Faith - A Movement In Time And Space
Moving through time and space in our own way
So many noteworthy things have happened in the month of February.

February 8 - Maya's birthday (2000)

February 14 - Valentine's Day and the day we decided to have children (1999)

February 24 - The day I arrived in Seoul (2005)

February 25 - The day I started my blog (2005) and the day my sister miscarried her first baby (2003)

All month long, the loss of my nephew has been on my mind. I don't know why...every year, I think about him, but this year, I've thought about him almost everyday in February. Akhil would have been about 6 months older than Nadia. My sister was 32 weeks pregnant when, for no apparent reason, she miscarried. He died in utero and she had to be induced to deliver him.

It was horrific.

My mom wasn't in the US at the time, she had just left to visit India and tour Singapore with family. She was out of reach at the time of the miscarriage. She got back to India from her tour and got a call from my dad. It was just awful...she couldn't get a flight back until almost a week after the miscarriage.

I was in LA and got to Seattle the morning after she delivered. I too couldn't get a flight out immediately. And I agonized over leaving Maya with Chris and my inlaws (who were living with us at the time)...taking her wouldn't have been good for her and wouldn't have let me focus on Preeti. But it would have been the first time I'd ever been apart from her overnight. But because my inlaws were living with us, I decided to leave her. Maya had just turned three a few weeks earlier. Also, I had just found out that I was pregnant with Nadia and in the midst of morning sickness. Preeti and I were excited that our babies were going to be close in ages. Just about three weeks before she miscarried, Maya and I flew up to Seattle for her baby shower. And just the weekend before, they had painted a hand-me-down crib.

His loss made me question my faith in God. I've always believed in the existence of God. I don't know what kind or if it is male or female or even just a spirit, but I've always believed that something is out there. That faith in a benevolent being looking out for me has gotten me through some tough times in my life. I don't expect anyone to believe what I do, but I do expect respect. That's all I have ever asked for. And nothing has ever shaken my faith like the death of Akhil.

My BIL's family was having a ceremony at their house a few days after the miscarriage. It was a type of Puja, or offering to gods through a sacred fire. This fire, once lit, should not be allowed to go out until the very end of the ceremony. I think, according to my BIL's family (who have different customs than our family does) it is a bad omen if it does. I sat there, watching, in my own grief and anger at what had happened to my baby sister. My sister is one of the gentlest people you will ever meet. Always laughing and smiling. And THIS happened to her?! What kind of God allows that? Anger was building inside of me, anger at God. Who else could I be angry at? I sat through the Puja, staring into the fire. Tears were flowing, but the more I cried the angrier I got.

Then, I had this thought. That there was no God. It shook me...I'd never ever doubted that there is something bigger than us until that moment. Then I thought, maybe I shouldn't believe in something that would allow this to happen to someone like my sister. All of a sudden, I thought to myself that I needed a sign. I looked at the fire and thought, "If there IS a God, then I need a sign. If there is a God, then the fire will go out."

I swear to you what happened next, I did not make up.

The fire, the one that should not go out, went out. The windows in the front of the room were closed and only the ones in the back of the house were open at the time, but when the fire went out, the smoke blew right into my face, as if the wind came from the front of the room. I closed my eyes tightly as the smoke blew into my face, tears streaming down in utter shock. Everyone around me scrambled to quickly restart the flames, whispers of bad omens coming from the elders in the room. My sister and BIL sat there in their grief, probably thinking about why all this was happening. But I just sat there.

Five minutes later, my mom called from India. I rushed to the phone, ran into the bedroom and in between my sobs told her everything. I remember that she was happy to hear that this had happened to me, that maybe my faith would be intact after all. My sister came into the room to see me frantic and sat on the bed listening. She was calm even though the tears were streaming down her face too. Here she was, the one who had just miscarried and she was calm while I was a freaking mess. When my BIL found out what happened, he asked why I had asked for the fire to go out. My thought to ask for that kind of sign was a sudden thing, not planned, which he understood. Also, I think, he was relieved to hear that there was a good reason behind it.

The next few days and weeks found all of us searching for answers. Along the lines of our belief in reincarnation and karma, the one explanation that gave us some comfort was that Akhil's soul only needed a relatively short amount of time on this earth to fulfilled his karmic debt before being released to God. And my sister and BIL needed to suffer that amount of pain to pay for sins in their past lives. As we all did, in various levels, and continue to do so.

