I Lost My Youth The Day I Stood At My Father’s Grave To Lay Him To Rest

Anonymous Anonymous in Your Story on 8 November, 2017

Time plays a vital role in everyone’s life. It is time which lands us in the kind of scenarios that mature a person, sometimes with time and mostly, before time. I had a very good life with my mother, father and younger brother, where I never even realized it before my worn clothes were replaced by freshly ironed ones by my mother. I used to wake up with tea being served to me by my mother and my daily routine was quite smooth going. Then that year knocked the door of my life, when in February 2010 I got a call from my mother to inform me that my father was ill. She said to me that I must visit home for some time. During this time, I was pursuing my final year of Masters in New Delhi, and having fun in life with my university friends. I was a bright student and managed to get good grades.

I went home and found out that my father was diagnosed with UTI infection for which he was administered with antibiotics through our family doctor. After visiting him for a week, I went back as I had exams.

Then, during my final exams, my mom called again and informed me that my father’s health is deteriorating. She told me to visit again as it was serious this time. I was in a kind of dilemma for a while then rushed back home. I saw my father, he had gotten too weak, and he had to be admitted to the hospital. We took him there, his tests were done which were nearly okay, and doctors had said that he is going to recover. Later that night, I was back at home and my mom called me saying that father has been on the ventilator as his health is serious. I called my friends and tried to arrange a contact in some private hospital and I found one. We took him there in an ambulance. Sitting in the ambulance, I was feeling like I was losing my father and being the eldest in the family, I felt like I should do something.

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I was thinking of the responsibilities that I have on me, how my mother who is a housewife and younger brother who is still a student, would now have no one besides me. While I was lost in these thoughts, we reached the hospital and the doctors rushed to take him to ICU and put him on ventilator. Once he was on the ventilator, I came back to have some tea as it was around midnight.

The moment I took my first sip, I saw my brother rushing towards me and crying, saying that my father is no more. I dropped my cup of tea and sank in the chair, hoping that this turns out to be the worst nightmare one could possibly get.

My mom, my paternal relatives, everyone was crying, and I was consoling them. I was not crying, I was there as if I was a rock who lost his feelings and was consoling everyone like an elder person. We brought my father back home through the ambulance, and rituals for his final journey had started. We waited for some relatives to arrive until the next day which was Friday. I went to the graveyard to arrange the burial.

After Friday prayer, we took him to the graveyard and one of my elder paternal cousins said to me, you must get inside grave to help the place the body in it. So I stepped inside the grave, and it was the most horrible feeling as I was standing around six feet below the earth, placing my own father to bury him deep inside mud for the rest of eternity. Huh! My hands were shivering but I had to do it and so I somehow did it.
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Then I came back home and sat near my mother. I told her not to worry, I won't let any kind of tension related to money reach our home. That day was 20th May. As we know of life, sometimes we cry and then get back to work with our heavy hearts because we have to run our households and provide for ourselves and our families. I went back to complete my masters, and took along thoughts of my father and his sacrifices. But this is not the end of it. When October came, my mother got diagnosed with breast cancer. When I got this call, I said to myself, “What is this? Why am I meant to see all this pain in such a less span of time?” I started worrying about treatment costs and the horrendous thought of being a complete orphan started to consume me. I could not work or study in peace.

My friends tried to console me, saying that God does everything for our greater good. I asked them to show me what good they see in this. How is losing one’s parents any good?

I had no idea where my life was headed and what would happen next. We had to travel for my mother’s treatment and I gave up one semester to go home and manage her chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. It was the 2nd of December 2010 by then. With our hopeful prayers, we started the treatment and this was the time when I learnt to cook as doctors recommended to give her homecooked, hygienic and clean food. Rather than hiring a cook, I started to cook for her as my mother was an early riser. I would wake up at 5 am to give her tea with snacks and medicines. I would never wake up before 10 am on a regular day and I never thought of learning how to cook but now I was a changed man. I have always been somewhat shy. I would never even ask for something twice. But I was now a transformed man who would interrogate doctors repeatedly. I would visit the hospital daily to consult with the doctors. Even the doctors would ask me to be patient as the medicines take time to show effect. I would return home, cook lunch for her and serve her on the bed. As time passed by with the chemo, February 2011 arrived, and I took her to Delhi for the surgery. It was a reputed cancer hospital in Delhi where the surgery was to take place by a well-known specialist. The admins there asked me to sign something and I thought it may be a formality, but I still read it before signing. It was an undertaking document stating that if anything happened to my mother, the hospital is not at fault. Huh!

This felt like the time I had to get inside the grave to lay my father to rest. It felt like I am writing my mother’s death with my own hands.

By the grace of God, the surgery was successful, and my mother came out well. I took her back home and left for Delhi to give my final exams in March. After the exams were over, I rushed back home as mother’s chemo had started again for the second phase. I took her to the same hospital in Delhi, for her radiotherapy. Everything went smoothly and the doctors gave us the good news that she is finally cured. Just another round of hormonal medicines was prescribed and that was it for her cancer.

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This seemed like the best time of my life as my mother was saved. To stay near her, I started working in an institute in my hometown itself. I wanted to go for my PhD after my masters, but money was the need of the hour.

By the end of 2012, I was taking interviews, this was a part-time job that I used to do for a couple of offices. There I met a girl, she seemed nice and with all my dilemmas, I started to lean on her for support. She is a physiotherapist. During this time, my family was rejoicing in light of mother’s new-found good health. But little did we know then, that all was not well yet. In October 2012, her cancer was back. Through metastasis, it had gone to her neck this time. We were back to square one and had to start treatments all over again.

My paternal family had left our side by then and they cut off all communication with us. They never bothered to check up on us, whether we were dead or alive did not matter to them. I had to stand like a rock by my mother’s and brother’s side.

The girl would visit me and help me. She would console me and help me deal with my emotions, throughout the second round of treatment. When I would get stressed, I would only talk to her about it and she was a good support. The treatment went on for more than a year, until November 2013 and then her cancer went to her brain. It was the final days with my other, and history was repeating itself in a span of three years. My mother left our side on 2nd December 2013.

Now I was left all alone in this big world.

I had no one to call my own. I had to take care of my brother now. I did not know where to start again from, but somehow the both of us managed to live. One month after my mother’s death, my maternal relatives also started to let go of us one by one. Today, no one asks about our wellbeing.

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I am now a more matured man, as I had to be the man of the house at a mere age of 24. I have never enjoyed life in my youth, weekends were never something to look forward to for me. It was all about running my house and the money I need to do that.

This is why I had taken up teaching, although the money was less, something was better than nothing. I am now about thirty years old and still teaching. I got my brother to pursue MBA and I still do not know when I transformed from a fun loving person to a silent old soul. I now believe that relationships come and go but it is only your internal resilience and strength, that keeps you rooted and alive. There is no one to care for you in this world, except your parents, but the truth is that everyone will one day leave you when they die.

Author's Note:

All I want to say is that, love your parents because you never know when they leave your side. I do not have anything more to say as I am living alone with just my brother by my side, and some old male friends who stood by me through thick and thin. I still have hope. I hope that I get something worth holding on to in future, someone worth my while.

Editor's Note:

Death is indeed one of the biggest teachers in life. Share this story if you empathize.