I have so little room left to feel right now. I am emotionally paralyzed – incapable of moving a sentimental limb. I don’t know if I can feel any more.
The funeral procession was held yesterday. I have no idea how I sat through the 2-hour funeral. The prevalent emotional devastation was almost too much to bear. Every time I looked over at Ankit’s father, my eyes welled up. The agony of a father losing his son is incomprehensible and almost unbearable. Having to bury your child is something I pray I will never have to experience. How can I put into words the catastrophic emotions that everyone felt in that building yesterday? How can you contain yourself when the victim’s parents are disillusioned and devastated? My goodness it hurts to see his parents and brother suffer the way they are now. I cannot begin to imagine the pain his mother is suffering right now. She is strength personified. As a young girl, she lost her father to suicide. As a young mother and wife, she lost her husband to homicide. And now, after having rebuilt her life, lost her oldest son to suicide. My goodness the pain. No matter how much I am hurting right now, it is insignificant compared to what she is going through
And his brother. He lost his father at a young age and now his brother. Life cannot seem fair to him, because it hasn’t been. I am praying with every ounce of my being that he can overcome this. I told him that he has to be strong for his father and mother. He has to be able to help his mother overcome this tragedy. It is such an immensely unimaginable burden to carry. I don’t know if I would be able to recover if I lost my brother.
At the funeral yesterday, his mom walked over in tears to the casket and hysterically said to her deceased son, “Mami bolave che, jaag beta” (“Mom is calling you, wake up son.”). I fight hard to restrain my emotions even as I write that. Later during the course of the funeral, his dad placed his hands on his dead son’s body, bowed his head, and uncontrollably yelled, “Jaag beta, jaag beta!” (“Wake up son! Wake up son!”). I nearly lost it when I saw that.
This just isn’t right. I don’t understand it and I don’t know if I want to. To be honest, I still am dealing with an array of mixed emotions. Anger is one I am having a hard time dealing with. Why did Ankit have to take his own life? Why did he have to cause more pain to a mother whose threshold for tragedy had long since been surpassed? I think that I am still angry with Ankit for doing this to his mother and family. They needed him as much as he did them. He was everything to his brother. Now, every day for the rest of their lives, they will be reminded of the void he has left in their lives. That is an unimaginable pain that I’m not sure I could endure. I pray that they will recover from this. Our family can only take so much more pain. He was the centerpiece of that family – and just like that, he’s gone. My sadness is hindered by my anger. I think he mentioned to a cousin of mine that he felt that he was “burdening” his family with his emotional issues. Burdening? What did he think he would do to his family once he decided to take his own life? I don’t understand it and I don’t know if I want to.
With Indian funerals, there is no shortage of emotionally gut-wrenching moments. Tradition requires the family to walk around the deceased person’s casket a number of times sprinkling flowers over the body. You are brought face to face with the deceased. The disillusioned parents had to perform traditional Hindu rituals as they stood in tears above their deceased son’s body. Later on, the rest of the family had to perform the same rituals. There was no way to avoid the emotional heartache and devastating despair. When my turn came to walk around the casket and drop rose petals at his feet, I stood for a second staring at his lifeless body. Even then, It still didn’t feel real.
Indian funerals inundate you with emotion and sadness. It is emotionally difficult to attend one, but I think that it can help heal some of the wounds caused by a death. The families congregate around the loved ones and offer their condolences while singing religious songs and chanting God’s name. It is in moments like these where you realize how important family is, because when you lose a loved one, only family can begin to understand the pain. Only family can help alleviate some of that suffering. It is therapeutic, but not for the faint of heart.
I miss him and I think the reality of the situation still hasn’t completely registered yet in my mind. I am at a loss for explanation and reason. He was too damn young and too damn good of a person to exit our lives so quickly. He was the LAST person I would expect to do something like this. Irrationality was not in his nature. Logic and common sense seemed to have been embedded in his DNA.
He won’t be able to be a best man at my wedding. He won’t be able to be an uncle to my children. I don’t think it’s fully hit me just yet that I will never see him again.
I told his brother, “Just because you lost your brother, it doesn’t mean you don’t have any more brothers” – and I meant that. I hope to be able to somehow fill a small part of the gaping void his brother left in his life.
This is a pain that will linger for a long time. I pray that his family will be ok.