Monday, February 7, 2011

To the girl in the courier office

I've known her by sight
For the last few years
she always has a smile
and a pleasant word.
Our brief contact is
always pleasant.
Today, I said to her,
You are looking tired.
Are you not well?

No, but my father passed away
suddenly, a few days ago.
He was eighty two,
and a heart patient,
He died peacefully,
during an afternoon siesta.

This girl's father-in-law
had died many years ago,
she never knew him.
So she asks her husband
How can you bear to live
without your father?
I don't know what he says,
But I know what I know

That we have no choice in such things
And the older generation going,
in the fullness of time is but natural,
Not to be mourned endlessly,
But to be remembered with love,
and gratitude.

I'm glad that your father
didn't suffer
And that you can remember him
as he was,
not transformed by endless pain
and suffering into a living skeleton,
The broad shoulders
once perched upon,
a distant memory.

The vacuum will always be there
but we do live.
Live we must,
Until our own turn arrives
For ashes and dust

14 comments:

Rayna M. Iyer said...

So true, Dipali. I secretly envy people who did not have to see their parents suffer. But again, I would not have had those last years with my father, had he passed away without suffering.
Whichever is better, and I am sure neither is, we have no choice but to carry on, is there?
And spending every moment missing them is the greatest disservice we can do to the people who we love.

dipali said...

'And spending every moment missing them is the greatest disservice we can do to the people who we love'.

That is so true!
For that girl, though, it was so recent and so sudden, she was still so raw with her loss. I know that apart from my father's extreme suffering in the last six months or so of his life, there was joy and meaning in his life throughout several years of debility. And he certainly enriched
my life during that time.

mayG said...

biig hugs Dipali.. such wise, well-worded thoughts, I couldnt agree more.

dipali said...

@mayG: Thank you!

Soulmate said...

Obviously the loss of that person will always be there.. Death is and will always be inevitable. But we can pray for is, no sufferings when the end is near.. A peaceful end is what we all wish for...
Its a dicey situation actually... We would still like to have the person around alive, even if he may not be in the best of his health.. I dont know which choice is better...

dipali said...

@soulmate: There is really no choice in the matter, fortunately or unfortunately! What I do strongly feel is that seeing a loved one undergo extreme suffering helps you loosen your ties to them- you are more willing to 'let go', when the time comes, because you cannot bear to see your loved ones in such a pitiable condition.

U said...

needed this. Just lost someone dear to us. Not really to age, but to illness.

Sue said...

Just so that you know, you're never dying, OK? OK. I absolutely forbid it.

*pulls the wrap of denial even tighter around her*

V said...

Beautifully written...Loved it!!!

dipali said...

@U: I'm so sorry to hear that. My condolences.
@Sue: I'll try my very best not to!
*Hugs the Sue-in-denial*
@V: Thank you so much!

Indian Home Maker said...

Reminded me of when my father died at 74, three years ago. We had all always thought he would live to be 99. Now I feel he was lucky he didn't suffer, and died knowing his wife and children were happy. I used to feel terrible about his one unfulfilled wish, of eating endless ice creams on my daughter's wedding...

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

Sob...

Sue said...

*hugs IHM and M4*

dipali said...

@Indian Home Maker:
Are you familiar with Harivansh Rai Bacchan's Madhushala? These lines ring so true:
kitni icchhaein har jaaNe-waala choD yahan jaata
kitne aRmaanoN kee bankar qaBr khaDi hai madhushaala

So many memories, so much heartbreak. Huge hugs, my dear.

@m4: Big hugs.

@Sue:Hugs.