Success story of a Widow’s Daughter
- "I was a complete tomboy with rebellious streaks, a typical wild-child case. I never thought twice about my actions, I had the feeling that if anything goes wrong, I can trust on my father making it right."
Apurva Tidke(B.E. Computer Technology)
Writer of ‘Fantasy Girl’/ Speaker / Freelance Editor
"Being a former Navy personnel, he had a strict moral code and a certain grace in his behavior. That, probably, was the biggest gift he gave me, being honest and graceful in public life."
Like any other innocent child, Apurva too was convinced, that with anything and everything going wrong out there, she could always count on her father to guard her from the varied distresses of the world, like a soldier. He was in fact a former soldier by profession, this gave her an even more secure image of the society and the moral codes parallel to it. While his presence could give her such stability, losing him shook her off her own balance.
"I felt as if I had no anchor to my life."
She was shaken and broken after his demise. How can one ever be prepared for the loss of someone they love so dearly? But she fought the pain just as gracefully and bravely as him.
"Any strong stance from my side was interpreted as lack of grief for my father’s demise. I was often told that I didn't feel anything about it. I became aggressive, frustrated and anti-social, all the while trying to play upto the societal standards of being a ‘good fatherless girl’."
However, she wasn't the only one fighting this adventitious challenge, she fought it alongside her mother and her younger brother, who too were distraught with many struggles as well.
"My mother also faced same issues but with manifold intensity. She started becoming more orthodox in her behaviour so that people don't start tagging her children negatively. She wanted to prove to the society that she had good kids. She wanted to prove that her husband had done enough for her.”
Eventually, after years of trying so hard to be the model widow the society expected her to be, Apurva’s mother decided not to please everyone and became pragmatic.
"My brother was quite adversely affected by my father's demise. He became totally silent and started cutting off from friends . His life consisted mainly of shutting himself up in his room. He had a great battle overcoming his insecurity and under-confidence which results from not having a father. It took him quite some time to start being a normal teenager again."
While the loss of one parent took a huge toll on her family, the unparalled efforts of her mother pulled their family together.
"Thanks to ingenuity of my mother in running her household, no one had to compromise for basic things. She stepped up and juggled the job of being a mother as well as a father for her kids. For this she made sacrifices only she knew about. We didn't have a very luxurious life but, we had more than enough."
We often tend to empathize, interfere and even judge too fast, especially with those who are facing such challenges. It's almost a natural reflex today. But, for everyone out there who values man-made societal standards more than humanity, Apurva has the perfect explanation for you :
"I want to say this to anyone who thinks they can imagine how it is to lose a parent; you don't. There are somethings where empathy fails us. You simply can't imagine how difficult everyday is. The challenges a family goes through, especially after losing the parent cannot be described. It is a permanent void in your life. You can't just fill it with money, luxury and even other people. To give you an analogy, it is akin to losing a limb. You can't grow it back, you can't replace it.”
Humanity over practicality is a choice that must be opted for. As a society, we should try to be supportive instead of instructive.
“Please do not worry about characters of the children, especially girls or their future. Please do not decide when the woman should start taking interest in house-hold chores. Please do not talk about ‘practicality’ if you are not close family. Let the family grieve in their own way and in their own time. There is no bound to the grief such as this. Don't increase it by judging the members for tiniest things they do or don't do. Respect their privacy. Respect their ability to take their own decisions.”
People tend to attend formal meetings and other such gatherings at times just to prove or showcase their involvement in their society. However, there needs to be an element of sensitivity for such situations, wherein, not interfering beyond allowed limits, should be considered a more ethical choice.
“If you can't help, leave them alone. Don't disguise yourself in the garb of well-wishers who just come to preach about how they think things should be. All this leads to a lot of pain and confusion. Instead of healing, that family finds itself in a social drama. Let's support them get through this trauma and not be the people who have no heart."
Having said that, for all those who are fighting their own silent battles, wondering whether to hold on or let go, this is Apurva’s message for you :
"All of us learn to live with the pain, maybe becoming a little numb to it. It shows itself in sudden outbursts but remains hidden inside us all time. And, it's okay. That doesn't mean we are broken or weak. It only means that somethings have changed for us. But in the end, we emerge stronger. We see the society in it's various colours. We identify genuine friends and are free to discard others. We see, hear, feel and think so much that it ends up making us keenly aware of the world. It in a way makes you more capable of handling your life.”
What is gone cannot return, but what is here needs to be cherished and cared for while it lasts.
“We have to use this to build ourselves. Take care of your siblings and try to understand your mother in the changed dynamics. You have to rebuild certain parts of your relations. It does get better,only you have to try. We owe it to the living family and our fathers to make something good out of ourselves. And no matter what, don't lose the ability to be happy for small things. That's what will keep you afloat in really testing times."