Then He Let It All Go
There is no bigger mystery than Life and death. One such was the death of my father, a very strong man, who lived life on his own terms and had always to be convinced well to change his viewpoints. We lost him to cancer in 2005 with many questions unanswered that he left behind when he finally let it all go.
The worst thing in life is to see a person known for his physical and mental strength, weak and dying. That was my father, terminally ill and on his death bed. Every one known to him saw his physical weakness but none could imagine his never dying spirit. Most of the time he used to be under the influence of sedatives but the moment he woke up, he would vomit blood yet tell us, “Don’t worry. I will be fine. I will not go”.[the_ad id=”6742″]
What was holding him?
The atmosphere in his room was very stressful. Everyone was praying for him to leave his body, rather suffer in irrecoverable health conditions. Being Hindus, we were chanting all the mantras and chants, appropriate for the occasion. I and my sister used to sit next to him during nights to help him change sides so that he could get relief from bed sores’ pain.
Few days before his last breath, daddy started talking to his dead parents and aunt after midnight.
“I am very tired, Papaji. I can’t come to you. There is so much of the work to finish.”
“No, Amma, I have told you, I can’t climb all those stairs. I have become very weak. Those are too many stairs. I will come after a few days.”
“Tidah, (his nick name for his favorite Mitra aunty) why are you calling me. I told you, I am not going to come to you all.”
Seeing his unbearable pain we wondered, why wasn’t he leaving! Was he not able to disconnect with his family thus not ready to leave this mortal body! Was he finding himself emotionally too weak and tired to die or just gaining time and courage to move on!
When life sounded scarier than death…
Here were we, the daughters of a strong man scared of our own father. Were we afraid because he was not sounding like the man we had known all life or just pained to see his suffering! Was he looking for emotional healing before his last breath? There were unanswered questions and the one who could answer them was hanging between life and death.
We decided to convince our father to let go of us all. Our mother and we the sisters knew what he was worried about so decided to convince him that he need not worry. All that mattered to us was, relief from pain. Yes, we talked it out with our father’s subconscious mind for two consecutive nights.
On the third day, he again began mumbling but what we heard was…
“Amma, I am coming to you.”
“Papaji, come down a few stairs, hold my hand. I want to come to you both.”
Then he slept off. Once awake, he wished to be brought down on the floor (according to the Indian ritual). He mumbled, “Go, collect wood for my pyre. Help me get on the floor.”
Death awakens the souls
The same evening, my father breathed his last. I was outside when my mother called me, “Leave everything come inside. Daddy is gone.”
My aunt came to me crying, “He is gone.”
“No, he can’t die before meeting me.” Strangely, I didn’t cry. I knew, he would go only after he touches me. I went inside. The doctor had already declared him dead. Sitting next to him, I touched his hand which was cold and on his chest. “Daddy, how could you leave without meeting me?” was all I could say closing his eyes. I saw his nostril twitch and a warm whiff of air touched my hand.
That was the end of my physical connect with my father. The spiritual connection is still there …. No one can ever take that away from me.
The unanswered questions…
It still bothers me when I think about my father who never believed in ‘religious rituals’. He was a non-conformist who had always laughed at the ‘Indian mythological stories’ related to death and the stairs leading to the doors of heaven.
- How come he was seeing and talking about the stairs before dying?
- In his last moments did he become a conformist and actually see those stairs to heaven?
- Did he really see his dead parents and aunt before dying?
Some questions should better be left unanswered. They are just like my father,”not answerable to anyone.”