Death is powerful. Death is an all-consuming full stop. Death is the reason – we live!
Immortality will be boring as hell. And you wanted to live. A bit more. A few years. A few months. A few more days and then you didn’t. The body gave up on you. And then you gave up on the body.
I dream of you, every other day; you are not happy with me – is what I see. Guilt ridden grief rises up like vomit. The YOU shaped void creates a claustrophobia – leaves me gasping for breath and I HAVE to disengage. In this past year I have deliberately thought of you just on surficial level –just enough to let the poison of grief drain out in drips – but everything else gets clamped down – just immediately, before it takes over and wipes me out. Below the bandage – it’s an oozing wound.
We had our moments. We fought sometimes. I screamed. I made mistakes, and so did you. You put curfew hours and time outs and worse. But no matter what happened, I loved you, I wanted you to be proud of me. I never wanted to fail you. Even when I did sometimes. Even when you failed me sometimes.
This time – last year – I wanted you gone. I wanted you to be free from all the pain. I wanted me to be free from a bigger pain I was living vicariously through yours and my own.
I did not give up on you at first – because I couldn’t fathom anything as silly as diabetes could beat you down. The tall muscular boisterous arrogant towering figure of a man of my childhood. The man who could go from zero to ten on anger and laughter and emotion and discourse in a matter of minutes. The man who fought with me silly and cried like a baby when I was leaving home. The man who could pick me easily even when I was teenager and rush to care; the man who was proud when I became a mother and sulked when I didn’t have time for him.
I couldn’t give up on the man who could still discuss state politics and economics with same gusto as he could the merits or demerits of single motherhood; the man who was trying to coach the doctors on his conditions and still trying to play host to all and sundry crossing his threshold.
I couldn’t and then I did. And the moment I did. You did. It was as simple and as finalizing as that. Am I arrogant to think that it was my doing? No.
In this year gone by – I have mind-rehearsed your last few months to a point that I close my eyes and bring them all to life any given moment. Am I living in them? No.
And yet the guilt, the constant gnawing guilt of wanting you gone. Giving up on you. Telling you to let go. Over and over.
Even while I was scrapping through for your medicines and hospital bills, even while I was making care arrangements, even when I was picking you up and helping you sit and walk or pee. Even when I was irritated with you for holding on tenaciously. I wanted you gone. I wanted the pain to end.
And finally when I held your hand, immensely soft, all through this and in the last moments; I knew I was holding the fragile wings of something – that arrives and leaves at its will; unbeknownst to any of us, the mystery of death – stamps itself – in an unlikeliest hours of clear morning skies.
This last year much has happened. Things that would have made you proud, perhaps. Things that you would have bragged about.
This last year - I have been robbed of remaining of my sleep and I have been robbed of complexity of emotions – I do simple now. It is what it is and when it is. Temporal. Contextual. In the now.
Some days there is a part of me that wants it to be easy already; some sleepy-head part of me that keeps wishing I’ll wake up one morning from my fractured sleep to ease and peace. To a blueprint of living with grace amidst all the collision of wants and needs and must-dos and will-dos.
I know you are gone. And some logical bit of my perfect halves brain also knows that there is nothing more to it. Death, while mystery, is not unique – that’s how I explain to my seven year old – it’s a circle of life and he gets it,
perhaps better than me – and I feel like a fraud.
And yet, I think, it’s another masochist part of the same perfect halves – which enjoys the inky blue ‘deatheaters’ vaporizing the light out – that is not ready.
It’s an inky inkling, it’s a seemingly mountain of burden, it’s a lightness of freedom and then it’s a blink… We live under these parentheses.
Copyright @ Neerja Yadav