"I screwed up my life big-time, a lot of ways. Did a lot of stupid stuff. But at least I saw one amazing thing."
------One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
2013 was a blow. It was a year that filled our lives with much sorrow. It was a time of emotional ups and downs. Two deaths in the family and a birth. My father-in-law's sudden death was followed by an unexpected calamity - the departure of my only brother. I was expecting my second child, my daughter, whose arrival I could not in any way celebrate. I became cold in many ways. I started forgetting people's birthdays, something I had been very particular about since I always liked to wish them on their special days. I would hate when someone remembered mine, because all it reminded me was the last surprise celebration my brother had planned for me. I stopped praying. It seemed futile to sit with folded hands and eyes closed when there was no one out there to listen. I looked around and saw death, loss, grief, pain everywhere. I wasn't the only one to suffer. I would look at a solitary cloud floating in the sky and that would take my back to my brother. It was as if he was in it, flying freely while I stood on the ground searching for him, in vain. When on the road, I would be lost in the deep woods that bordered NJ freeways. They would beckon my spirit silently and I seemed to follow, hoping that he was there, calling me, waiting to talk to me.
But he was not there. He could not be.
I had to come back, empty-handed, always.
Life was utterly hopeless.
I had to find a way out. But I did not know how.
Then one day, a close friend of mine called me. She was feeling very low. I tried to cheer her up on the phone, Later I wrote something for her. It was my first blog post - For You, My Dear Friend. It was from here that I named my Blog, When I Stopped to Smell a Rose. I did not know what would happen next. It wasn't as if all my agony had swept away. No, I still felt that void. I don't really thing it can be filled in any ways. But it did touch my core in an inexplicable way. My heart ached to write.
I had started on a journey almost unawares. I was clueless as to where it would lead me. But I was willing to be led. Some unheard voice guided me along. Some unseen hand nudged me gently and I started walking.
It was later that I realized a strange thing. I had posted my first poem, my first writing on my grandmother's birthday - October 15. It was a strange feeling, an astonishing realization, a sign I willingly acknowledged as a blessing. It was an amazing thing to see that tiny speck of light amidst the bleakest, gloomiest part of my life.
I remembered all the birthdays I had celebrated with her, the cards I had made for everyone special to me, the happy moments that had given me so much precious memories to hold on to. Do you think I cried then? No, I cleansed myself of the heaviness of the sorrow that was crushing me.
I got up, and I decided to walk around, with others, to lighten them up, to cheer them up.
To make them smile.
Through the foggy blindness of my pain, through the blurry denseness of others' misery, a hope sprung inside. And I decided to write.
I have continued. Somehow, despite occasional setbacks, I have continued. What started on October 15, 2014, has completed two years.
My blog has survived.
My hopes have survived.
The lone distant cloud still fills my heart with yearning and the deep woods still intrigue me.
But something stays put. Something holds me together. The healing continues.
All I need to do now is to extend a Big Thanks to all of you, my family, my friends, my fellow bloggers, who have tolerated me despite my irregularity.
I never thought I would be here. But who can, really, even if one plans. Do we ever have any absolute knowledge of even one moment of future. No, I don't think so.
But then, if we had the knowledge, would it be easy? The answer is again NO.
As I end the post, I want to share one more thing.
Last night, we dined outside. It would have been just like any other moment of eating outside but for one thing. Our table was next to a family who was celebrating an occasion. It was a very special one. The eldest member of their family, their mother-in-law, had turned 90! It was amazing to be part of this celebration although we were not part of the family. As we extended our wishes to the birthday girl, my heart was filled with amazement. I felt after a long time that birthdays are special!
Linking to Sanch Vee 's #FridayReflections prompt
Did you think you’d be doing what you’re currently doing in life? Write a personal essay.