The story of
success story :
the outcome of Community Service Program| SEHER
picture of Seeta
Seeta, 35, stayed in Lohiyanagar with her mother, two brothers, her step mother and two step brothers and sisters. Her father had passed on sometime back and the entire family lived in the same house. Seeta's younger brother was diagnosed with TB at the time she first got registered with us as a client. Her mother had a history of schizophrenia and the other brother had undergone treatment for some chronic mental health issues in the past. Her father had remarried so that
the new mother could care for his 3 children. Their own mother was socially disconnected with all the children. She hardly cared for them; perhaps, it was due to her disability which was little understood at that time. Seeta remembered her mother as someone who did nothing for them, who hurled abuses at everyone in the house, who picked up fights with people, who drove people away, who neglected her own children! She was identified in a corner meeting by the grassroots fieldworker.
Seeta's grandmother was a government employee and she was getting pension. She didn’t spend a single dime at home. Seeta was the only earning member in the family.
She was very worried at the time she first visited the organization (2013), anxious, fearful of her circumstances, she had no motivation to carry on with the never ending struggles of life.
Having to care for three sick people, two with chronic mental health issues and one with a serious physical health condition, was taking a toll on her. She wondered what would happen to them if something were to happen to her. She had nightmares at the time, couldn’t sleep, felt hopeless, often felt like running away from everything, and felt very sad and often cried.
After her assessments, her health check was done. During her health check up, she was diagnosed with T.B. A lot of work was done with her in the context of her health and mental health issues- working on her ‘self’ and body image, on her support systems, on her livelihood as well as on tying her up with various governmental and nongovernmental organizations for food, free medicines and treatment for her family.
She started taking medication for T.B. Her T.B. was cured over time and with the care and support she received and she started going for work regularly.
Her grooming improved. She was happy and joyous. She liked coming to groups. She said, “You are like angels to me”. After having achieved positive mental health outcomes for her, Seeta's case was closed.
Soon after her brother died. It was difficult for Seeta to come out of it. Grief work and support in the process of mourning was done with her for proper closures, she had cared so closely for her brother and having to let go of him was very difficult for her. Eventually she got back to her routine to life which was different.
Seeta started working again. But, she wasn’t eating properly. But life, as we know it, had more in store for her.
In December 2015, someone from the community informed the team about her deteriorating health condition and frequent hospitalizations. One team worker promptly visited her and got to know that she had not been eating for days together and had been surviving on biscuits dissolved in warm water. There seemed to be an issue in her food pipe. Further investigations revealed that she had cancer in the esophagus. It was malignant and had spread to different parts in her body.
The last time, the team worked with her, Seeta had emerged as a huge success story, a story that they held pride in her, in them on the astonishing psychosocial outcomes achieved for her. She had emerged at the time as a strong woman who stood up bravely undeterred by her miserable life conditions, to take charge and control of her life, to reclaim and restore her life.
To see her, on this day, weak and frail, weighing just about 20 kgs was very overwhelming for the team. From that day onwards, till the day she passed away began a series of long, continued exchanges with Seeta. She knew she was slipping and so did people around her, she knew that people were aware, yet in death and dying, she refused to give up.
Exchanges with Seeta focused on providing emotional support to her, to just be with her, be available through presence, through full listening, participating in conversations with her through silence and unspoken words. She was a spiritually inclined person, several sessions with her focused on talking about her spiritual connect, she would say that she met Kalubai and Yelamma,
two deities, who gave her the strength to carry on.
Engaging in prayers, chanting, safe place visualization, protective visualizations, body healing, making aspiration prayers, breathing in positive messages, breathing in health and strength, drawing, painting, reading books out to her were among the sessions done with her though this period.
Constantly touching base with the doctors treating her, arranging food, medicines and at times money for her treatment, palliative care was also done.
Somebody from the team always dropped in to meet her atleast on alternate days.Family sessions were done to
enable their support, availability and care to Seeta through this period. Sensitizing them, giving them emotional support, suggestions on how to enable conversations with her- not making it gloomy and sad, not getting her to feel pain and death in everyday moments of living,
, but instead talking about things that she enjoyed talking on, giving her hope and doing self care practices with her were done simultaneously. They took activities for her which she used to like to do as a child. Some of the activities were focused on closure, finding meaning in life, feeling peaceful within, and drawing.
They widened her circle of care within the hospital.
After almost a year long struggle, moving from her house to Sasoon Hospital to Alandi Hospital to Vishranti Palliative care.
Matters of death and loss are not easy, no matter how prepared one is, yet one can find some solace in knowing the connect shared with her in her journey till the end. She was peaceful at the time of passing.
This was story 15. It is a true story.
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