A woman who took every one of the roles she donned, seriously indeed!!!
Preetha – a great mother, an accommodating wife, a doting daughter and a wonderful friend.. She was a person who wanted to live every adjective of the roles she played. She preferred harmony over confrontation. She preferred living her life to the will of others, than to her own desires and needs.. The one thing that she did for herself was spending time with her friends; and this too was on the days when her children and husband were away from home. She would go out for get-together’s in her friends houses or go for shopping with her friends. She would do window shopping while her friends would buy things for themselves. Given her nature, her circle of friends was indeed big.
She would make the food her children liked, be it for lunch, evening snack or dinner. There were guests at home for lunch or dinner, during the weekends. If the exhaust fan in her kitchen could talk, it will perhaps share on how long she spent her time in the kitchen everyday, and what she cooked!!!
She was ready with a helping hand whenever her parents needed her; and if she had to travel to spend a couple of days with them she would do so on the odd weekend, when her husband was at home with her two teenage children.
Birthdays of any one of the four of them in the family or even her wedding anniversary, was a night out, at different well known restaurants. Shopping for the family was at big stores, and price was not a factor that was given much weightage.
Friends often said,
‘Wow, you are going to such an expensive restaurant!’
‘That’s an expensive saree that you have bought!’
‘You have prepared so many dishes!’
She would just smile..
She was always cheerful. She had a laughter which was infectious. This always gave an impression that she was living a happy life and had nothing to complain about.
Slowly, she started talking to a few of her friends about what she was going through – her childhood challenges, her children not listening to her, inadequate support that she was receiving to raise her children, financial constraints etc.
Along with this, she also started sharing her unfulfilled desires and the most prominent of them was – working in a school, teaching children the subject she was very good at – Math.
Her friends suggested that she start teaching in a nearby school, which she did not agree to, as this is not acceptable to her family.. Then the suggestion of taking tuitions at home was also given, to which she said no – because she was not willing to teach at home.
Her life was revolving around the desires and needs of the others. She was reluctant to tell any of her family, that what they were doing was not the way to do or was not the right thing to do.. As she used to say to her friends, “I don’t want to have a confrontation with anyone – my children, my husband or even my parents”.
Others’ desires became her desires..
Others’ needs became her needs..
Others’ happiness with her became her happiness with herself..
Others’ anger on her, became her anger on herself..
Over time, this started putting enormous pressure on her. She said to her friends, “I seem to have time and space for everyone else except for myself. I am getting really frustrated in life. I don’t know what to do. Please tell me how to go about this”.
The common suggestion that all her friends gave was, “Talk to your family and tell them what you are going through. They need to support you’. Her response was, ‘I cannot talk to them as I am not used to sharing my challenges”.
Beyond a point, friends stopped giving her any suggestions, understanding the futility of it; they just leant their shoulders when she wanted to cry out..
She went thru a traumatic eight months with a terminal illness – a period when talking, let alone confrontation was no more a possibility for her.
She is not with us anymore, but has left friends like us, with so many lessons to learn and live..
- share directly to the people related to the situation, what we are going thru
- do what we need to and want to do in life, while conforming to what is ‘right’
- draw a boundary around our own self and insulate ourselves from the comments of others
- be compassionate and yet confront, if needed
- define our life the way WE need to live..