When death arrives…


… it is nothing like you can imagine! If you haven’t seen it up close yourself, there is nothing that you can even compare it with.

As children, whenever a death occurred in someone’s house, we would never be taken to see them. It was only our parents who went. My first encounter with seeing someone die and the seeing all the rituals, was when my grandfather died. It was painful yes, yet it was somehow bearable. He was 75.

But my father’s death, still haunts me. He was 59. It’s been 5 years and the scene from that day is crystal clear in my mind. It’s like something deep inside me died and will never resurrect again. Just the other day, on my way to office, the scene flashed in my mind –

My Dad, kept pulling off the oxygen mask in the ICU. I was there with him, taking my turn to be in the ICU. I was telling him, he is not supposed to take it off. It’s supposed to help him breathe. He said in a feeble voice, “Enu barthilla” (roughly translates to, there’s nothing coming). My gaze went the along the tube and stopped at the device connected at the other end. Wasn’t that liquid supposed to be bubbling? I noticed, it wasn’t. I called out to the nurse, who came and checked it. The knob was set to zero. She turned it up, asking who turned it off?

That’s it! I got so bloody enraged! I shouted at her – “Wasn’t it her job? How can they switch it off and force him to wear the mask? Won’t it suffocate him?! Are they out of their mind?” I have probably never been that angry in my life! I even shouted at the duty doctor. He had the courage to tell me, “A few minutes of it being turned off, doesn’t matter and it won’t affect the patient”. I shot back at him saying “for you it is just a patient, for me it is my Dad”. I couldn’t control myself and ran out of the ICU, weeping.

A little more than a half hour from then, my Dad was declared dead. Our world had been shaken up, like never before. We were in no way prepared for it. After all, he had walked in to the hospital only for a consultation?

In retrospect, I wonder if my shouting at the doctor, nurse and ward boy had affected and alarmed my father that something is wrong? Did that cause him panic? Did that trigger that sudden deterioration? Or was it the turned off oxygen supply? These are questions to which I will never find an answer. It will haunt me for life. Deep within I hold myself responsible, in some way.

Life took a totally different turn from then on. So many things which was is so simple when your father is around, became complex. My blog too, I think, over the 5 years reflects the change within me and my situations.

With time, your brain doesn’t seem to co-operate with you. It tends to forget those memories which you don’t recollect often. The times from childhood, with Daddy. I remember only the moments that I’ve recollected often. The other normal days just got lost somewhere. What is left is the scenes from the hospital. The few conversations with Daddy in those 2 days. His frail, scared face.

Death of someone close leaves an irreparable mark.  But it isn’t something that can be avoided or be prepared for. Que Será, Será.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I cannot tell you how much this has moved me. I am writing here days after reading this because I did not know what to say. I still don’t. But please can I tell you that you did everything you could? That everything you did had your heart? I don’t know – everything sounds so shallow. I can only tell you that is so profound and you are so brave to share this. Thank you.

    1. Arch says:

      Thank you so much for those comforting words. Maybe that is what I am trying to do, seek reassurance? I don’t know.. But thank you for coming back to write these words.

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