Depression is great sorrow for what has been lost. It is the unhappiness and gloom that accompanies the reality that something or someone is gone and that person is not coming back. It is mourning that which will never be.
In mourning a loss, we mourn the active loss, that is who the person was and passive, that is who we wished the person would be but never was. We also mourn what lies ahead in absence of this person. Asking ourselves what the future will be, coming to terms with the finality of the moment, that it actually happened, that one moment that person was breathing and now they are not, that person was full of life, and now they are not, that the person who was a phone call away, his number will never be answered, that voice you were so used to, you will never hear it again, the advice you last heard from him was just that, the last advice. He will never be again. Everything you had or didn’t have or wished you had is gone.
Processing this stage is a journey in itself. You have to mourn one aspect of the life of those gone at a time. For my dad, I have had to mourn the fatherhood. The parent he was to me. The parent he will never be. I have heard to relive my life all the way from my childhood, remember each aspect, the good, the bad, the ugly, the exemplary and cry it all away. I have had to mourn the mentor, the to go to person, and in a difficult part of my life, I have had to ask myself, what would my father tell me right now. Those words you will never hear, picture them, replay them, relive them then mourn, let go through the tears. I have had to mourn the future that he will never be present in. Ask myself, yaani, he is really gone… Deleting his number, the messages in the inbox, going through the pictures, and a few weeks ago, visiting his grave site and just standing right next to it, and having a conversation with him. I had a lot to update him on. I haven’t had the courage to do that. To stand next to where I knew we laid him. Ever since we put flowers at his funeral, I never went back, not that close. The nearest I was was probably 10 feet. And not for more than a minute. There are changes that have happened at home. Of course leadership changed. Maybe in his honour, I would have loved to have some things remain as they were, the things he loved, the places he cherished, the activities he loved doing, the order. But he is gone, and so is his way of doing things. I accept things must change. I mourn the gone way of doing things. During his funeral we made T-Shirts for his grandchildren. I looked at one the other day and I could not bring myself to let anybody close to me wear it. It unnerved raw nerves. I took it home to my mother. I do not know what she did with it. The pictures on the wall at home are still a shrine. He is so alive in all of them. While they are a reminder of who he was to us, they are also a reminder of what shall never be. So in as much as they give us courage, they make us sad in equal measure. I do not think anyone has had the courage, or will ever have the courage to remove them. They remain a shrine. Maybe someday we will. Anyway, I am letting him go, bit by bit. I am allowing myself to feel all the emotions associated with his life, illness, demise and absence. I am not running away from them anymore. I feel what must be felt because it is a journey towards an end. The end of it should be a celebration that he lived, not mourning that he is gone. That is the essence of mourning any loss. To get to that point of, I am glad, I was here. I shall not mourn any more that I am not…
While the overwhelming depressive sadness is okay, we should be wary when it turns to clinical depression. Yes, it is possible to actually get here. Clinical depression comes in may forms and symptoms are diverse. I would advise a visit or two to a psychologist during any kind of mourning, just to make sure you do not sink beyond a certain point.