Questions for My Father

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Questions for My Father
Nearly 30 years ago on this day, my father died in Mumbai. Had he lived, he would have turned 105 today.

I was not with Balkrishna Gupte when he died after a long illness that, to this day, remains mysterious to me. Some physicians said it was cancer of the esophagus, others said it was complications from a botched surgery of the alimentary canal. Still others offered other reasons — unpronounceable medical conditions with fancy names that only doctors could decipher. In the end, no matter what those conditions or how multisyllabic those names, my father’s heart stopped beating.

I was thousands of miles away at my home in New York when that happened. It was an unseasonably sunny day, but as I worked on a book that had unforgiving deadlines, I felt out of sorts, as though something ominous was going to happen that morning in 1985. I knew that my father was grievously ill because I had just returned from visiting him in India, but I hadn’t been persuaded that he was close to death. Or perhaps it was that I didn’t want to accept that possibility; it was an only son’s denial of the inevitability of a parent’s departure. As if on cue that winter morning, a friend called from Mumbai to tell me that my father had passed away.

In that last meeting with my father, I gently stroked his face, kissed him on the forehead, squeezed his still-strong shoulders, and said that I would be back soon. His voice had left him by then, so my father just smiled gently and spoke with his eyes. He said that he loved me and that I would always be his son. He said that his love was unconditional, even if mine sometimes seemed predicated on proximity.

The next time I saw him, my father’s eyes were closed. His body was still, it was wrapped in white linen in preparation for a traditional Hindu cremation. As a son, I expected that he would open his eyes and reach out to me with his sinewy hands as he always did, that he would bathe me with affection and offer his protection. As a world-weary adult, however, I knew that he was gone.

Gone? My father? That tall, sturdy man who’d been the bulwark of my life, always a calming spirit? He who had coaxed my mother to overcome her opposition to her son leaving home to study in the United States because he felt that I needed to understand the world? He who was always open-minded about faith, always strong in his secularism, and never compromising about his values — honesty, loyalty, kindness, generosity and, yes, humility and humor? That man gone?

Gone? My father? Not even the body in repose in the living room of my parents’ Mumbai apartment persuaded me that my father was dead. But then I looked at my mother, and then I knew. It had always been the three of us — and a beloved uncle who lived with us until his death in 1982 — but from here on, it would be just the two of us. On December 31 of that year, 1985, my mother died. This time the doctors said that she died of heart failure. They were wrong again. I know that she died of a broken heart.

The world has honored my mother since her death: there’s a major square in Mumbai named after her — Prof. Dr. Charusheela Gupte Chowk (“square” in the local language of Marathi). Articles have been written about her vast accomplishments as an author and an academician and a social activist for downtrodden women and dispossessed children. Her students still write to me about how much she influenced their lives and careers. And those colleagues that are still living send me, from time to time, warm remembrances of their association. Whenever we meet in India, we exchange anecdotes and reminisce about an era that ended so long ago.

About my father, very little has been said in the public arena. He wasn’t a public figure, of course, nor did he lead his life publicly. He led a quiet life as a banker and lawyer. He attended weddings and christenings and religious ceremonies and lectures on history and spiritualism, often taking me along when I was growing up; if I were to draw a map of all the fascinating people and places he took me to see, I’d need the help of a cartographer.

I would also ask such a cartographer to chart the landscape of my father’s emotional life. It would be a formidable task, of course, and most certainly not within the competence of conventional cartographers. My father did not leave behind books or learned essays or plays or poetry. He left diaries, to be sure, but the notations were mostly in shorthand that only he knew. During his illness, he wrote me a note saying how proud he was of what I’d done in my life.

My life? But what about his own life? What animated it? Why did he prefer the anonymity of being a largely unseen consort of a highly ambitious spouse, my mother? What gave shape to those inner strengths that energized and comforted her and me and so many others who came into the ambit of my father’s life? What explained his integrity, even when he could have taken short cuts just as easily in a corrupt society led by corrupt men? What about his unflinching tolerance of all faiths and beliefs, his refusal to denigrate those who might disagree with him? What about his many unheralded kindnesses to needy people who scarcely bothered to remember? What about his acuity, his keen perceptions about the frequently uncharitable ways of the world? How had his parents influenced him, an only son like his own? What formed his steadfast conviction that good would always triumph over evil, even if sometimes only in the long run?

So many questions, so few answers. I wish now that I had been with my father in those final days, holding his hands, asking him about the architecture of his life. Would he have set aside his innate modesty and told me what I wanted to know? Would he have been his own cartographer, mapping out his life for his journalist son? With his voice gone, would his eyes have communicated his story in its entirety? Or would he have asked me why I had waited until the winter to pose my questions? There would not have been any reproach in his question, but there would be sadness.

He could have told me so much. But I never asked. And now — and now it is nearly three decades later, my father is gone, and I have more questions about his love and his life. I can pose those questions, perhaps more sharply now than ever before because I am in the autumn of my own full life. Who will answer them? I know that I will have to wait until it’s the three of us together again — and my beloved uncle. But I wish that there were some way I could say to my father before that reunion how very sorry I am that I never asked while I was much younger and he wasn’t quite as old.

