Since the beginning of the challenge, my memories have mostly been the happy ones. But life is not always so, there are moments of grief and pain too. These unhappy memories can be due to failures, heartbreak, sickness or Death.
One of the unhappiest moments in one’s life is to witness death and it becomes more painful if it’s of a loved one. I too have been unfortunate in this regard.
Both, my sister and I, had always been quite close to my grandparents, both maternal and paternal. My maternal grandfather, an ex-army man, was a lively soul. His favorite line, when he wanted to make us do some work used to be, “Kaisa Hindustani hai tum”. Even in his old-age, he had the enthusiasm of a young man. So it was quite a shock when we got the news of his illness.
We immediately rushed to our village to be by his side. He was up and about even in his frail condition and our young minds were unable to accept the fact that anything was wrong with him.
So it was a heart-rending sight to see him lying on the bed taking his last breath when we came back from our paternal grandparents’ house who lived in the same town.
I remember his last words to my sister and me were, “Why are you so late? Did nobody tell you that I am dying?” And then we watched the light in his eyes getting dim with each passing second. He was no more. To have seen him die in front of my eyes made me realize, even at my young age that everything comes to an end, even life.
I had not thought that life would again force me to part with another one of my beloved family members. My paternal grandmother, whom we fondly called Dadi, a robust lady, taller than the men in the family was a commanding personality. She loved us a lot. Being the first of her grandchildren in the family, we had a special place in her heart. She used to eagerly wait for us to visit her during the summer vacations and used to treat us with all the delicacies which she had stored especially for us.
I remember, when my Dadaji had fallen sick and had been admitted to the hospital. Everybody thought that he wouldn’t be able to survive. But my Dadi didn’t leave hope or his side. When we visited Dadaji in the hospital, he gradually recovered and our Dadi gave us the credit for that. She said that our presence had saved Dadaji’s life. She gifted both, my sister and me, her gold earrings and we returned to our city beaming with joy because everything was alright now.
But it was not. A few months later we got the news that Dadi had fallen sick, very sick. She had slipped into Coma. We couldn’t believe that. We went to the hospital. She was in ICU. We were allowed to visit her only for 5 minutes. We went in but couldn’t find her because we were looking for a tall, strong, healthy woman; not the frail, shriveled and motionless one lying in front of us. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I couldn’t stop crying either. The doctors had given up hope. She was on life-support. They asked us to take her home and we did. On the way home, she opened her eyes, one last time. I can’t say if she saw anyone but I am glad that we were all there before her. She passed away and I saw it. To relive a tragedy once again is the worst kind of pain.
And it struck us again within two years after my Dadi passed. My Dadaji had been shattered when Dadi had expired. I remember, as we all were preparing for Dadi’s funeral, he sat in one corner crying like a child, continuously saying ‘It should have been me. She took my place.’ His heart was broken. With his life-partner gone, he felt lonely and it ate him up from inside. He grew weak and became bed-ridden. We all were near him during his last days. My father read the Holy Scriptures to him daily as he lay on his bed. The day the reading of scriptures ended, he took his last breath.
I had lost three of my grandparents who had given me and my sister endless love. I know that their blessings are with us always but we miss them a lot. How I had wished them to be with me when I got married; when I had my kids but destiny had other plans. Still, I am at least thankful to god that I have some of the sweetest memories with them, which are going to be with me throughout the life.
But two years back, I again witnessed the death of my Father-in-law. He was such an active man who was so firm about what he ate and how he lived. So, it came as a shock to all of us in the family when we came to know that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The disease was in its last stage. The doctors refused to perform Chemotherapy on him as he was above 82 years of age and very frail. Within a couple of months, he lost his weight considerably and his appetite became negligible. We were losing him with each passing day.
My father in law was very fond of my husband. He liked it when my husband used to sit beside him. It calmed him down. So, we used to be at his side as much as we could. During his last days, when he was in the hospital, in ICU, we went to visit him. He knew his end was near. I went near him as he was lying on the bed. His lungs didn’t have the strength left to breathe in the air and the oxygen was being pushed in through the mask. I saw him and tears ran out of my eyes. He was very helpless and in the sign-language explained to me that it was becoming unbearable for him. Seeing him suffering, my tears wouldn’t stop. I tried to calm him down by holding his hands and massaging his arms. They had gone cold. The doctor came after few minutes as I sat there and asked me to move out as it was time. I touched his feet and moved out. I came out and started crying. It was agonizing to see such an active person lying there helplessly. With a heavy heart, I came back as my kids were at home. Next morning, we received the news from the hospital, that he was no more.
All these moments tend to make me realize how unpredictable life is. If it gives us moments of joy and laughter, it also has its share of tears and sorrow. And we have to accept all that it gives: Happy times as well as unhappy ones too.
This blog post is part of #A2ZChallenge. My theme for the year 2018 is Memories. This post is for letter ‘U’.