Unspoken Words

My grandmother passed away last week. She was 87 years old and had been long suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She had had a fall in May which had her bedridden post-surgery. In all honesty, all of us were a little relieved for her that her suffering was finally over. Over the past few years every time we’d talk, she’d mention how she just wanted this painful life to be over. For context, Parkinson’s disease is a nervous disorder that leaves the sufferer unable to do even basic tasks and it presently doesn’t have a cure. My grandmother was diagnosed around 12-13 years back and the disease slowly took over her body and life.

But this post isn’t about the disease. I’ve always had a weird equation with my grandmother. Before you start judging, we loved each other a lot but our equation varied a lot over the 3 decades of my life. A huge part of the problem was a communication barrier and distance. My grandmom lived in our ancestral home in our home village in Karnataka – over 2000km away. I am also not that fluent in our local language (which is Tulu) whereas my grandmother couldn’t converse in English – leading to conversations where we didn’t always understand each other.

Some of our differences also arose from the fact that I was brought up in a very different way by a mother who didn’t follow traditions and my grandmother was extremely traditional having lived in our home village all her life. When I was a kid, we’d spend all our school summer break in our home village with my grandmother and I hated it. We never got to go anywhere else. It was always burning hot and our village didn’t get 24 hours electricity at that time (25 years back). Our house had a huge orchard where my grandmother grew fruits to sell and because of that we often had a variety of insects, snakes, and a ton of lizards around – I have always been terrified of lizards (yes, more than the snakes). So I detested that house for the longest time and then my grandmother fell ill and then it just saddened me to go to the house and see her get weaker with every visit.

So when I received the news of her passing. I did feel relief for her but also a lot of pain for all the things I hadn’t said to her over the years and a lot of guilt for not having gone to meet her. I had always heard that unspoken words haunt you but never experienced it because I’ve never lost anyone close to me before. I don’t want these words to haunt me forever, so I’m writing them down in this post. Things that I had wished I had told my grandmum while she was with us –

  • I marvel at your strength. When grandpa died 27 years back, you picked up all the skills needed to not only run the house without him but also run a business. Your strength always impressed me.
  • I wish you weren’t so attached to that house and would have come to visit us when you could travel. (my grandmum refused to leave that house because my grandpa built it for her and their family)
  • I wish I had learned to be more fluent in Tulu to be able to talk to you on the phone more often.
  • I’m sorry that I didn’t come to meet you more often. I wish I had spent more time with you.
  • I love you.

I also have to say that my dad and his siblings were amazing kids to my grandmom. My grandmom refused to move out of her house despite her worsening health. My dad and his siblings all live in different cities across India. But they came up with a routine 5-6 years back where they each would stay with her for 2-3 weeks and then the next sibling would come live with her – so that one of them was with her always. (Puts a lot of pressure on me to be a good kid to my parents.)

This is your Sunday reminder – if you’ve been putting off telling someone special how much they mean to you – do it now! Unspoken words hurt.

Us

PS: I’ve spent the whole weekend in my room dealing with my anxiety – thought putting my feelings into a post would make me feel better.

32 Comments Add yours

  1. Rama Arya says:

    Beautiful post. And she is such a gorgeous lady. ๐Ÿ’• May her soul rest in peace. PS. Not the best post to put this comment on but I have to say you are a brilliant writer: Eloquent, slick, and always touching the reader’s heart. I hope you take this gift you are blessed with to a higher level, and do it some day soon.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Very often, we regret what we should have done earlier but at any point of time, we do what’s best then….that’s the truth of life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    Iโ€™m sorry for your loss. Thank you for the important reminder to speak now. Please take care.

    Like

  4. Jas krish says:

    Most of us can relate to this narrative . The realisation that we had so much to say or should have done dawns only after a close one passes away .
    May her soul rest in peace.Apparently She lived life at her terms and lived it well.
    God bless you Moksha ๐Ÿ™๐ŸŒน๐Ÿ™

    Like

  5. Nehal Jain says:

    Aaah di, please feel better soon!! I’m so sorry! I hope your grandma is in a much better place now. It’s alright that you were never able to tell her all this, we’re only human..it’s nice you put it out here. This was beautiful! I really hope you feel better soon.

    Like

  6. Sorry for you loss.
    May her beautiful soul rest in peace.
    Om shanti.
    Stay strong M. A very beautiful message. This shows how amazing person you are.

    Like

  7. Lovely post, and don’t beat yourself up too much about not going back to your grandma’s village often. We all live our own lives and have our own priorities

    Like

  8. Saparza says:

    Beautiful post! May her soul rest in peace! You reminded me of my grandma..it’s been 1 year she is no more! Stay blessed!

    Like

    1. Stay strong saparza !!!
      Keep shining.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lokesh Sastya says:

    You have spoken what you had to say. You and your grandmother, both have relieved their sufferings, pain.

