Are We Humans Having A Spiritual Experience Or Spiritual Beings Having A Human Experience?
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
- If, by Rudyard Kipling
A poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled 'If' sums up my mother's tragic accident for me. It was pure willpower – willing Mum not to die, willing Mum to get better, willing us to stay hopeful, willing myself not to react to the madness around me, to stay centered, to stay focused on Mum, and to hold on.
I had been asked during this period and afterward how I felt. I could never find the words to articulate the fluctuating emotions. In a crisis, I tend to knuckle down, retreat and find my strength within. I cannot verbalize the immense hurt, agony, despair, or even the frustration and anger which generally mask hurt. I hold it all in and somewhere way down the line when I have processed all my emotions and the crisis is averted, I can come out of my shell and share something from the experience. However, my paucity of words in a crisis is in no way a measure of the depth of my feelings.
I am often called 'strong.' This cannot be a reference to my physical strength, as I weigh below 50 kilos. So I wonder what it means. Being assertive does not shield one from heartache or emotional pain or loss, nor does the fact that I cannot talk about it mean it does not hurt. My feelings are just not on display for the world to see.
We were all there by my mother's side when her heart rate started dipping, and she started letting go and breathed her last breath. For a while, we were all numb, standing by her bed, not quite sure what to do with ourselves. Slowly everyone left her bedside as the doctors and nurses needed to wash and prepare her body. I asked if I could stay back as they washed her. I sat on a chair and watched as the team washed a body that used to belong to my mother, who was no longer in that physical form. It was still my mother's body, except she had left; her spirit and soul no longer inhabited this form before me in our world. The essence of my mother had gone. I had just lost the only parent I had known.
Once the spirit has left the body, what is left of us?
Do flesh and bones define us, or do our soul and spirit make us who we are?
The tears flowed.
Excerpt from the book Meher & Me: A Mother-Daughter Relationship Memoir About The Life We Choose For The Lessons We Will Learn.