Blogging, Fathers, Relationships, Such is life

The backbone of my life

The line in our book read “Man is a social animal” and we listened in rapt attention as our teacher deciphered it for us. Secondary school kids are quite sweet and receptive that way. Right from his living in caves and hunting days, man has felt the need to form groups; for familiarity, protection, and support. He trusted his people with his life, just as they put their faith in his leadership and vision. It was a neat arrangement and everyone had each other’s back.

Millions of years later, thanks to the internet and technology, some of it has stayed and a lot has changed. Social isn’t the best way to describe us anymore. We find excuses to get out of family gatherings and take offense at the silliest of things. The biggest side-effect of all this is losing out on our backbone, the emotional security that we took for granted. The result, we all suffer from some or the other mental health issue that goes undetected and untreated for years.

the backbone of my life_avibrantpalette

This personal post is both easy and difficult to write. Easy because I know who and what needs to be here, and difficult since no amount of words would possibly suffice. However, it also depicts how much the right people matter in our lives. I can certainly vouch for it since acceptance never came easily to me. Despite being an achiever in my studies, my weight and low self-confidence ensured that I desperately craved it.

Any random laugh in the class or any joke that I wasn’t a part of made me look over my shoulder nervously. Like giving a speech in front of a full auditorium and expecting rotten tomatoes to hit me anytime. I was always on edge and hid my hurt behind the veil of offense and anger. Marriage and expectations complicated things further. Things came to a head though after I lost my mother; my backbone and sounding board.

Incredible as it is, I had never been in a mourning home before. Not the same or the next day at least. Watching my mother being readied for her final journey put me through a shock that hit me after a few days. I cried a lot that day but reality struck later. The grief engulfed and crippled me although I tried my best to collect myself for my kids’ sake. I was struggling on my part but what Dad was going through scared me. Losing your partner in your sunset years cannot be easy.

Mom had endured a lot of pain during her final days. She was in and out of hospitals, had lost her appetite, and was on dialysis. Dad had been with her throughout, caring for her. He had drained himself physically, mentally, and emotionally. She had been the backbone of his life and seeing her bright personality slowly wither away must’ve been extremely difficult for him. He bravely faced everything though and never let us lose hope. Even after she left he assured us that she was in a better place. I wonder if he believed it himself or was just trying to protect us. Instead of us being his backbone, it happened the other way around.

Dad chose to stay alone and refused to move in with me or my brother. He wanted the freedom to make his decisions and we welcomed it, albeit grudgingly. He visited us often though and convinced us that we weren’t shrugging our responsibilities. If all this wasn’t challenging enough, the Covid monster consumed the world and he was left all alone at home, again. Months went by in lockdown with no house help and no tiffin services. How he managed his life back then, I still shudder to think. We talked every day, and surprisingly enough, it was him I derived any hope from.

The world was going through a severe crisis and closer home, many near and dear ones were leaving us. He lost his best friend, we lost my father-in-law and many of us survived after being hit by the deadly virus. Every time any such news came, I silently said a prayer for them and my family’s safety. The future wasn’t even a concern, surviving the next day, the next week needed our immediate attention. Talking to Dad was the only bright spot in my life at that time. “It’s ok, beta. What can we do? You be strong and don’t watch too much news. Be vigilant and take care of the kids. Don’t let them spend time on the laptop after online classes.” He would say. The backbone of my life was teaching me how to be one for my family!

Whether it is my transformation, cooking, or writing, Dad has always taken pride in me. My choice to take a career break for my kids still invites ridicule but he has always been on my side. He cheers my smallest achievements and likes to boast to family and friends. I was a Daddy’s girl but wasn’t as close to him earlier as I am now. I wish him on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and he smiles and accepts them. He’s a wonderful grandfather to my kids and they always wait for him to come over.

Looking at him I sometimes wonder if the problems in my life are real or imaginary. Loneliness can give rise to umpteen mental health issues but he has managed to stay positive after all these years. He has a thriving social life, visits temples regularly, and takes off anywhere on a whim. Staying in touch with everyone and keeping us updated is his job. He makes SOS calls to rescue a recipe and has a childlike curiosity about Facebook and Instagram. It’s so cute!

Those counselling sessions years ago couldn’t do what observing my Dad has done for me. Whenever I have a tiff with anyone, he advises me to let it cool off and then makeup. “Life is too short to keep regrets, beta.” He says. He finally trusted me to get behind the wheel of his car and that’s something. Thanks to him, I make those courtesy calls I absolutely abhor. Have to grant him though, it feels good to be in touch with people who have a history with us. Making new friendships isn’t easy for me anyway, why give away old bonds? After all, man was indeed born a social animal. Why do we try to fight it? It is good to have a backbone in our life, no?

This post is a part of Truly Yours Holistic Emotions Blog Hop by Rakhi Jayashankar and Roma Gupta Sinha’ 

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20 thoughts on “The backbone of my life

  1. I have always been a mamma’s girl but when I got married, I saw a beautiful dad daughter relationship between my father in law and sister in law. Now when I am reading your post, it was she whom I could think all.along. I had a constant smile while reading your post. Let him give you more and more strength

  2. It is tough the write about such a difficult topic Varsha, but I am glad you did it. The loss of a Mother is like a fatal blow, it almost kills you. I am glad that your Father not only coped with his loss but also became an inspiration to you in your tough times. What does not kill you makes you stronger, seems true.

  3. Varsha, I know you personally, and I know how much strong you are. The way you handle your grief, your pain and agony, your losses, your work-life and family members, I salute your power of perseverance. You’re wise, you’re intelligent, you’re talented and powerful. Reading about uncle gives me a chance to look at life with a different aspect. Reagards to him for being such a strong person. And more power to you. As I always tell you, I am always with you in rain and storms and sunshine. Keep running, my champ.

