18 Dec 2013

Coping with Grief

It is 3 weeks since my father, my Baba, passed away. I am still finding it extremely difficult to believe that he is no longer with us. I keep thinking he is still but a phone call away, as he had always been these last few years.

The emotions tend to range from overwhelming to subdued. There is frustration, helplessness, anger, disbelief, sadness. The 'what if's' and 'if only's' keep coming endlessly. 

I have normal moments. And then reality bites. It hits home all over again, that Baba is no more.

My little son, my J, is only 2 years old. I hate to think he is going to grow up not knowing his granddad, his Bandu Aba, at all. The only memories will be a few photographs and hearsay. 

I am trying to find closure. I have to. J at 2 years needs me more than I need to cling on to my grief. He is a remarkably sensitive child with an understanding far beyond his years. 

He had mentioned his Bandu Aba a good few times over the last days and weeks. Especially when we flew over to see my mother, my Aai, and the family. He was bewildered to see everyone there. Everyone except his Bandu Aba. 

Baba loved burning incense sticks. There was a particularly poignant moment when J and I walked into his room and caught a lingering whiff of incense - incense that had ceased to burn since the day Baba passed away. J stopped mid-step, turned to me with a questioning look, "Bandu Aba?" The last time we were in that room was over a year ago.

How do you explain death to a toddler to whom the concept is alien, non-existent? I started by saying that Bandu Aba had gone far away to do 'night night'. That he had gone in an aeroplane to a faraway place. J was not convinced. He kept asking for Bandu Aba. It did not help that I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I told him this.

In the end I decided to put a happy face on it for J's sake. I told him that Bandu Aba had gone in a spaceship to live with his Aai and Baba, that he was now living with them among the stars. J wanted to know when he would go in a spaceship. Not for a very, very, very long time. He was already living here with his Aai and Baba. We got out Baba's photo and asked J if he wanted to say 'bye 'bye to Bandu Aba. He did, even blew him a kiss. We did not say "See you soon," though.

I got through this conversation with a calm face and no tears. J seemed to have found his closure.

He has not asked about Bandu Aba since. We were looking at some old family photos yesterday. I managed to do so without tears. J was happy to identify everyone in the photos. Even his Bandu Aba.

The time has come for me to let go. Life has to go on as normal. For J. Baba would not have liked it any other way.


  1. I am so sorry to read this, I had missed your previous post. You have my sympathies, I lost my father a long time ago - it gets easier, but it's always there. Take strength from your friends and family xx

    1. Thanks Sara. Penning down my thoughts has helped immensely. x

  2. Explaining death to little ones is so so hard - especially when we are so full of questions ourselves. Do not rush your grief x


  3. Thanks Colette. Writing all that I felt has certainly helped me to come to terms. And am so glad for J. He just makes it all so much easier to bear x


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