We needed a break…

Making cairns dedicated to Naseeb on the Isle Of Bute, Naseeb’s Grandparents’ house, and at Budle Bay. They help focus and manage our emotions, diffuse their intensity, though managing is not coping. Well, we needed a break…

Small cairn for Naseeb on the Isle Of Bute

… and so we got away for a week in late September, away from Manchester the city that was Naseeb’s home, and went to an island in Scotland called the Isle of Bute.  It’s a small island, not far from Glasgow.  I worried what it would be like to be somewhere that had no reminders of Naseeb, and none of his identity there in any way.  It was a quiet island with hardly any tourists, lots of sea to look at and easy to get around.  Would it help us in our ongoing pain and anguish, or make us feel like alienated strangers and intensify the trauma and shock that we were still experiencing?

Oddly, I found myself remembering Naseeb with more clarity than if I had been surrounded by continual snippets of him everywhere, which has been our comfort zone for some months.  None of these snippets – photos, clothes, objects, possessions, books, and so on – are actually him, they are a fixed moment and each misses his real essence even if they come from his essence.  They are not him, and I yearn for him, to have him back.  I’d give my life for that, but it’s not possible.

Watching the infinite sea, feeling the blustery wind, walking over unspoilt landscapes, seeing nature commanding itself outside human control.  Naseeb too is outside human control now.  Maybe he’s mingling with all those raw elements, maybe his soul energy is still active in some form that is intangible to us mortals, maybe… or maybe not.  Who knows.  Either way, it was good to be focused on raw nature in parallel with our raw emotions for Naseeb, away from the complexities of the modern world which had collapsed in on him.

Small cairn for Naseeb on the Isle Of Bute
Small cairn for Naseeb on the Isle Of Bute

Occasionally around Scotland you will see the odd cairn, which is a pile of stones built up into a cone or pyramid in some way.  They are often built as landscape markers that can be of wildly varying sizes, but can also be memory cairns for loved ones.  A local bay full of stones that had been weathered for centuries made good materials for a simple cairn to remember Naseeb by. After collecting a batch of stones riddled with grooves eroded into them, I built a very small and simple one on the Isle of Bute.

Then I brought some stones back to put indoors at Naseeb’s grandparents house as a little cairn-style memorial which they can see every day.  In November we stayed at Budle Bay on the North-East coast, I again built a small cairn for Naseeb out of those ancient rocks weathered over time by the sea and wind.

mini-cairn for Naseeb
A mini-cairn for Naseeb on an owl-pot in Naseeb’s grandparents’ hallway

These and other things don’t ease the pain, they don’t resolve the questions, they don’t support us when we break down which we do regularly and will be doing for a long time, or anything else.  They just help focus our emotions and feelings, diffuse their intensity, and maybe provide a marker around which to share grief and confront our reality.  We’ll need a lot of these breaks I guess.   It’s called managing, but it’s not coping – that might never happen. Maybe this tiny glimpse of our visit gives a taste of the depth of debilitating sadness taking place for us.

Small cairn for Naseeb at Budle Bay
Small cairn for Naseeb at Budle Bay

In case anybody reading this is thinking of taking their own life and also thinking that others won’t be affected much or will even be better off afterwards, I’ll just say you really can’t be more misguided and plain wrong than that.  We are left travelling on a lifelong road full of ditches, thorns, whirlwinds, floods and earthquakes.  We can barely hold on, our hearts regularly lose all strength.  Still, the odd resting spot on that road and maybe time to build a small cairn does have something going for it.

Posted by Kooj / Kuljit Chuhan (Naseeb’s Dad)

Some photos of the Isle of Bute, Naseeb’s grandparents hallway, and around Budle Bay:

Discover more from Naseeb Chuhan Memorial

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

6 thoughts on “We needed a break…”

  1. These small cairns touching the land and gently sited make a beautiful, calm and peaceful memorial to Naseeb. We hope building them gave you come comfort even if momentarily.

  2. InshaAllah strength will find a way my friend…a strength that will immortalise Naseeb within you…dont be too harsh on yourselves, take rest…Naseeb is always with you…x

  3. Thank you for sharing this Kooj and Balwant. It’s much appreciated. I’m sending you Love and Light and a BIG joyful Hug to warm, if just a little, your aching hearts. Let me know if there’s any way that I can help during this time of your continuing grief and sadness, since loss of your dearly beloved son, Naseeb. Love, Light and Peace. Rhonda

  4. This is so moving Kooj and made me cry with sadness for you and Balwant. Glad you shared it. Rani

  5. Lovely photos and very powerful writing, gives the real sense of the suffering that you are both going through. Wishing you love and light and the peace of nature’s space and the stones of the memory cairns to enter your being. xxx

Leave a Reply