unspoken prayers answered | Sandhya Varma | life

“If you had the opportunity to visit the past and undo something, what would you do?” This is a question that I address to the public attending my sessions. And every time I ask this question, my inner voice invariably cries out, “Let’s go back to September 2012 and cancel everything – the medical reports, this diagnosis that changed my destiny, the agony, the anxiety, the hopelessness, the fear and the pain. I fervently wished to erase that year when the person with whom I had shared my life and dreams succumbed to leptomeningeal carcinoma, leaving my daughter and I to face the challenges of this world but not alone, but without him.

The day my husband’s verdict was pronounced, when we only had six months of common existence left, I felt the sand move forever under my feet. Because it was only two and a half years since we started living our dreams; so much that we had planned to accomplish. That was it ? Never in my scariest nightmares had I imagined leading a lonely life. Although educated, daring and independent, between career and family, the latter has always taken precedence. I had never faced such a dark night of the soul. How I wanted to rewrite fate just once! How I wished her unfortunate plea to the doctor came true: “Doctor, please do something and let me live.” I have a wife and a daughter to take care of. I want to live, doctor please … ”

Alas, the doctors had no magic wand, no miracles happened, and no time machine that could help me that year. Although the doctors, nurses and palliative care counselors at Christian Medical College in Vellore prepared me for the inevitable when disaster struck, it shattered my life. While the doctors had prognosticated and manifested all the symptoms of pain and virulence predicted in the medical literature, Ashok left, destined to haunt our memories, becoming a case study in medical history.

Six months of stalking the halls and wards made me adjust to the tiring schedule. It had kept me so busy taking care of Ashok, that I suddenly realized that I had no other purpose in life. I could feel not only emptiness, but also pain, fear and anxiety. My daughter, looked after by my mother, was not very much in my thoughts.

Extended family as support system: maternal aunt Dr Sujatha Varma, father Manohara Varma CK, cousin Nanda Kishore Manoj, mother Radhamani V, cousin Gowri, Chaithanya and uncle Dr Manoj Kumar

Some questions have an answer, others don’t; and then there are some who are related to my mind: Why Me? When I deserved to be free. If harmony was something I deserved, why was I denied? As a believer raised to trust in the power of the Healer, why was I not healed? Why haven’t I been blessed? Did I make such a serious mistake, to the point of being beyond forgiveness? All I dreamed of was a simple life, without opulence, aspiring neither to glory nor to fame. Why was I so destined? Why is this happening to me? These questions tormented me.

Even as I struggled to overcome this inner noise and sought solace in the world, I found myself trapped in a different kind of uproar. Howls, breaststrokes, arrangements for final rituals, disputes over ceremonies, feasts in preparation, priests chanting mantras, adorning bridal clothes for a fortnight, sacrificing colors, bracelets and flowers at the end of this period And so on. I was petrified.

Although these ceremonies were excruciating and some seemed superstitious to me, looking back I realize that each ceremony brought me closer to the reality of my husband’s death. It also allowed me to come to terms with the fact that I had to move forward, paying attention to my daughter who had only me to watch and my parents who had been with me in all trials and tribulations. . Somewhere in the midst of all this pandemonium, the seed of transformation has been sown inside. Time, the greatest healer, made it sprout. A desire to accomplish myself and prove myself; to fight looks of pity and sympathy; be treated under normal conditions; and most importantly, that burning desire to raise a confident child and lead a meaningful life.

I was quickly bombarded with offers from a variety of backgrounds — jobs, remarriage, and help with taking care of my baby. Although most were genuine, they were tinged with sympathy. I missed someone who believed in me; missed the trust Ashok rested in me and missed the strength I saw for myself in his eyes. The babbling around me agreed on one thing: “You can’t do it alone and you would need support and help. Although I accepted that we do not live alone and that we are interdependent, my goal was to gain my self-confidence. I wanted to believe in myself, so I chose to start from scratch.

Unsure of whether I was right or wrong, I turned down jobs offered out of compassion and not in recognition of my qualifications or skills. Among those were the pharmaceutical examiner at Novartis {Ashok’s last employer}, assistant professor in an engineering school where I taught, post in a public school in Secunderabad where I would have taught without Ashok disease. -this. Although without big plans for my career, I had a few goals. I wanted my parents to heal and be at peace. I just wanted to work so I could make ends meet and ensure a secure future for my daughter. These brought me back to my home side of Kerala after seven years working in Chennai, two years looking for a job in Hyderabad and one year in Vellore. My maternal aunt Dr Sujatha and uncle Dr Manoj introduced me to the warm embrace of the welcoming town of Kozhikode, becoming my support system to bring me and my family back to life.

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At United Nations Headquarters, New York, attending the 2017 JCI United Nations World Summit, representing JCI India

Most misinterpret “Moving on” as leading a new life without forgetting the past. I also believe and have lived that we do not overcome the past; instead, we learn to live with it. The advancement process is slow and takes place in stages. She’s strong, she’s daring, a great lady, worthy of applause, she handled well, are some of the comments from the people I’ve shared my story with. I really don’t believe in being someone special or having done anything extraordinary. Indeed, I have lost my heart several times at different times.

I always want him to be with us to share and celebrate those little moments that give life its full meaning. Like the warrior of my favorite writer, Paulo Coelho, I often lose heart. I have spent many evenings and nights feeling defeated. And there are times when nothing seems to restore my enthusiasm. I want to give in. But then something inside me stiffens in stubbornness and prevents me from giving up my goals. Then, when I least expect it, a new door of opportunity opens.

Keep your eyes on the light no matter how dark it is, no matter how lost or hopeless you feel, just keep your eyes on the light and you will be fine. These are the lines of the book Koshy Uncle {M. Koshy P Thomas, Oman, Ashok’s co-patient in Vellore} once gave my father a present. Although I have read it countless times, I could never believe it because I never got to see a light no matter how hard I tried. But now I have started to come to terms with my suffering and I can feel that every pain comes with a plan, God’s loving plan for growth in our lives.

This could be my unexpected meeting with Fr. John Mannarathara CMI, and my next session with a group of spirited 12th graders who made me fall in love with Devagiri CMI Public School, prompting me to move to Kozhikode. As I healed, something inside me seemed incomplete. My original self has blossomed; I wanted to explore. From online tutoring for kids to starting my own online tutoring business – Learning Arena. I joined the Junior Chamber International (JCI).

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From the liberation feature of “Parenting Paadangal”, published by Mathrubhumi Books; Director IIM-K Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, then Editor-in-Chief of Mathrubhumi PI Rajeev, Sandhya and Fr. John Mannarathara CMI, Principal of Silver Hills Public School, Kozhikode

Mathrubhumi’s ‘Nagaram’ supplement hosted a weekly column – Parenting Paadangal – which completed a century and was subsequently published in book form. Co-founder of Skillquest360, a skills development company, I am also a trainer and coach. To my surprise, I was invited to be part of the faculty of the Center for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST) ​​based in Kozhikode, which perfects the soft skills of people from traditionally disadvantaged classes, otherwise endowed with native intelligence. Each of these milestones gave purpose and meaning to my life. I did not reach them alone; to have had my parents, daughter, friends, extended family and many others who have truly supported me, to each of whom I owe my accomplishments.

These lines written by an anonymous Confederate soldier during the American Civil War are very dear:

I asked for all things, that I could enjoy life

I was given life, so that I could enjoy all things …

I hardly got what I asked for, but more than what I had hoped for. Almost in spite of myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

And I believe that I am one of those who are infinitely blessed.

(The writer is a coach and entrepreneur who engages students and individuals from different backgrounds, equipping them to achieve their goals)


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