  4. Your dad’s choice to maintain his independence, even during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, was both admirable and reassuring, Varsha. His wisdom and support provided a ray of hope in a world plagued by crisis. His resilience and positivity in the face of adversity have been truly inspiring. It’s heartwarming to see the special bond you share with him and how he continues to be a source of strength and encouragement in your life. His guidance and perspective on life’s challenges are invaluable, reminding us to cherish old connections and embrace our social nature. Having such a solid backbone in life is indeed a blessing.

  5. Oh my gosh, because I know you Varsha and that we recently spent so much time together, I am in tears. I just want to hug you. My mom in law stays alone and I can relate to what you feel. Also, after reading your post, I feel less guilty of not being for my mom in law. She has multiple health issues yet chooses to stay at Ahmedabad. I think parents like their independence and if they are happy we should be happy and support their choices.

  6. You have a great dad. It’s great to be independant. Actually, in my old age if possible even I want to live on my own terms in my own house. My mom has also kept herself busy and I admire that about her. Will write her story as soon as she is back in India.

  7. Your father has given you good advice: Life’s too short! It was nice to know that he guides you on processing your emotions, leaving behind the tiff and moving on gracefully. It’s difficult to let go of anything and then it becomes toxic. But going with the flow, moving on, that’s life. Time is the only reality on our Earth–it just moves.

  8. Varsha, I am a fan of of uncle now and found him to be an inspiring human being who can change the way we observe life for a better living. Ups and downs are part of life but how we observe it and make effort to lead a better and prospective life is what we all need to concentrate. So far lucky as still not experienced the grief of losing my parents but my father is not at all in good state and just like your father the responsibility of taking care of him and his wellbeing is on the hands of my mom and she is giving her best and that what is affecting her health and state of mind also. In such situations I strongly believe parents should stay with us or at least close to us . This helps both taking care of them without hampering their independence and reach them faster at time of urgent conditions. Just let uncle know I am inspired with his views about life.

  9. Thank for this post, Varsha. Yes, we all need that one backbone in our life that keeps us going. Hats off to your father who became a pillar of strength for you after your mother’s passing away. I was in the same boat when we lost my mother to Covid. And more than ourselves, we worried about how our father will cope the loss. So, I can relate to your story.

  10. I’m glad to read that your father not only helps you in combatting life’s battles but is also a strong personality who battles his war alone. You must have learned lessons of life from him, your social media posts say a lot!

  11. Such a heartfelt post, Vrahsa. Your reflection on the importance of human connections and emotional support is truly moving. It’s clear that your father has played an important role as your backbone, and his wisdom shines through in his advice. The way he remains positive and engaged in life despite challenges is inspiring. My father is also a pillar of strength in my life, and I felt his support strongly during the pandemic, even though I was far from home. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story.

  12. Such a lovely tribute to your father, Varsha. You are indeed blessed. Reading about uncle made me miss my father so much. He too would ask me to forget about it and not have regrets. Losing a partner in the golden years is difficult. Uncle resilience in handling the grief with positivity and being a backbone of the family is truly commendable.

  13. Your moving and deeply personal narrative beautifully encapsulates the invaluable role of a father in shaping our lives. The emotional depth and the rich portrayal of your relationship with your father echo the importance of having that “backbone” figure who guides, supports, and enriches our lives.

    Your eloquent expression vividly conveys the immense impact of your father’s presence during both challenging and celebratory moments. His unwavering strength and wisdom serve as an anchor, guiding you through life’s complexities and uncertainties.

    The tender anecdotes, the delicate emotional hues, and the enduring lessons derived from his guidance illuminate the profound bond shared between a daughter and her father. Your heartfelt journey, articulated with such honesty, underscores the transformative influence and the invaluable support one receives from a father’s unwavering love.

    The unwritten but palpable reassurance and strength you’ve found in your father’s counsel and the unconditional love you share reverberate through your words, beautifully underscoring the unparalleled significance of having a nurturing and supportive presence in one’s life.

    Your ability to convey such depth of emotion and love through your story is truly commendable. It vividly portrays the cherished relationship between a daughter and her father, reflecting the myriad ways a father shapes, nurtures, and inspires the course of our lives.

  14. Well, I miss my dad, he was one big support for me. Your heartfelt post beautifully conveys the essence of family, love, and the profound impact our loved ones can have on our lives. I was deeply moved by your words and the journey you’ve shared. Your father’s strength, resilience, and positive outlook on life are truly inspiring. He is not just your backbone but also a source of wisdom and comfort. Your story is a reminder of the importance of cherishing and nurturing the bonds that make us who we are. Thank you for sharing this touching piece.

  15. Your heartfelt reflection on the enduring importance of emotional support, especially in the face of life’s challenges, beautifully emphasizes the significance of having a backbone, and how your father’s wisdom and love have been that pillar for you. Thank you for sharing this moving experience. 🙏💕

  16. What a heartfelt post varsha. Dad’s have definitely been our backbone . I share a similar bond with mine. Mine also wants to be independent after the loss of partner I respected the decision but each day is a learning for me from him

  17. Varsha, this was such a warming post, sometimes relationships take a new turn after circumstances. Your Dad is truly backbone and he has stood rock strong for you.

  18. while i agree that one shouldnt live with regrets, its also not the best to live with toxic relationships. I am not married hence I don’t understand the in-laws o the children angle to be vey honest but I do understand toxic relatives and detaching myself has really brought a good change in my life. Maintaining distance,has always helped. I like your father’s take on how to take care of mental health . Sometimes you have to switch off.

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