SUNSETS AND GRIEF

              Sunsets for me are symbolic for grief and healing. Life does not stop for others in the family following the death of a loved one, one still has to go to work, the children have to go to school, the laundry has to be done, the bills have to be paid. Following the cremation of my father and upon my return from India, all these mundane but necessary things had to go on outside while simultaneously in my mind, I was going through the stages of grief –  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance (http://www.journey-through-grief.com/kubler-ross-stages-of-grief.html). 

               During the initial stages of my own grief, I couldn’t help but ask my husband, how he dealt with his grief (he lost both his parents), his answer was that we eventually learn to compartmentalize. I had to dedicate sometime during the day for it and it was in the evenings around sunset, that I was processing the loss. Sunsets are comforting and in a strange way gives us hope, although its all about bidding farewell for that day, and winding down from the hustle and bustle of not only the chaos outside, but within one’s own mind. I went through a period of no creativity, which could be one of the low points of an artist, following the loss of my father.

             

 

              Within a few months, I found myself going back to painting again. It was not until one of my children mentioned it, that I realized I was only painting sunsets. I made several canvas paintings of sunsets. While I was lost in my own world of grief, there was also a subconscious healing occurring, that I did not realize when I started painting. The colors I used in my sunset series was a sort of contemplation for me. I think of my father every single day and there are days that I miss him desperately, especially during major events in my life or milestones in my children’s life. I dedicate a sunset in my father’s name and then go about participating in my own life.  Just like we are thankful for another day of sunshine, I thank my father for the life he has given me, for all the times he was there for me, for showing me the generosity and grandness in my life and for his encouragement to dream big in life and to go on and reach out for those dreams. 

When a friend of mine who also lost her father a few years before I lost mine, told me that the first year would be the hardest, but then the healing occurs and then we become thankful for the blessings the departed soul gave us, I could not believe then, but now I do.  Just as death is a spiritual journey not only for the soul that moved on, it brings about or at least stimulates a spiritual transformation of the bereaving individual and sometimes the whole family. Sunsets also prepare us gradually, every single day, for our own retirement and to be ready to take on the next day’s unknown journey, with all the peace in our hearts. We go to sleep, knowing that the sun will rise the next day.

Follow me at:

nirmalajetty.com/blog