No one knows why this happened. Medically speaking, no reason was ever found for the miscarriage. Just one of those freak accidents. And we don't know if the reincarnation/karma explanation is true or what. But, just like faith for a lot of people, myself included, that explanation gave me some bit of comfort. Thinking that maybe my sister carried a soul on its final journey, in a way, it was a gift to her. A torturous gift, but nonetheless, she held the vehicle of a cleansed and pure soul in her arms that day three years ago.

Preeti, I love you so much. I miss you everyday and wish I could be there with you, especially at this time. I miss Akhil, too. I wish I could be there to see Akash and Anjali a lot - they are the blessings that came from all this. I treasure them like my own children, as you do with Maya and Nadia.

All my love, sweetie.


Tags: ,
What I'm feeling: depressed depressed

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From: ilenebook Date: February 26th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Such a sad post. But there are many things in this life we don't understand..if there were not, there would be no reason for faith..yes?
sammykate From: sammykate Date: February 26th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
"the one explanation that gave us some comfort was that Akhil's soul only needed a relatively short amount of time on this earth to fulfilled his karmic debt before being released to God"

My people believe that God doesn't allow us more hardship than we can handle. So, when we are left wondering why some people get so much, while others seem burdened with far less anguish, we try to remind ourselves of this. We believe that the pain and hardship do not come from God, but that our faith in Him can help us through it. You spoke of Preeti's calm, gentle nature, her strength in the face of adversity. Perhaps, if this little soul needed a short time on earth to fulfill his karmic debt, it was important that he spend it with someone like her. What an awesome responsibility, and how blessed he is to be remembered by a family who barely knew him.
From: gabbytheguy Date: February 26th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

I think you're fairly aware of my non-religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, it doesn't make what you wrote here any less amazing and poignant for me and also makes me question my own beliefs (or lack thereof!).

Unfortunately I'm one of those people who, like in your moment of *dis-belief* would require some sort of solid sign to really change my perspective of my own faith! Why I can't accept the signs that other people, like yourself, have experienced as evidence, I'm not quite sure.

It must have been a terrible time for your sister and those around her. It is great that you have family that rally around as fast as they can at times like this.
shortindiangirl From: shortindiangirl Date: February 27th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanx for sharing. Must be painful. Fortunately, it's in the past.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 27th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Akhil, our first child.

Dear Priya,

I read this post at work, which I probably shouldn't have done, and it brought me to tears. Thank you very much for remembering. I don't know why, but this year was a little more difficult than the previous 2 years. There is the saying that we hear quite often, "Things happen for a reason." I can't stand this saying, but it is true. We may not know the reason, but GOD knows why he does what he does and that's all we have to go by. I am truly blessed to have such a loving and supportive family. I wouldn't have been able to make it through any of this with that.

I love you and miss you very much. I wish you could move back here because we are missing so much of the kids growing up and in our lives too. This is just how things have to be, at least for now!

damita98 From: damita98 Date: February 28th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* I had no idea your sister lost her first child, that is horrible. Working in the hospital and in admitting, we often have to interview mothers after this happens and it takes everything in me to not cry while talking with the mother regarding arrangements. No matter how many times I have to do this, they are never easy and I dread the time I get to the room and the child is still with the mother. I am not scared to see an infant that has passed on, I like to see pictures of them actually. I think taking pictures helps the mother go on, then again what do I know, I haven't been blessed with a child and then had it taken away. I can't say I understand what you're feeling but I can I sympathize or empathize with you because I know I would be very sad and depressed as well.

I only hope that the days to come will be better. Take care Priya.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 2nd, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)


This brought me to complete tears. It as beautiful. Akhil is the name of my eldest son, and that is why I guess I started reading this post in earnest. what you said about his soul needing just a little bit of time in this world to fulfill his karmic debt was utterfly beautiful, meaningful and resonates so well with my heart.

God bless Akhil.

-Tharini (
(Screened comment)
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: January 29th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

I have screened your comment so only you and I can see it, I hope you don't end up deleting it.
shortindiangirl From: shortindiangirl Date: January 29th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes, I was hoping that you may do that. Your sister can know too, of course, if you think it would be useful to her.
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