Thoughts of loss and grief were swirling in my head today, and the following conversation with Hari came to mind. One night last Summer, Hari and I were snuggling each other at bedtime and were generally chatting before drifting off to sleep. Out of the blue, Hari asked, “Amma what happens to us after we die.”
I replied, “It depends on who you ask rajathi. To a religious person, we go to heaven or hell or we are reborn depending on the kind of life we have led here on earth. To a spiritual person, it’s the form, meaning the body, that ceases to exist. The real you, your soul, still remains intact. To the scientifically inclined, the body perishes after dieing and there is nothing more to it.”
After listening to this long winded explanation, he shot back, “But I want to know what YOU think mama.” And I said, “Kanna, honestly, I do not know for sure because death is a mystery. But I do know that those that die continue to live in the hearts and memories of those that are left behind. “
He asked that I explain. So I went on, “See whenever there is a cricket match, Rajeevi patti and appa always always think of Kanna thatha because Kanna thatha loved cricket. It was his passion. Likewise, do you remember your (Nana) kollu thatha? His favorite ommachi was Rama. Whenever I got to Chinmaya Mission, when I close my eyes in front of the Ramar sannadhi, all I can think of is kollu thatha, and for those few minutes I revisit all the things that we did together – how he would give money to us put in the hundiyil, how he would pop a bakshanam in my mouth when he is munching on his afternoon snack, how he would make us to do math during summer breaks, so on and so forth. For those few minutes, he is so alive, in my heart, in my memories.”
Shortly after winding up this conversation we moved to lighter subjects and snuggled each other tighter.
It’s true, isn’t it, that we carry the departed ones in our hearts. Sometimes the burden of their absence weighing heavily like a ton of bricks, causing many a heartache. And then we wait knowing that this too shall pass. Because time heals, even a broken heart.