    Like

    1. Lokesh Sastya says:

      …and, yeah, it has been a long time.

      Hi Moksha, How are you?

      Like

  10. Sorry to read this Moksha and I hope writing about your Grandma has helped. The relationships we have with family members are often complicated and not always perfect. I suspect that when we lose someone we focus on what we didn’t do or could have done, and forget all the positive things we did do. What matters is your Grandma would have known you loved her which is what matters. She is now at peace and I’m sure that’s what she’s want for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Storyteller says:

    What a lovely tribute.

    Like

  12. Oh Moksha, I am very sorry for your loss, and can deeply relate to your pain and anxiety now. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.๐Ÿ’œ

    Like

  13. Zainab says:

    May your grandmother rest in peace, Iโ€™m glad sheโ€™s no longer feeling your pain ๐Ÿ’•I completely understand how you felt, I sometimes feel I donโ€™t do enough to communicate with my grandparents but Iโ€™ll definitely try more! Hoping youโ€™re well! ๐Ÿ’•

    Like

  14. I’m so sorry Moksha. Zero judgements here! I’m with you about unspoken words because I have been there too. Sending you lots of love and hugs โค โค โค

    Like

  15. https://tamarakulish.com/ says:

    Moksha, from what I understand about the spirit world (from my experience with Native American spiritual ceremonies), your grandma is still near the earthly plane, so if you were to go into nature (or other sacred place, special to you) you can make an offering, and just speak to her or read to her. Spirit is no longer limited by the constraints of the physical world, so any difference in language melts away. Speak the words you need to speak. Find release and peace in knowing that she will hear your words.

    Like

    1. https://tamarakulish.com/ says:

      Moksha, I’m so very sorry for your loss.

      Like

  16. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandma, but I’m glad she’s no longer suffering. May she rest in peace ๐Ÿ’œ

    Like

  17. sending you love and blessings Ru during this time of your of of your Grandmother. It’s a beautiful tribute and I hope helpful for you in releasing it so you don’t carry it. You loved her, she loved you and in the end Love is all there is. Keep letting her know that.. she can hear you. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

    Like

  18. petespringerauthor says:

    Your words are beautiful, Moksha. You shouldn’t feel guilty. Your grandma’s generation was a much different time. I’m sure she knew you loved her, and that’s what is important.

    I know the feeling of relief you’re describing. My mom, literally the best person I’ve ever known, passed at 92. The last five years of her life were a series of trips in and out of the hospital. She also had dementia and was mistaking me for my dad. She had lived a full life, and I know she was ready when it was her time. I also remember feeling some relief because it was so hard to see her just a shell of herself.

    Like

  19. Ella says:

    Im sorry for your loss, may she Rest In Peace. In regards to your anxiety, I hope you feel better soon. Try not to stay too long in your room since isolation can make it worse. Take care

    Like

  20. Thank you for sharing such an amazingly real post. Death is a complicated thing sometimes because relationships are complicated. So when someone passes, all kinds of feelings come up, and thatโ€™s totally okay and normal I think. I LOVE this picture of the two of you, and I agree, itโ€™s absolutely better that sheโ€™s no longer suffering. Iโ€™m so sorry for your loss and let me know if you need anything ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

    Like

  21. My dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year, he doesn’t live too far away so I do see and speak to him quite often, he has my mum to xx

    Like

  22. Wonani says:

    โค๏ธโค๏ธ you are so loved.

    Like

  23. Pooja G says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It is so difficult to lose someone you love but at least her suffering has now ended. I have never been close to any of grandparents but I do understand that connection we have with family and losing anyone that is family can be difficult.

    Like

  24. bosssybabe says:

    Aww Moksha, so sorry to hear of your grandmom’s passing… I under the relief you and your family must feel. And you know, we come from very similar backgrounds in that there were a lot of invisible barriers within our family dynamic. I remember feeling words apart with my parents as we dealt with no only generational and cultural barriers but also language barriers. I never felt as though I could fully express how I felt as a person and that’s been something I carried with me throughout my childhood. Whatever the barriers in your relationship with your grandmom, it’s clear you loved her dearly and she meant a lot to you. I am sorry for your loss. Wishing you and your family the best!

    Like

  25. tanvibytes says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for this amazing message, I read it at the perfect time. I’m going to visit my extended family in a few days (I’m seeing them after five years), and it’s a wonderful reminder to cherish time we spend together, and tell people how much they mean to you. I hope you and your family are doing well. ๐Ÿ’—

    Like

  26. Sorry for your loss. Stay strong, Moksha! Sending love and support. More power to you!

    Like

  27. Sorry for your loss. Sending you strength Moksha.

    Like

  28. joyroses13 says:

    What a honest, poignant tribute to your grandmother. Sorry for your heartbreak and thanks for the important reminder about doing things ans saying things now for our loved ones โค ๐Ÿ’•

    Like

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