The Real ‘Sky is Pink’ Mom Talks About The Grief of Losing a Child
Aditi Chaudhary is the courageous mother whose loss inspired the movie, The Sky is Pink. Her daughter, Aisha Chaudhary, passed away in 2015 due to pulmonary fibrosis.
Aditi powerfully opened up about her vulnerabilities, her dark days, her grief, and how she's coping with it, at IMAGINE, a Children First annual initiative that brings together parents, teachers, psychologists, counselors, and therapists to IMAGINE a better world for children.
But even as Aditi's story is now being talked about globally, she can't stress enough on acknowledging the pain within her own family unit.
In a conversation with Shelja Sen, a pioneering therapist and founder of Children First, Aditi talked about the importance of therapy, and how to effectively live with grief.
Here are the five important insights Aditi gave in her conversation about grief, and losing a loved one.
1. Mental Health of Whole Family is Important
Going through the loss of a loved one has mental health repercussions on the whole family. And Aditi says it's important to acknowledge the pain by talking about it. She's a firm believer in not bottling emotions within.
Aditi also speaks about the need for a prime carer to take care of their own mental health. "I have learnt that the child who is ill will only do as well as the prime carer is doing, so the mental health of the prime carer is of prime importance," she says.
In her case, Aditi says her mental health training helped her immensely in dealing with all the stress and anxieties of having a terminally ill child.
2. The Triggers Will Always Be There
For anyone who has ever lost a loved one, they will know that there are reminders, or rather triggers, of a loved one's memory every day. Whether it's by looking at another person, or looking at digital footprints, the triggers - and the subsequent grief - will always be there. But even if you feel like crying, it's okay. Just do it.
Aditi says sometimes when she goes for a walk in the evening, she starts thinking of how she and her daughter used to go for a walk on those same roads, and she starts crying.
"I carry on walking and I am howling away and I really don't care who sees me," she says.
3. Counting Your Blessings Adds Positivity to Life
Even though Aditi lost two of her children, Tanya died she was seven-and-a-half-months old and Aisha at 18, she says she's blessed that she got to be a mother to two brave children. She says her husband too is hugely supportive, and counts that as a blessing.
I am blessed that I knew Aisha, I am blessed that I had Tanya. I am blessed that I was chosen to be their mother. I am very proud that I had two children, who were very, very brave. I have a son, Ishaan, and he’s following his heart and I think it’s a beautiful gift that he creates music.Aditi Chaudhary
Aditi says no matter how dire our circumstances, we must never fail to look at the bright side.
4. Never Bottle Your Emotions Up, Try Therapy
Even though she looks fresh and cheerful on most days, there are days when Aditi says she just doesn't feel like emerging from the void left by her daughters.
To make sense of her emotions, Aditi read more about mental health, volunteered as a counsellor after leaving her software career job, and went to therapy. A lot.
5. The Grief Will Never Go Away; Learn to Live With It
Aditi says she finds it difficult to understand how people can tell her to simply move on from the loss of her daughters.
It was much harder when I had just lost her (Aisha, d.2015). People used to tell me time is a healer, and I used to snap at them as if nothing can heal me. But now, four and a half years down...I think... the grief doesn’t change. But your life, without the child or without the loved one, starts to grow. And it kind of diminishes (the pain), just by size.Aditi Chaudhary
But even as the pain diminishes, Aditi stresses, it never goes away.
I just feel like grief - no matter who you lost, whether it’s your grandparent or your husband or your child, it is like a stone in my shoe. I am going to have to learn to walk with it. It’s going to hurt and that’s alright. I think the whole concept of get over it now, move on is just ridiculous.Aditi Chaudhary
Aditi's words are so poignant. They tell us how incredibly clingy grief really is; unlike happiness, it never really leaves.
But Aditi suggests a beautiful thing for anyone who is going through any kind of loss. Let grief lie dormant in your heart, and every once in a while when it gets overwhelming, allow it to burst out like a volcano. "If you can allow yourself to hold it, (you can) have it whenever it comes."