April 10, 1984 is a day that I can never forget in my life.
For it was on that day, news of the recovery of the body, and tragic death of my elder brother, Kannan, was delivered. He was just 24 years old when he left this world.
My younger brother and I were returning from the temple of Lord Iyyappa on my then Yezdi motorcycle. As we entered the street in Shenoy Nagar West, Chennai, we could hear the wails and cries of my mother, loud and clear. We noticed the presence of policemen who had come to break the news and share the details around my brother’s death. We went to the mortuary of General Hospital in Chennai, identified his body, and cremated him in a ground not very far from the playground where we have played as children, as teenagers and much later as grown ups too.
An incident like this shakes the entire family to its very roots. It shook our family too. I saw my father for the first time shedding tears. My younger brother missed and failed in his final year B.Com examination. Within a year or two, my father had a heart attack. My mother completely lost control. In everything that she did after Kannan’s death, everyday, she could still see him, his feelings, his presence, and could not get back to normal life.
At some point, for me and my father, work and friends became an escape route and a place of consolation. But the fundamental questions of life, why him, why now, why not someone else, did we do enough to save Kannan, where did we go wrong, what is the meaning and purpose in our lives, what would Kannan be doing after his death, is his soul hanging in between (basis some beliefs) … were just some of the questions that haunted us for years. With sleepless nights, empty spaces, energy-less dull movements, our lives were just moving on.. And was also standstill. With time and several conscious steps from our side, our intensity of emotions attached to his death slowly diminished but they never fully go away. When we see or hear about the untimely death of a young one, even now, his memories come back.
Very recently, hardly few weeks back, one of our dearest friends, lost his son of seventeen years to a cardiac arrest. Even as we tried to console the family, my memories went back in time. It’s not easy to recover from the death of a loved one, especially a very young one. The trauma is too much. Too many questions and too few answers.
One of the best books that I have read in the recent past is this book titled, ‘Journey of the Souls’ by Dr Michael Newton. The book has more than 25 case studies and includes Dr Newton’s conversations with souls. I found the book fascinating and it gave me answers to many of my long pending questions about my brother’s death, giving me clarity, comfort and peace. We have gifted the book to a couple of our close friends who faced similar situations, and they could get comforting answers to their questions as well.
It is very important in these kind of situations to reach out and offer all possible help to minimize the suffering…and help the surviving members to start life all over again. It’s not easy, but it has to be done. Life and death is not manufactured in a test tube and no chemical reaction helps either. This book offers comfort by bringing meaning into our lives when it all seems meaningless.