book made her aware of 7 different stages of grief which she now knew by heart. But she had no clue which stages she was in now. It sounded quite easy to understand these stages in the context of somebody else. But when the grief is your own, it is almost impossible to know if you are in the Depression stage or Pain and Guilt stage.
Reena was slowly getting aware that she was past the stage of “Shock and Denial”. She had spent weeks after the funeral believing that all this was just a bad dream and that if she just calls him, he will be right there. She sent countless messages to him on WhatsApp, it always had just one black tick. She left many messages on his Facebook profile (which was now declared as a Memorialized account) and those were only responded to by others who shared her grief. She would keep calling his number over and over again even though she had witnessed his lifeless body being burnt.
Reena had also very clearly experienced the stage of “Anger and Bargaining”. Her brother was going to meet his girlfriend Kritika when he was hit by a truck. Reena blamed Kritika for months and wondered if there was some way to stop him from being on road at that time. Multiple “what if” and “if only” statements kept crossing her mind. She completely stopped communicating with Kritika even though they had been good friends earlier only because she held her responsible for what happened.
“What if I had called him that day?”
“This wouldn’t have happened, if I would have agreed to go out with him and Kritika for the movie”
“What if he would have taken that job in Kolkata, maybe he would still be alive.”
These hypothetical scenarios kept doing the rounds in her head.
There were days when Reena felt really at peace. She would just close her eyes and accept that her brother was gone and even though this is one of the worst things that have happened to her – it has indeed happened. And she needs to live with this forever. She would remember all the good times that she had with her brother and believe that he is always around no matter what. This was the stage of “Acceptance and Hope”.
Then some days the stage of “Depression” would come lashing back at her. She would stay silent mostly, not thinking anything. Just sitting at one place for hours together. After multiple rounds of this stage, she now knew that she needed help to get out of depression. Sujata was the only person she would call who always succeeded to bring her out of this abyss. “Look at your bright life. You are just 27, you have a promising career and an amazing set of parents. Your brother would have always wanted to see you happy and successful, don’t make him unhappy.”
Today Reena saw a new hope when she read an email from Sujata that made a lot of sense. The email said –
I have new understanding of what death is and I would like to share it with you. Maybe it will help you. Imagine that a bunch of kids are playing with bubbles and they are competing with each other to make the largest bubble that can stay for the longest time. The moment they blow the bubbles, they all start screaming – see my bubble is going so up and so fast. Each bubble is holding some amount of air in it and once the bubble breaks there is no boundary around the air. Now no kid can identify his/her bubble.
Our body on this planet is just like a bubble. Once this bubble breaks, we get mixed into The Creator and cannot identify with our worldly identity anymore. However, the human body is much more complex than a soap bubble. It has layers of existence. The physical body (blood and flesh) is the outermost layer of this bubble and this is what we identify with the most. Once this physical body is gone, there are other layers that are perceived in many different ways in different cultures. These layers continue to exist for as long as they are not ready to break. Once these layers break, the soul dissolves into The Creator.
In case of sudden deaths, these inner layers might be strong and the essence of that person might still be lingering around for quite a few days. For people who died peacefully at an old age, the inner layers also break along with the physical body. Their souls can dissolve into The Creator within a couple of hours of death.
Maybe your brother is still around you and taking care of you and maybe he is gone into The Creator only to be reborn into a fresh body from a womb. Either way, you must seek closure to what you feel for your brother. Do some meditation tonight. Try to feel his presence and if you don’t feel anything then just let him go because he needs to be liberated even from your thoughts.
Reena cried hysterically when she read this. She wasn’t clear what she felt but it felt like somebody had lifted a huge weight from her shoulders. She meditated not just that night and every single night. It gave her peace and warmth and gradually she believed that she was ready to let go of him. This most probably is an “Upward turn” and she wouldn’t fall back into the “Depression” stage again.