“It`s good that he is no more. Death is better than so much of suffering.” As much as I would love to agree with this, it seems nothing more than a self defense mechanism to me. How on earth (literally) would I know if he is still not suffering, in some other world maybe. The human race has not yet emerged with a conclusive research on life after death. And those who have given it a shot, have not returned so far.
So I would refuse to console myself on the basis of baseless statements like these. Just because I am not a witness to the suffering does not put a ‘dead end’ to the suffering. What I do know for a fact is that death is inevitable. To embrace it is wisdom. But to defy it is courage. And that is what he was – a fine blend of both. And that is where I draw my strength from.
“I want to go for my morning walk. I want to attend my office daily. I want to take your nani out for a drive.” That`s what he told me on his 85th birthday two months ago as I massaged his feet – a skill that I had excelled to such an extent that he wouldn`t let anyone else even touch his toes. Six long months of severe illness could not shake his optimism. Neither it could tamper with his will to live. Even his sense of humor was intact as he used to make fun of my annoyed expression whenever he used to instruct me to massage his feet.
Little did he realize that the reason why I used to get annoyed was because I used to get de-motivated every time I used to see him in that state. To observe a figure of authority, an inspiration for fighting tireless battles against the tides of time – confined to bed was extremely painful. But then to massage his feet and hear him out, to see him paint a rosy future for himself was what diluted the despair.
But that annoyed expression was what he genuinely regretted. To cause inconvenience to his loved ones by depending on them for his daily chores was something that he was not prepared to accept. A self-made man, he refused medication in order to halt the vicious cycle of side effects, so that he could liberate all of us from delaying the inevitable.
I don`t think that it was the physical pain that got the better of him. He was a fighter. But he was wise too. He foresaw the end and that is why he coaxed all of us to complete all the crucial tasks that we had ranked low in our priority lists – a full family portrait being one of them.
“Take good care of your nani – she loves you a lot.” His wisdom had spoken his last words to me. I smiled at him, massaging his toes. He smiled back while his heart continued the struggle- trying not to go gentle into that good night.