The Journey

The journey

I don’t mourn perfectly. Grief acts like a shock to me, gives me chills, and puts my memory on a wide screen in a lonely theater. Lonely. Lonely,  because most of the times, you’re the sole spectator of your own memory, unless you share the screenplay.  

Yesterday I lost someone I grew up with, giggling, admiring, and respecting. A big chunk of my colorful childhood became black and white after that. It just felt like I didn’t belong there. Someone once said to me, loss is a sign of growing up. I guess, my heart grew a decade older yesterday. And heavier. Loss is a burden too, because you carry it with you till the end. There my faith in mathematics disappears a little. What you lose, adds more new and old feelings, making your story forever asymmetrical.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott

rain and shine

Apart from this, it’s the first Monday of another new year. Nothing else has changed. The air is cold, the world is sunny. People around me are still taking their self-portraits in places and calling them memory. I, on the other hand, realized last year, that only by living one creates good memory. Living. Living to the fullest. Nobody has too many tomorrows. 

I am in a process of trying a lot of new things this year. The only thing that I am carrying from last year is a biography of Silicon Valley’s newest poster child Elon Musk. I still have to finish the last fifty pages of that book. Beside that, hopefully, I’m not looking back to 2015. Not even for one second. I hope, some day in future, the year 2015 will be overshadowed by other big and small years of my life. Like what Tennyson wrote, “Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

On the first day of this year, I read a poem by Mary Oliver. My friend Christy shared it on her website and I must have read it forty times by now. I am sharing the poem here again, and going to carry it with me on this journey of 2016.


One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.  

-Mary Oliver, The Journey


Wishing all of you a very happy new year. 

Author: Archita

Musings about life and photography.

35 thoughts on “The Journey”

  1. Hi Archita! So sorry to hear about your loss. I can understand your pain. We all have bear that sometimes. The pain and memories never go away only the tears stop.

  2. Hugs Archita! I am so sorry for your loss. My deepest condolences.
    But thanks for being strong and writing posts like these. I am sure you inspire many people like you inspire me, to live a better, fuller life! Thanks for sharing the quote and the poem too.
    Wishing you a great year ahead!

  3. My condolences, Archita. my thanks, too, for writing this – I’m so fortunate to have come upon it, because its timing was perfect. 2016 is off to a horrible start for me, so I’ll always want my tomorrow – no matter what the calendar says – to be a step toward peace.

  4. Thank you for sending me peace and light, Holly. I’m overwhelmed, but like they say, ” this too shall pass,” Happy New year!

  5. You’re so right, Vishal. People who love us, never go away. I’m glad you liked the poem. Happy new year to you too. And thank you! 🙂

  6. Thank you for being there, Kristine. All the support made me feel better. I have experienced broken heart and broken knees, so when I read Anne Lamott on a gloomy Sunday, well, it reminded me of every pain I felt in this decade, and every hope that helped me to walk ahead. You certainly have many wise things to offer. I’m fortunate to know you here, Kristine. 🙂

  7. I’m sorry for what you went through in 2015. Thank you for stopping by and sharing it here. Hugs and wishing you a better and brighter 2016! ❤

  8. When I was younger, all I wanted to be was being a grown up! Everything the grownups did, achieved, read- I wanted to do them too! Even in last decade when I was in twenties, and the world was a lot more unknown, undiscovered, I wanted to grow up!

    This decade is different. Suddenly the world started making sense, and death out of nowhere took away all the fun of life. I grew up, tasted grief, understood how lonely we all would be someday! I lost my grandfather, two cousins, now uncle in this decade. They were not that old. They still had too many dreams, and aspirations. And now nothing else can be done.

    I agree with you. It’s just that no one can escape these feelings, right? Reminds me of that song:
    Thank you for stopping by and sharing. It surely helped me.

  9. Thank you for stopping by, Itty. 🙂 The effect of good words is everlasting. What helped you many years ago, is helping me now. That’s quite soul-stirring right? Happy New year!

  10. I have. And see how wrongly they say, age is just a number! Thank you for your wishes, Arjun! I’m too hopeful about this year and coming years!

  11. Christy, Thank you for writing here, the more I read what you shared, the more I read the quote by Koontz, the less shocked I felt. I lost my uncle, someone who bought me the first big gift after my first big academic achievement. He used to say, it’s not age or money, but what you do right in life makes you a bigger person! How I’m forever going to remember everything he said! How the world will be clueless that one person just vanished to nowhere! Sometimes I think about all the drama around me, rat races, peer pressures, hurtful comments by a friend, selfishness of pretentious people- then a death shakes me, makes me realize that our days are numbered, each moment is too precious. Maybe that’s why “the journey” felt like my own journey! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    I am following you on AB, today I activated the email subscription; it’s better to have them in my inbox, Christy. ❤ Thank you for everything you do. ❤

  12. I am very sorry for your loss, A. Sending peace and light to you. As you said, it is a new year, so here’s hoping you are able to have a good one and live life to its fullest every day.

  13. When I was younger everyone was immortal, I was safe in the knowledge that my Mum and Dad would ALWAYS be there, so would everyone I knew. Then as you grow older you realise that we are not immortal that people die, and it isn’t just limited to old people, but younger people too and you realise that you are in a rat race or work, work, work, die and you try an escape that but cannot.

  14. So sorry for your loss, my dear. I’ve seen a little too much of it in 2015 too so I empathise. The quotes spoke to me, in more ways than one. Hugs and hoping 2016 is better in every way possible.

  15. Many years ago, Mary Oliver’s poem, The Journey, helped me heal my life.

    I’m sorry for your grief. Be gentle with yourself.🙏

  16. First, I am so sorry for your loss. Am holding you close in prayer and good thoughts. Second, you could have no better guides through your grief than Mary Oliver and Anne Lamott. Stay with the wise ones, because most of us have nothing all that wise to offer. And be good to yourself . . .

  17. Oh, Archita, I’m so sorry you lost someone close to you. Knowing that it’s going to happen to everyone at some point, still doesn’t make it any easier when it does. It’s awful, and it’s horrible, and it’s sad, and it’s not fair, and it makes me sooooo angry when someone I love dies.
    And then I remember. All those huge hurt feelings? They’re because I loved that person so much. The greater the love, the greater the hurt. And then when I feel the hurt, I start to feel the love, and they become entwined in some weird happy grief way and although you never get over the hurt, you begin to accept it and even appreciate it because of the reminder of that person and the love you shared.

    Honored you used a poem from Words. ❤ Here's another quote you may like:
    “Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” ~Dean Koontz.

    I can’t remember if I told you about moving my personal poetry and stuff over to I had some of it at CAJ, but I decided it was more fun to share with friends than with journals, so I have AB up and running. You’re welcome to come hang out anytime. It’s my dark little writing closet, LOL.

    Wishing you love and peace in the new year. ❤ -c

  18. So sorry for your loss, Archita. I would like to quote Rumi, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

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