Life can be so overwhelming at times that one feels lost in darkness and uncertainty, terrified of being suddenly pushed into it by circumstances and not knowing how to deal with it!
Presently, I am going through something similar as my soulmate, my mother, is undergoing a health condition requiring all the strength and willpower she and we can gather for recovery. It has been such a heartbreaking and deeply painful experience that I feel I have died several times already. My heart has sunk to my knees a million times with the sense of helplessness that one suffers by seeing a loved one suffer so much! Unfortunately, she has had too many ailments and accidents for a single person to bear in one life. Each time the cycle of her torment, our helplessness, uncertainty, risks, caregiving, and recovery continues. It takes all our energy to recover and continue with life each time! And yet, it seems like life has come to a standstill where you are not doing anything else apart from recovering from one health issue and dealing with another. Life goes on, but the suffering remains constant!
Yet, there are small acts of kindness that help stop your tears from rolling for some time. Kindness in different forms helps you find solace in small things. I am writing this blog as a note of gratitude to all those gestures of kindness that I found to be very impactful in this challenging period for their thoughtfulness and timeliness. They helped in pulling me up from the abyss of hopelessness. A gesture of support by your partner, counseling through gentle conversations, and constant check on your mental and emotional well-being is a precious act of kindness that reminds you, you are not alone.
In mid-December 2022, I traveled by air to reach my mother as early as possible and be with her in her most difficult times. I was distraught, and when the aircraft took flight, one of the air hostesses noticed my mental agony and quietly offered me a glass of water! Her sensitive intervention and kindness helped me recover from a very sorrowful moment.
Often when we have a prolonged illness with unbearable pain, we either seek God’s benevolence, or we are on the brink of losing faith as we feel we have been unfairly served in life, or we choose to be atheist for the moment. In such times, even a small reminder of God helps us realize our place in the world and regain faith. At Max Healthcare, Vaishali, every morning, the hospital used to play two-three devotional songs (bhajans) in the admission ward, reminding the admitted patients of God whom we could trust and seek relief from. It was a very thoughtful thing to do, as it helped everyone in the ward – patients, nurses, staff – pray for an hour and gain mental and emotional strength, a rejuvenated sense of purpose, and hope. A kind gesture for the community from a hospital!
Another one, typical in a few cultures, was the gesture of checking in on the sick. Even though it gets overwhelming for the caregivers to answer the same questions to every relative and friend, it is very kind of people to remember the patient in their prayers and make time to call or visit. Being remembered is a good feeling; when you are ill for an extended period, you start feeling as if you have been forgotten by everyone who used to be around earlier, as if the world has moved on, leaving you behind. Therefore, when in such quiet moments, people remember the sick, the patient feels cared for, wanted, and remembered! I have seen my mother feel better when people in her circle remember her now when she is ill. Every call, message, encouragement, and visit generates a bit of life and color into her!
At work too, when people show their support in gentle ways, cooperate with you for a long term and display patience, knowing well that when life takes a turn, it may take more than a few days to be back on track, that is a gesture of kindness – a much-wanted one when you are the caregiver and cannot step back from your duty at work and home!
These moments and gestures made the recent events bearable for me, and I hope kindness in the world continues and people continue to spread hope and positivity.