Kerala Diaries 2014 – Part 1 (Grieving Child Loss)

A day before I left for Kerala, I met Ettan (brother) and Ettathiyamma (sister-in-law) who lost their only daughter exactly 51 days ago. I was worried till I met them on 7th evening because I am extremely bad at expressing grief and consoling people. But when I met them I saw that they had accepted the truth and come to terms with the tragedy. May be it is because they saw her in terrible pain all these days and had wanted her to get rid of it. May be because they have been given enough strength by the Almighty to overcome this grief.

Keerthana1

Keethu, my niece, was an extremely talented child and an all-rounder. A versatile dancer, an above average student who was good at theatre, arts and crafts and what not. Showcased at the end of this post are some of her works.

Ettathiyamma told us that all this horoscope thing is bullshit. She said, “My child’s horoscope was written till the age of 68 and we have lost her at 18.” Her sorrow was evident in her words though she managed to stop her tears.

Dad and Mom spoke with them at length. I took my own time to open up. They told us about their visit to Faith India, a special school for the mentally challenged run and managed by Dad’s cousin brothers. Ettathiyamma told us that her grief was nothing compared to the plight of the children at this school. They were all praises for the teachers, trainers and staff. I wanted to visit the school but couldn’t because of lack of time and some pre-booked engagements. But I’ll definitely be going there soon to spend some time with the gifted souls. I did what I love doing. Feeding them for a day. I paid the amount to Valliachan (Dad’s elder brother) who is a regular visitor. May no child and no family have to bear such a loss and may no children have to undergo such a condition. Our society needs to grow up a lot to understand that being mentally disabled is not an individual’s fault. It is a medical condition and only our empathy and a feeling of being loved and cared for can help them improve.

FI1

FI2

If you would like to donate in cash or kind to Faith India, here is the link : Faith India

Contributions can be made here: Faith India Contributions

I also met Keethu’s grandparents (my Dad’s elder sister and brother-in-law). Valliamma (paternal aunt) couldn’t stop her tears. She said no child should be so much gifted and talented. All they should have is a healthy and long life. Keethu was the youngest in her family. She was such performer that there is no one who doesn’t know her in this locality and there is no one who hasn’t prayed for her speedy recovery. But then she was truly God’s Own Child and that might be why He took her into His safe custody. When I console myself with such words, I also think that if He actually loved her so much He shouldn’t have given her so much pain. All said and done, she’ll remain in our hearts and her loss has impacted everyone who has met her.

Painted in cloth by Keethu during treatment days and gifted this painting to Dr.Sreejith, medical oncologist RCC Trivandrum on Doctors Day

Painted in cloth by Keethu during her treatment days and gifted to Dr.Sreejith, medical oncologist RCC Trivandrum on Doctors Day

Mural Painting on Saree by Keethu

Mural Painting on Saree by Keethu

Painted by Keethu on her Dad's shirt

Painted by Keethu on her Dad’s shirt

Earrings made by paper quilling

Earrings made by paper quilling

A tweety

A tweety

Tom and Jerry by Keethu

Tom and Jerry by Keethu

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5 thoughts on “Kerala Diaries 2014 – Part 1 (Grieving Child Loss)

  1. Often, people do not meet those who have lost a family member because they are “extremely bad at expressing grief and consoling people”. My experience has been that just being there is what matters most. If one is not sure what to say, it’s OK to keep quiet.

    You’ve correctly stated that we need “to understand that being mentally disabled is not an individual’s fault.” When we don’t look down on heart patients, why should we look down on ‘brain patients’ (persons having mental health issues)? Like the heart, the brain is just another organ of the body. We must remove the stigma associated with mental health issues.

  2. Sorry to hear about Keethu. May her soul rest in peace. The grief of loosing a child is the most painful feeling, any parent can go through. Also the ‘stigma’ associated with mental illness has to removed by creating awareness.

  3. Sorry to hear about Keethu. May her soul rest in peace. The grief of loosing a child, is the most painful feeling, any parent can go through. Also the stigma attached to mental illness must end through awareness.

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