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A Lesson Called Life……

A Lesson Called Life……

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Life lesson

This reflective piece by Dr. Puja Banerjee Barua, delves into the emotional turmoil experienced when witnessing a loved one succumb to cognitive decline or loss, emphasizing the struggle to maintain hope and acceptance amidst profound change. It discusses the lessons learnt from life.

I have seen it before. That look. Vacant. Glazed. Uncomprehending. And l have learned to dread it. The look of a loved one being replaced by a shadow of his/ her former self. The pain felt by the one who can still feel, remember, and comprehend is beyond description.

Many of us would be familiar with such a situation…a parent, a spouse, an uncle, a cousin, a friend…someone we loved/love, someone who mattered/matters, someone we had/have memories with….lost to us, for who knows how long…maybe forever? It takes a lot of courage and forbearance to face that look in the person’s eyes. To recognise the passing of a light from them…to be knocking on a door that might have closed upon you, forever. But, they say, hope burns eternal in the breast. It is this one emotion that sees children/parents/friends/spouses/ lovers/siblings, anyone who cares , through bottomless abysses of darkness and negativity. To keep up the search for the one they knew and loved and cherished. To not give up, not until that flame, flickering but not-extinguished-yet, dies, for good.
And all the while, we are adapting to the feel of the much-changed loved one, struggling with ourselves to accept . The earlier the acceptance, the better for all involved, wisdom that is difficult to come by for the insider. Objectivity is seldom a virtue one draws on when it comes to a loved one.

When you deal with a catastrophe from close quarters, it opens your eyes to some harsh truths. An extremely unpalatable one is that no one is indispensable. No matter what you might have been told by your loved ones, no matter what you might have been telling yourself, this world and life in it will not pause for even a nanosecond if things are not alright with you or in the event that you are gone. Hit you hard, right? But that’s what it is.

Ironically , the reverse also holds true.  You may have convinced a loved one in all sincerity that you would not last a minute without them, that life would be unlivable, that you would die, etc. etc. without them.. well, you get the picture. And then when the day comes, you will not only live through it and more, but also soon begin to feel all normal human urges, of hunger, happiness, love, desire.. You will curse yourself for ‘betraying‘ your love for and the memories of your loved one, to no avail. Of course we have all been through this.. and we all know how this story ends.
Yet another harsh truth that one often realises in a crisis is that we take a lot of things for granted… and stop being grateful for them, stop appreciating and acknowledging their place in our lives. The day our routine lives are thrown out of gear, it jolts us awake, to our insides, to our arrogance.
Two scores and a few years on this earth as a human being has served to teach me this much…to value what l have while l have them and to think of myself with humility…l come from nothingness and to nothingness l shall return. No use pretending otherwise.
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