Reality check

Every now and then, I’m bothered by those heart-rending moments and wonder if they were real. I try not to recall those memories but my efforts are futile. When will the reality sink in? When will I realise that my grandfather won’t be back again?

I still remember the clear moonless night. I was walking on the terrace, staring at the stars, as I always did. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of my grandfather’s sufferings. His blood cancer had worsened. My fears of the ultimate truth were suppressed by my faith in some divine power. I was, but eight years old, and could only pray for my grandfather.

A chill went up my spine when I heard my grandfather shriek and I felt my heart sink. I rushed to his bedside and realised that I was witnessing his last breath. I saw him suffer all the while. I remember his feeble body grabbing onto a pillow every time he had to cough. During those times, he looked at me as though my presence there was enough to take away his pain. But I knew I wasn’t being of much help. I was incapable of blowing away his misery. My caring eyes could give him some comfort but not the healing we were all seeking.

That night, as tears filled my eyes seeing the man I’d loved so much, dying, I called upon all the Gods I knew, to save him. He was desperately trying to say something to me but all that could be heard was a hum.

Why wasn’t anyone doing anything? I saw no one move an inch to stop what was happening. They must have given up on him. Although I knew how futile their efforts might have been, it still puzzled me. I knew it was going to take a miracle to save him.

And, that miracle was not coming. The same time that he closed his eyes for the last time, my faith in divine powers died. The man who had meant so much to me would be there for me no more.

This was a bitter experience. I can’t forget his suffering. His death still sends shivers up my spine.

But that experience was a valuable lesson learnt about the reality of life. It has led me to believe that though all things must end, it is always wise to try to improve and make it better as long as it lasts.

Without denying the horror derived from the experience, a real essence of love for humanity has grown in me. The darker side of the ecstasy is omnipresent but I’ve developed in me the ability to combat those fears and do my best for one more day, everyday.

— Azita Singh, Class X, St Mary’s High School