Being Propelled into Life

January 2023

By WAY Member, Nimisha Sharma.

Lately, I’ve been finding comfort not in religion or spirituality, but from physics. One quote in particular by physicist Brian Cox has been playing heavily on my mind – that inevitably, all forms of life, always continue to move forward. Life just has a way of forcing you into a future. This is just the way of life. And I’ve found this prospect to be pertinent within the context of my grief.

“We are compelled to move inexorably into the future,” Brian Cox, Adventures in Space and Time.


Nimisha

And with the beginning of a new year, I found that without even realising, I too was hurtling towards an alternative future.

But how did I get here? I’ll recap.

Survival mode

I haven’t had any morning mantras or daily affirmations lately. For the most part of last year, each morning I got into my car and dropped Siya to nursery. After getting back into my car, I would switch on the engine and exhale a loud, somewhat harmonious “F**k!”. And honestly, it’s made me feel a little lighter after carrying the immense weight of the last couple of years.

I would grip the steering wheel tightly and drive. I drove through the neighbourhood where my husband and I had just purchased our newly built house. I drove past the rolling green fields overlooking our house, the place we visualised our dreams and future coming together. Whilst driving, I have these imaginary conversations with my husband. I fantasize about how it would feel to be driving home to him, what we would cook for dinner, what we would talk about, how tightly he would embrace Siya and I when we got home.

And then, reality hits me like a train coming at full speed. And I feel it bubbling up again…. “F**k!”. And I snap back into my new existence.

Over the last two years, I have felt like a stranger in own life. From the moment my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we knew life as we had known would never be the same again. I’ve felt like a stranger in my own skin, watching life and people carry on from the very edges of my world itself. I’ve got up each day and I’ve laughed, I’ve socialised, I’ve broke down and cried, and at times, I’ve wanted it all to end. On the surface of it, I have looked and acted like a human but honestly, I can’t remember the last time I was truly myself, or the last time I was truly happy.

When the unimaginable happens and you’re left picking up the shards of what was once your life, the tiniest elements can bring up the most gigantic seismic shifts. I’ve lost my appetite for food, for music, for film, for dressing up, for life… for myself. I’ve realised that I’ve lost the parts of myself that my husband is so in love with.

I’ve been living life with one foot in ‘what was’ and the other in ‘what could’ve been.’"

Learnings

For me, 2022 was a year of colossal loss but also colossal learning. When you experience a loss that is so catastrophic, such as the loss of your life partner, you will inevitably change as a person. I just had so much to process. From moving into a forever home with my husband, to pregnancy, to cancer, to hope, to giving birth, to end of life – all in the space of 12 months.

The future has radically altered for me. I was now an only parent to this beautiful girl that my husband had gifted me. I was now the sole owner of a house that my husband and I had built together. I had tonnes of paperwork and admin to do, I had decisions to make about a future that I had never chosen. Add this all to the relentless nature of raw, excruciating grief and it’s quite a lot to handle.

Despite having little to no motivation for life after losing my husband, I had no choice but to get up each day for my daughter. Little by little, amongst all the pain, I began to allow some joy into life.

Each week, I took Siya to baby classes, laughed with her and made sure everything was in place for all her development stages – I was determined not to let my grief hinder her sense of normal life.

After a massive 19 months away, I restarted my career. With whatever energy I had left over from being in full time work and a full-time mother, I spent time writing about my husband, trying to document my journey in the hope it encouraged others to talk more openly about grief.

And in doing this, I learnt that even when we think we can’t go on, we just do. We are humans and adapt."

I also learnt about the nature of changing relations through the lenses of grief; how there is family you will only see at the funeral and never beyond, and how friends can turn into the family that continue to support well past the ‘expected’ grieving period. I’ve learnt a lot about the meaning of the word ‘family’ itself and how sometimes, you just need to make your own village.

But most importantly, 2022 taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought I was capable of.

What now?

Somehow, I made it to 2023. And life has inevitably, moved forward. And just as physics states, life just has a way of moving us from one day to another, hurtling towards something. Within my grief, no matter how tightly I’ve tried to hold onto my old life and live in the what ifs, I’ve had to live out new days with my daughter.

This year, I’m ready to come back to those seismic shifts after loss, the parts of myself that I have lost. And whilst, I appreciate it I may never be ‘that’ person again, I want to try and heal. I want to find that new version of myself – she is strong, she is determined, she may be a little sad forever but she can see some joy too.

Mostly, I want Krunal to love this new version I’m slowly evolving into. I want him to be proud of me, like he always has been.

And so this year, I want to dress up again. I want to try and bring music into life again. I want to find that passion within myself again.

I want to find a reason to live again, into a future that life is pulling me into. Actually, not just one reason, I want to find a plethora of reasons for life.

Perhaps that’s my ‘mantra’ for this year.

Thank you to Nimisha for sharing with us. Read their blog here...