Today, the 16th of October, 2017, is just another day in another year. But not for me and million others, who are experiencing birth, death, weddings, funerals, engagements, etc etc etc.. Me, I am facing death for the first time ever, firsthand.
My grandfather died, earlier today. At exactly 5.30, Indian Standard Time, he breathed his last breath on Earth, and closed his eyes for the last time. That time, I was laughing with my friends and talking with my mother, about how my grandmother had been caring for him last night. Her 86 year old self had kept checking on him every two hours, even at night and she had sat next to him, embracing him, calling out to him and crying by his side. A mere 12 hours or so later, he left us.
I’m physically a million miles away right now. But my mind is in that room he’s laid in. With all the other relatives gathered there. We knew for days this was going to happen. He’d lived to the ripe age of 97, he’d seen his great-grandkids, he’d lived a full life. Everyone has come to terms with his passing. I’m still grappling with it.
His eyes have been donated. I like to think he’s helping someone else, even in death. He’s helping them see. He’s living on in them. He’s living on in us too. In his 9 grandkids and 3 great grandkids. In our genes.
I don’t know how I’ll see that room empty of him now. The room I’ve come to associate with him. The house I’ve always associated with my grandparents.
I can see, in my minds’ eye, my grandmother crying and rambling to him, my aunt trying to restrain her, my uncle making all the funeral arrangements….I can’t go there, to the funeral. I don’t want to see him so. I want to remember him as he was years ago, strong, wilful and independent. I want to remember him at his desk, writing away. I want to remember him striding about in the evenings exactly at 5. I want to remember his delight at eating bananas everyday. I want to remember his laugh.
I want to remember his last words – Be well. And I want to live it.