A bereaved father in great distress with a tremendous feeling of guilt

by Kumar

I am a bereaved father. My son was coming home after completing his 4th Sem Engineering Exam. He lost his laptop in the Bus. When he informed me about the incident, I got angry and scolded him for not taking care of his valuable belongings. He went back to search.

The incident took place in the evening. He phoned that he was coming to the Rly station (his voice was not clear) and will talk later. This was the last communication. I waited for one hour. When I tried to contact him, his mobile was out of coverage area. I lost contact with him.

I thought that he boarded the train and might be in the journey. After searching for two days his dead body was found near the barrage. The police declared it a suicide. The forensic lab was not able to establish the cause of death.

From that day I am in the great distress with a tremendous feeling of guilt for my act. I am unable to cope-up with the loss. I always feel that I could not manage the situation and my words hurt him. I feel responsible for the incident.

Dear Kumar,

My sincere condolences to you in this awful tragedy. The pain will remain with you for the remainder of your life. But, slowly, time will reduce its unbearable intensity.

Scolding your son for losing his laptop was normal. Your words were only intended to improve him. It was tragic that the words had this fatal effect. Your responsibility now is to carry on with your life.

Accept the pain. Guilt is nature's way of reforming us. But, do not let constant self criticism dig a permanent channel of pain in your mind and destroy your work and health.

You can prevent that from happening by becoming conscious of self accusatory messages. They are not valid. Awareness of the entry of such messages into your mind will eventually stop them and can bring you peace.
Editor

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NEED MORE?

For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.

I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.

When I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. A star millions of miles away in space.

I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.

Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.

All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.

My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.

It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.

Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. And yet, the 20 minutes hang heavily on me. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.

Life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes. I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?

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