Batkid Takes Break From Fighting Crime To Throw Out First Pitch At SF Giants’ Home Opener
Last time we checked in with the 5-year-old cancer survivor, Miles Scott, aka Batkid, a mystery donor had bought him a billboard so that he could watch over San Francisco at all times.

Now, he’s back at it and riding in style.

The bite-sized superhero, who famously “saved Gotham City” back in November after the Make-a-Wish Foundation fulfilled his wish to be his favorite superhero, had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at Tuesday’s San Francisco Giants’ home opener at AT&T Park, according to SF Gate.

He entered the field in a Batmobile-painted Lamborghini, because how else would you expect Batkid to make an entrance?

batkid

batkid giants home opener

After getting out of his stylish ride, he proudly greeted his fans with one fist in the air:

batkid giants home opener

batkid

He then approached the mound and threw the ball to Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain.

batkid giants home opener

All the while, having his partner in crime, Batman, by his side, of course.

batkid

And the crowd went crazy for him!

Reaction to the #sfbatkid https://t.co/euSC7iZg1Y

— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 8, 2014

You rock, Batkid!

batkid giants home opener

batkid

Finding Hope and Help in Tragedy
In the aftermath of the recent Fort Hood shooting, we are once again as a nation grieving and raising questions about how and why we are facing another unexplainable tragic mass shooting. In trying to look for answers, some are shamefully using the fact that the shooter was a veteran with mental health needs to explain why this event happened, serving only to reinforce the stigma of mental illness, particularly among veterans. Appreciating the needs of veterans instead of stereotyping them as damaged means understanding that the trauma of war and its vast contrast to civilian life can result in reintegration challenges.

Whenever a person with a mental disorder (or assumed to have a mental disorder), veteran or civilian, commits a violent act that makes headlines, there is a call to address the “mental health issue” in violent crimes. However, what is meant by the “mental health issue” is generally unclear. The fact is that killings and overall violence are extremely rare by people with serious mental illness. The vast majority of people, including veterans, with psychiatric disorders do not commit violent acts. Only about 5 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness and most of these violent acts do not involve guns.

So while we don’t fully know the motivation behind this tragic event, what we do know is that we must and can help veterans and others struggling with mental health challenges get the help they need. Early identification, assessment and quality treatment, are effective at helping individuals recover and achieve overall well-being. However, many people, including veterans are unwilling or unable to access behavioral health services. Stigma, cost, distance and lack of available services, particularly at times and in places that are convenient are common barriers to getting care. Therefore, we need more services available at times, in forms and in settings, that are most desirable for persons in need. This should include the use of technology based treatments and supports as well as face-to-face services for veterans and their families that are offered in community settings where people are more comfortable getting mental health care. A growing body of research supports the effectiveness of these approaches for improving access to care and treatment outcomes.

Limiting access to highly lethal means, like guns, for those who are in crisis can also save lives. Safety measures, lethal means counseling, education and influencing human behavior can increase time between impulse and action. Suicidal thoughts are often temporary and the actual decision to take one’s life is often impulsive, therefore making a strong argument for limiting access to lethal means during acute periods of heightened risk. Another approach is engaging with firearms dealers, gun shop owners and the gun-owning community to increase their involvement in promoting suicide prevention. For more information about this approach, visit Means Matter, a suicide prevention campaign run by the Harvard School of Public Health.

We also know that preventative approaches can help to mitigate mental health challenges. Building opportunities for connectedness with friends, family and the larger community has been identified as an important protective factor against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Connectedness can lead to increased social contact, sense of belonging, sense of self-worth and access to sources of support. For more on the importance of connectedness to prevent suicide among veterans, read a previous HuffPost blog I wrote with Scott Thompson.

As a society that is increasingly aware of the mental health issues faced by both veterans and civilians, we, as individuals and communities, have an important role in identifying people in emotional distress, offering support around the struggles they face,and getting them connected to care. Trainings in identifying mental health challenges and in suicide prevention for family members, peers, providers and others can enhance our ability to identify, support and make referrals for individuals, including veterans, who are in crisis or at suicidal risk.

While we not be able to make sense of this terrible tragedy, all of us can engage in simple ways everyday to recognize people in distress, support and get assistance for those who need it, and help people engage with family, friends and their communities in ways that offer their lives hope and meaning.

If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) for confidential crisis support 24/7. You are not alone. Help is available.

Spirituality News — ScienceDaily
Love is a many-faceted thing: Regular churchgoers and married people most satisfied with their love life
Scientists found that a combination of factors such as age, religious involvement, marital status and love style (e.g. manipulative or playful), influence a person’s love satisfaction. While education does not impact a person’s love life satisfaction, religious involvement does.

Subliminal hypnosis: sports hypnosis, weight loss hypnosis, mental health hypnosis, and 40 different topics hypnosis at Amazon.com, full catalog    http://amzn.to/VGoe0Y photo 2163_zps044fb03b.jpg

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