Monday, October 26, 2009


Like most people in love I too had professed that I could not live without the object of my affection. Now he's gone and I am still here. I am surviving, existing without makes liars of us all.

It is eighteen months...everyone says how quickly the time has passed but I know how difficult it has been to get through each moment stretched in grief, in absence, in pain...time is elastic.

In the first few months after Shekhar's death, all I could think of was - what if I die too? That question carried me through the immediate collapse of life as I knew it...I lived with a deadline. I got through each day walking the tightrope between 'if' and 'if only' with an almost manic hold on the only reality I knew and understood. Everything needed to be sorted, organized, consolidated...for the children. Time was an external construct, a limited context. There were no goals, only priorities.

Then at some point around the sixth month, the question turned on its head. What if I live? For a year? For ten? For longer than I had him in my life? The emptiness yawned and consumed both past and present. I decided to live one day at a time but living one day at a time in the shadow of death means living without anticipation, without goals, without meaning, without purpose...without a future.

So since the night I held death in my arms, I have learnt not that life is precious but that when the time comes there is nothing you can do to fight death's cold embrace. Words bounce, tears dry, touch withers...mortmain - the dead hand - grips life. Its hold is so tight that time slows and becomes a fallacy, perspective foreshortens, thought distorts - life and death connect in a visible arc.

Mortality is our mien. We live to die but it is only when death becomes personal do we try to find meaning in life. Till then, death is just a statistic...and numbers don't die.


A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

XLVI, from Part Four: Time and Eternity by Emily Dickinson