DEATH NOT THE END

Zindagi toh bewafa hai ek din thukraayegi,

Maut mehbooba hai, saathi leke jaayega”

These are the lyrics of an old hindi song that I have heard decades ago. It translates to “life is a betrayer, will leave us midway but death is a darling that will surely take us with it”. Profound, isn’t it? Death is the ultimate reality of life. That reminds me of a particular scene from a regional movie – a mother whose son died pleads her husband to do something and revive her son’s life. He agrees but asks her to do one thing “go and get some black sesame seeds from a house / family that haven’t witnessed any death“. She runs from door to door but receives only one answer “SORRY, We just mourned loss of someone”. She collapsed of fatigue but realized one thing Death Is Inevitable! Hence that realization granted her strength to send off the departed soul – detachment from the attachments.

But ironically death can only put an end to the life cycle but not to the LIFE itself. People depart but their presence lingers on, Memories is thy name.

My share of memories: My father left us in 2014. He battled cancer for almost two years. I was with him when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. I witnessed his pain, the pain inflicted by hunger, by numerous surgeries, by harsh chemotherapies. He lost his voice and was reduced to a bag of bones towards the end of his life. With energy drained out all he did was to watch us in silence and helplessness. I left him in care of my mother and brother as I had to leave for Brussels. Within few months I got a call that he wants to see me as he almost had a premonition about his departure. I couldn’t get tickets before the third day from that call. But it was too late, he breathed his last the very next day. For all the suffering he has undergone he passed off peacefully in his sleep. He longed to see me but unfortunately that didn’t happen, I couldn’t pay him the last visit. And that remorse still haunts. But he still visit me in my subconscious state of mind, my dreams and it seems nothing has happened, nothing has changed.

I know that I have shared this episode quite a lot of times on this platform. We as a family were prepared for this truth check of life. Though it was painful for us yet we found solace in the fact that he was liberated from his agony.

Shocking News: When someone in the family suffers with any kind of terminal illness, rest of the family is mentally prepared for the outcome though not leaving their optimistic approach. All they want is relief from the pain either ways. Even when people reach old age, their demise leave people mourning with grief, grappling with memories but as time moves, life moves on with the acceptance of the fact – it was supposed to be this way, the only unchanged truth of life!! But sometimes death knocking out life when it is not even expected to be anywhere round the corner. Two such instances I would like to share here:

  • A 35 years old daughter of one of my relative died last year due to covid. She had just delivered a baby girl and weakened immunity in after delivery phase made her contact covid. She was kept on ventilator as her lungs were too weak. And despite of every effort she couldn’t sustain. That was a shocker for us. A baby lost her mother and a mother lost her daughter. If this wasn’t heart wrenching enough that mother also lost her husband to cancer just an year ago.
  • In another incident few years ago, another relative lost her 25 years old son in a gruesome accident. He left home saying “I will be back soon mom” but few hours later what she received is a butchered body. The plight of that mother is something beyond my words could ever explain.

These were really very painful for those who were left behind. Prepared or caught off guard, we all get hit by this certainty. If emotional attachment is something that grips us as trauma then there are cases where the kith and kin are physically, economically dependent too. For instance in the above mentioned incident the lady who died due to corona had a new born baby and a ten years old boy. Such situations mark the loss with lot of vulnerabilities rocking the lives of survivors.

What can motivate to live, continue living? Shouldn’t we be paying the minimum respect to the creator and the ultimate truth of the cosmos “everything that is born will have an end”. Ok this is quite preachy and may sound really harsh. We can’t teach this to a grieving family. But then the responsibilities of a family or a position that might have dropped our shoulders before with fear act as catalyst to face, carry and continue. A mother has to fill in shoes of the departed husband for kids; son has to shoulder the responsibilities his father was discharging; successor in line has to take oath to serve just as his/her preceding person did; grandparents need to once again don the hats of parents. There’s a plethora of such examples. Because this is a token of respect and love to the one who just made an exit from this stage.

What about the vacuum created? As I mentioned it’s only we have to fill those materialistic spaces of responsibilities. And their memories in turn fill in the space in our hearts, can there be any denial to this?

A fact check: Forgetfulness is a bliss!! As we cope up with the loss of our loved ones and gear up ourselves to face the life and it’s struggles again the mill of the time keeps ticking. And passing through that we undeniably forget our trauma (not the person). Remembering the good times spent with the desceased in our good times, walking the path they showed us- isn’t this a perfect ode to them? Think over.