My Tryst with Loss
Loss is a very subjective feeling. For some, loss is an inherent part of life, for some it is an unexplainable feeling that leaves a permanent void in their life. I, belong to the second category. I for one have faced many losses in my life. The beauty of loss is that no two losses can make you feel the same way. The way you feel about your loss also depends on your understanding of loss itself. We learn to cope up with loss right from our childhood, but at the end of it, are we ever fully prepared to cope up with a loss? I do not know. I am not going to bore you with memories from my childhood, but I am going to relive through you, that one day of my life, that made my heart die a little.
7 years ago, I lost a dear one, a very dear one at that. At that age, I was not mature enough to understand the magnanimity of the loss, but I was old enough to realise that all I can hold on to now, are memories. Death is a dangerous thing and now I understand why they cover the face of the accused before hanging him/her, because the last image you see of the individual never fades away from your memory, even if you desperately want it to. Luckily, the last image I saw of my dear one, was a smiling face and I am glad he passed away that way. To have someone die a sudden death, is a depressing one, of course, but knowing that the person whose heart is still beating will stop doing so in the next one hour, is cruelty. I was a victim of that cruelty. I was numb with shock, pale with grief and was trying really hard to curb that fire that burned furiously inside of me. I was angry, angry at the reckless management, angry with my dear one for leaving me like this, angry with God for taking him away from me when I was clearly not prepared for this, heck nobody was prepared for it. But that does not change anything, does it?
Anyway, an hour or two later, the ‘body’, yes a human then, a body now was brought home. The home where now all my memories lie, a home that is a symbol of what I shared with him, a home that he created. He was smiling, as though he was happy to die or that he was enjoying the attention he was getting and that angered me more. There were people wailing around me, and that did not help me at all. I commanded my brain to shut down all the noise around me and I do not know how, after that all I heard my own heart beat that it deafened every other noise around. I went and sat next to him and tried to hold his hand, which were now turning purple and blue by the second. Unknown strangers, who suddenly came into my life like they have been there always asked me to move away from the ‘body’. Who were they after all? Where we they all this while? What did they even know about the relationship between me and my dear departed? How dare they refer to him as ‘body’? Questions were popping through my veins, but I had to keep my calm. I moved away for a second, only to make them leave and went back to the same position again. I held his hand tight, like I always used to in his last months, only difference, they were utterly cold now. I could not hold back my tears, so I let them flow.
An hour or two later, they said they wanted to keep him in an ice box. I wondered why would anyone keep somebody who’s already this cold, in an ICE box? But then I reasoned myself that nobody other than me touched him, so maybe they did not know. Anyway, they decided to keep him in an ice box and there were men outside the family to do that. They lifted him like he was a bag of rice, so careless with absolutely no regard for his age. I was appalled at the amount disrespect that was being put out there. I let out a huge scream, only to realise later what a scene I created there. Does death of an individual, make him an object of disrespect and ridicule? I hope not. Swarm of relatives came and went. Some stayed, some left. Some were pretending to care, some did not even pretend. Some spoke about how respectfully he led his family, job and his life, some spoke about his willpower and hard work, some spoke about the kind of loving man that he was, but they were all general opinions. Nobody knew him so precisely like I knew. Nobody can speak of the way he eats, the amount of salt he needs in his food, how he enjoys a cup of coffee with extra sugar, without his wife’s knowledge of it, the way he paid attention to every single thing that was said in a family lunch/dinner and so on. Nobody knew that side of him, maybe that is why they all are over him now.
It was almost noon, they had to take him away, away from his family who wants him, to God whose very existence I questioned at that moment. They opened the lid of the of the ice box and began to lift him when I created a scene, again, by asking the men to stop for a second. I kissed him on the forehead, for the first and last time and retreated to the crowd. I was surprisingly calm when he was being taken away. While the others were crying, I stood there, eyes dry, because, alive or dead, he was still in front of me. The second he was out of my sight is when the reality struck me. I collapsed right there and cried, cried for days and nights. Even now as I write this, my eyes go moist by even thinking about it.