Saturday, January 01, 2005

Death- The Ultimate Reality

Is Death-The Ultimate Reality??I was reading an article on death in a malayalam magazine.Of how every death that one encounters brings memories, sense of irretrievable loss, regret, guilt.

The author-(Leela Menon) says, a man encounters an average of 50,000 thoughts in a day. She also shares the feeling of an incompleteness, a sense of not having said enough, of not having apologized for the little mistakes, of little guilts, of a void that she faced upon the death of her husband.

She relates, how inspired by a book-Unconditional Life-by Deepak Chopra, she learnt to bring positivity, love, joy, courage, devotion into her life. She concludes by saying that Memories are not always sad, they bring joy too, and Man can bring sweetness into his memories if he tries to, It is the Gift from the skies!

Upon reading this, I was reminded of my first close encounter with Death- my maternal grandfather's.I was in the final year of my graduation. I was living with my grandparents then.

My grandfather was a physician and a most dedicated physician at that. He literally doted on his patients. His patients insisted on having him initiate their course of treatment. His six feet frame emanated an ethereal effulgence, his patients believed. We, his family members have enjoyed many a privelege in his name but he was the epitome of Humility.

With age,deteriorating health did not permit him to go to the nursing home . He felt cut off from his beloved patients and his agony was apparent . I remember thinking, that he was born perhaps to bring relief to the sick and when he was rendered incapable of doing so, he withered before our eyes. The last few years of his life was perhaps very painful to him emotionally.

My regret to this day has been that I, his eldest grandchild-remained aloof to him during his last years. Simply because I did not know how to penetrate the barrier that he had created around himself. I was afraid of his belittling comments and hence avoided confrontations. I knew he was isolating himself because he felt useless- he was pining for his patients.

Appachha! I did not bid farewell -if only-I had peeked in that day- that last fateful day..But you do know that I did not because I was afraid- I could hear you groaning in the next room, but I could not bear to watch you writhe in pain-.still I wish I had- I wish I had been brave enough to sit by you, hold your hand, tell you how much you meant to me, how proud I was of being your grand daughter. 

Years later, after I was married, and my father-in- law was bed ridden, I fought my fears, my sorrow, and my mother too reminded me that I was not to withhold myself from going near him, succumbing to fear. I stayed by my father-in-law's bedside doing my best to soothe him, care for him. It was agony to see him suffer, but the presence of his near and dear ones alleviated his pain to some extent. And finally, when he left us, we tried to remember that he was released from his torture. Most of us are not actually afraid of death but of dying, of pain, of sorrow. The actual end perhaps brings a welcome sense of relief from bondage, a liberation! And to bear the loss of a dear one, the pain of seperation, is traumatic, but inevitable. Each individual has to draw enormous fortitude and courage to face such losses in life, and this has to come from within oneself.

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