It was a Monday morning. I was strolling along the busy streets of the city when my cell phone rang. The grave voice on the other side of the phone said – “your husband is dead. He committed suicide.” Sooner or later, this had to happen. My husband was a very intelligent man and had a lively personality. But he could not overcome his weakness of alcohol addiction. I went back home, all the while thinking about how to announce this cruel news to my children, aged 10 and 8 years. I picked them up from school and once we reached home, I gave them the tragic news. I gave them the tragic news with a lot of caution, without mentioning suicide. It was too cruel for such small children to know about such a thing. Both of them held me closely, crept on my lap. We did not utter a single word during that freezing moment. But I knew that this was the beginning of a long, tough, without respite journey for the three of us. A strong sense insecurity pervaded my mind and apprehension filled my heart as my children’s candid eyes stared at me, with a multitude of interrogations in their eyes. They held my hands tightly. Their tiny hands holding mine brought me solace in that instant of despair, . They gave me the strength to face the inquisitive eyes and calumnies of many, to carry the burden of responsibilities and find ways and means to survive . Their small hands clasping mine helped me to struggle in a selfish and pitiless society. We held our hands and learnt to struggle for our livelihood when everyone turned their back to us. We learnt to share our grief and pains, to laugh and cry together, to bear our solitude and overcome hurdles without complaint. We travelled a very long and difficult journey together, learning the virtues of compassion, solidarity and sympathy towards those in adversity and forgiveness towards those with ill intentions. Eighteen years have gone by and the tiny hands have now grown into adult hands. But we still hold our hands together. From darkness, we have come into light. We always need someone to hold our hand. There is nothing that gives one more courage than a warm, sincere hand clasp in times of despair.

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I am glad you found comfort in your kids and that they found comfort in you. Though a crushing story, you found a foundation of love in such a destructive situation. During this tragic event you also fulfilled your title as a mom, being strong for your kids, showing them that tomorrow is going to be better and giving them a hand to hold, no matter what happens.

It must have taken tremendous strength to face not only the internal struggle of this situation, but also to push forward despite the lack of support from your community. While the pain of this situation has not left you over the past 18 years, I am glad you still find repose in your relationship with your children.