Breathe in, breathe out, I was guiding Raoul through the session.
Raoul, came to me with an interesting problem, he was happily married, in a good job, his wife and he had decided not to have kids, yet he had this constant nag that he was not doing something he was supposed to do and that kind of puzzled him.
His wife and he had both deliberated it.
“you will now access that memory that is triggering the feeling of a task undone, ”
I let Raoul be for a while,
“what do you see Raoul?”
“an old man,”
“In his seventies tending the sheep, I feel a mild discomfort in my chest, ”
“I feel I am out of the body”
“any significant memory of that life time,”
“I am a fifteen year old boy, and I see a man well-built of royal origin, he is whipping this woman, and she is crying. Panna has entered the room,
“who is Panna”
“the girlI am to marry”
“what are you feeling”
“Panna, is very kind, and brave I would like to tell her that she makes my life beautiful. I tend the royal man’s sheep while she helps the Lord’s wife. ”
“Panna tried to stop the Lord from hitting his wife, the Lord was so angry he pushed Panna away, Panna has hit the corner of the wall, and died.”
“no I am the seventy year old man again, my soul is passing through, ”
“If only I had told Panna, what she meant me, my entire life has been dedicated to her, I have not married, yet I still wish I could tell her.”
“As I count you from 5 to zero you will see any other memory that is relevant. 5-4-3-3-2-1-0 what do you see”
“Where are you”
“At the temple with my family, my parents, wife, and the priest.”
“How are you dressed?”
“Red silks, I look like I come from fairly wealthy family.”
“I seem contented with life, I have a beautiful wife, and parents, I belong to a prosperous farmer, trader community.”
“We are at the temple, I feel the chest pain again, I am leaving this body too.”
“Any significant moment in that life,”
“No, except that the vaidya had told us we could have children unless I got married again, and I did not want to hurt my wife Tripura doing that.”
“Okay, anything else”
“The thought that emerges is I could not take care of Panna, so she came to my life again as Tripura, I still did not tell her how much I love her.”
“…” I quite knew that the moment of truth had arrived.
“Shit, doctor, she is still in my life, my wife Radhika, and I have still not told her that I love her. that is the unfinished job. I need to tell her that she is important to me and that I love her. I wasted two entire life times, and nearly wasted a third.”
“its okay, can call Panna back and tell her that you loved her, ”
“Now let us invite Tripura and you tell her all that you wanted to say. Let me know when you are done”
“slowly I shall now count you out of your trance.”
“thanks doc. I know what I have to do, I have to go back and tell Radhika that I love her. and exactly what she means to me.”
People dealing with regrets and loss seems so everyday, but what we don’t realize is We don’t really lose people all at once, we lose them in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, scents begin to fade from the pillow, even from clothes in closet and drawers. Gradually we accumulate the parts of the lost one that are gone. Just when the day comes—there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that the person is gone, for ever— then comes another and another specifically missing part.
“You will get over it..” it’s the cliché that causes the trouble, to lose someone you love is alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because it is the person you love. The pain stops, new people enter but the void does not ever go away. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape that only the lost person can fit, the bad news is we never completely get over the loss, but there is also good news. They live ever in our broken hears, that does not seal back up. And we come through it, it is like having a broken leg that never really heals perfectly, that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but we learn to dance with the limp.
Reminds me of a Therigatha, when Kisa Gautami, from a wealthy Shreshti’s house lost her child she came to the Buddha asking him to revive her child, the Sakhya Muni told her if she could get mustard seeds from a house where death had not visited he could revive her child. Gautami of course could not find such a house, but she learnt that everything came with an expiry date.
If you have ever lost someone you have loved and wanted one more conversation, one more change to make up for the time when thought they would be here forever? If so then you know you can go your whole life collecting days and no one will outweight the one which you had back.