claiming our grief

Monthly Musings

Last I wrote to you, it had only been a month since my classes began and as I am writing to you now, I am done with the first term of my master’s and already into the second term. A lot more has happened since I last wrote to you. The world is not the same anymore and I am holding all of you in the middle of this absolutely heartbreaking time. The way we have known and experienced the urgency of survival, of crises, of losses, of making calls, of writing tweets in the last few weeks is not something we could have ever been prepared for. We could have never imagined this. We should have never had to live through this. Every second person I know has been struggling with the fear of losing someone in the midst of continuously trying to scour for the most essential medical facilities that we should all have access to, especially in a pandemic. Collectively, we have been ricocheting between numbness and absolute panic. How do you process this? How do you see so much loss and still go on? Are we even capable of processing grief on such an unimaginable scale? Should we have to do what we are being made to do just so that our loved ones are safe?

Now more than ever I am reminded of the ways in which grief works in our lives. It is not just about losing someone, it is also the helplessness, the hopelessness, the confusion, the chaos and the groundlessness. It is all our vulnerabilities and fears mixed into one, stirred like a tornado.

It is said that there are ten types of grief and I wonder what happens when we experience all types of grief in one moment? From the anticipation of losses to their cumulation, who do we turn to amidst this collective grief? How are you claiming your grief right now?

Tender Tale

Amidst the many desperate SOS calls for hospital beds, medicines, tests everywhere I turn, I feel like any sense of hope or meaning is running out. But that is also when I see how some people have been extending their support for people who are ill to run their errands, to deliver meals and medicines to their house, or just extend themselves for any help that other people may need. I came across these tweets and just these handful of tweets gave me something to hold on to.

Having said that, I also believe that a pandemic is not a problem at the level of the individual. We need systems that are empathic, compassionate and prioritise wellness above all else. But in the face of failing systems, it is truly remarkable what some people can make possible.

Similarly, a group of volunteers has been collating a list of COVID fundraisers here and helping a lot of people in distress. Please consider donating and sharing the word with others who can donate.

Tender Reads

‘All About Love’ by bell hooks

I read this book a few years ago and I remember crying with it because it made me confront some of the things in ways that I had never done before. It reminds you of the importance and depth of love and we usually know that love is important but often forget because the world tricks us into believing otherwise. I picked it up again as I gifted it to a friend and reread some portions only to realise how much of it speaks to so much of what we are going through right now.

Below is a quote from the book:

“Love knows no shame. To be loving is to be open to grief, to be touched by sorrow, even sorrow that is unending. The way we grieve is informed by whether we know love. Since loving lets us let go of so much fear, it also guides our grief. When we lose someone we love, we can grieve without shame. Given that commitment is an important aspect of love, we who love know we must sustain ties in life and death. Our mourning, our letting ourselves grieve over the loss of loved ones is an expression of our commitment, a form of communication and communion. Knowing this and possessing the courage to claim our grief as an expression of love’s passion does not make the process simple in a culture that would deny us the emotional alchemy of grief.”

Bonus Reading:

This absolutely lovely poem by Diksha Bijlani on Instagram.

On-Screen Fuzzies

Frozen I and II on Disney+ Hotstar

Admittedly, I arrived at the Frozen fan club pretty late, but watching this movie helped me to turn my brain off for a while and just smile at the illusion of happy endings and an adorable snowman in summers.

It has a lot of adorable moments but I will leave you with just this one. If you already watched both of them, maybe a good time to rewatch them and take a break from doomscrolling.

Hugs in Words

Dear reader,

From one emergency to another, I hope you find a moment to pause, put a hand on your heart and take the deepest breath. From one loss to another, I hope you find a moment to give yourself a big hug from me.

In these moments of collective grief, I wish for you to have something that you can hold on to. As we grapple with something so ungraspable, I wish you love, warmth and comfort. I wish you companionship, containment and safety.

It is said that the effects of distressful events on children can be alleviated if they have access to little pockets of a safe haven. I think that is true for all of us and I hope that you are able to carve out a safe haven for yourself.

Finally, I wish you warm spaces and moments of crying, cribbing, raging and shouting about the injustice and the unfairness of our times. I wish that you are able to grieve about the messy, confusing and ugly forms that grief takes, especially at this moment.

I am holding on tight to you!!

Love and light,


A Request: If you would like to monetarily support my work and help me keep this newsletter going, please donate here or you could contribute directly to adishi@icici. Thank you! 💛

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