A Father’s Perspective....
Born on the most important day of Diwali, right after Lakshmi Puja. This baby was his Lakshmi (goddess of wealth). He even won the lottery on the day she was born. I woke up to: “Jaan, she’s beautiful. I’m naming her Pallavi - a new beginning, a new shoot“. Lovingly, she was called Lalla by her father. My husband shares a special bond with each of his daughters. Lalla was his philosophizer, his deep thinker. They would have deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning. Anything from quantum physics, parallel universes, religion, ethics, morality, superhero movies, the power of the mind, relationships, karmic debt, politics, conspiracy theories, the art of making a sale, the list goes on...
Her father was against labeling Lalla Bipolar. He always thought that if she could only control her mind. If she could only hone into herself and focus her energies. She was a powerful intelligent soul with a mission to touch and change the lives of others. She was a risk-taker, just like him. However, she took risks with her life while he took risks for life. He evolved from thinking we had a bratty, self privileged child to acknowledging ok - yes there’s a chemical imbalance, so now what are you going to do about it, Lalla?
Even though he was skeptical about therapy and rehab centers he supported all her treatments. He showed up to every weekly parent meeting (Mon, Wed, Thurs) and family therapy sessions. A few hours before every parent meeting, I would get a call or text:
Lilly: “Is papa coming?”
Me: “Yes Lilly“
Lilly: “Wonderful, see you guys there. Love you.”
It meant the world to Lilly that her father was at every meeting. She loved to see him participate in group meetings. My husband is a man of a few words but leaves a mark when he speaks. Her peers would love to listen to him and hung onto his every word. For those of you who don’t know my husband, he possesses a calming, soothing quality. No matter how you’re feeling, you just have to be in his presence to be affected by his calming, grounding, positive vibes. Many years ago, his cousin gave him the name TEFLON to honor his non-reactive, non-sticky personality.
His take was - ”Lalla, let me know when you’ve had enough and want to learn to live life”. He strongly felt that a holistic life consisting of yoga and meditation would cure his Lalla. She just had to find her passion and everything would fall into place.
He was against her taking medication. It would be the same weekly conversation between the two of them:
Papa: “Lalla, what happens if you don’t take your meds”
Lalla: “Papa, I need my meds to feel normal”
Papa: “No you don’t. You just have to train your mind”
Lalla: “What don’t you understand PAPA, I’m bipolar! I have a chemical imbalance. Mum, I don’t have time for this, take care of it!”
He would try to ween her off therapy and encourage her to find her inner power:
Papa: ”Lalla, where are you going”
Lalla: “Papa, I have therapy and meetings”
Papa: “Why? Just talk to me and I’ll help you. Why are you going outside of yourself for validation?”
Lalla: ”You’re in no position to talk, you haven’t been to therapy. I would love to discuss this with you more but I have got to go”
Lalla: “Love You, Papa”
Father and daughter constantly challenged each other, were patient with each other, and fiercely loved each other. I would end up being pulled me into their heated discussions when they got exasperated with one another. The only time my husband openly acknowledged that his daughter had a disease was a few days after she passed: “Jaan - Our daughter was sick, She had a disease“. Until then it was always, Lalla you’ve got this, Lalla you have to change your mindset, Lalla harness your inner energy, Lalla you’re stronger than this. He believed in the power of the mind so much so, that he convinced Lalla to attend an Inner Engineering weekend course by Sadguru in April. Unfortunately, the event got canceled due to Covid.
The first time Lilly got high, we both spent the night with her making sure she was ok. The next day I lost it but he remained calm. The second time, I was calm and he lost it. The third - we both realized something was definitely wrong. This was more than just a child acting out. He always felt that she would outgrow this phase with age. In some ways, she was wiser than her years and in others, she was vulnerable, just a child.
Over the years, my husband saw Lilly deteriorate but I don’t think he REALLY understood her mental psychosis, pain, and trauma. I would highlight facts on bipolar disorder, explain the trajectory of the disease, the manic and depressive states, the self-medicating through illegal drugs, but he didn’t really get it. I had started individual therapy but he relied on faith and his inner strength. We both wanted the best for our child, our paths were just different in defining the ‘best’. I knew the horrors that would arise with her leaving her prescription meds, what the depressive stages would look like and the creativity that would arise from her manic stage. He thought - if only she could control her mind. In the end, we both lost.
My husband feels his Lalla around him but refuses to grieve her. He misses her a lot. He feels a void that will never be filled. He is dealing with his grief by immersing himself in his work. Acknowledging his grief would mean that he was hindering the soul's purpose, the soul's journey. Lilly was too powerful an energy for her body, for this world. Grieving her means pulling her energy back to this earthly plane. He believes that she’s at eternal peace and onto another journey. A journey we will only understand when we join her.