Generally Speaking

Guru Purnima – Of Life and the Profundity that is Grief

It is Guru Purnima.  I figured this would be a good time to start writing again.

My last blog post was in Oct 2018. I had taken a break that month for self-care. I did not realize how much more intentional I would need to be in the months to come after that about ensuring that I was taking care of my emotional health.  I did not feel like writing but a few close friends insisted that I must write, especially because I am grieving.

My grandma was sick, really sick. I put on a very brave face most of the time. I hid my tears when I used to visit her at the nursing home. I spoke in terms of hope and recovery because medically, we were told we had hope.

Then 2019 came along. With that came a whole new perspective and a whole new reality. Grandma was not doing better. Her children were coming together to make sense of this new prognosis. It was not easy. I, the chaplain, tried to be one to those I love dearly. The next few months did not get easier.

April 2019 turned out to be a pivotal month. My life changed permanently. A great joy and a great loss on the exact same day was something more than I was prepared to handle.

Being a chaplain to my family as we braced for grandma’s physical demise was something I had not imagined. An incredible strength came through to be there for my family when grandma died. But can we just talk about how much it hurt? My heart broke into a million pieces every time I saw my family grieving.

Grief is overwhelming. It probably is the single most emotion that has power to override any other emotion which a human being can feel. When grieving, the pain of loss is almost physical. It feels as if your heart is hurting – literally. 

A wave of grief overpowers every once in a while. It doesn’t matter where I am  – driving to get groceries or touring a busy street in Central London or just a regular day at work.

My grandma is no longer with us physically. I think of her every day – many times a day. I miss her every day. Having said that, I also remember every day how proud she was of her grandchildren. She took so much pride in every little thing that her grandchildren achieved.

Her loss has pushed me to reflect more on my work as a chaplain. There’s more soul searching I need to do. There’s more reflection need. There is a lot more to write. I am sure, in time, the words will come.

My grandma was a person of deep faith. She was traditional but not orthodox. She loved rituals but also practical insights. Oh and as far as my faith goes, it is intact. Stronger than ever before. My Shivji is right here with me – through the great loss and through the great joy.

On this Guru Purnima, I am grateful for Life as a Guru.

Wishing you all a very Shubh Guru Purnima…
No matter who or what you consider your Guru, may you always be surrounded in Guru Kripa…

Until next time,

“I have never said that there is no need for a Guru. All depends on what you call Guru. [S]He need not be in a human form.” – Ramana Maharshi



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