Past Tense

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren song of paradise and the dread of hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad. confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more"

 Christopher Hitchens

This week's theme has been for the most part - Death. I know it's not the most pleasant of reading material, but hey, this is about life and its many mysteries and death is certainly on top alongside its adversary. I've seen three deaths in the home I grew up in - my grandmother, my grandfather and my uncle - and in the span of 3 odd years. It was tough as you can imagine, my brother and I were in our teens at that time. It was hard losing our grandparents who helped raise us and whom we spent so much of our time with. I remember the house after each death ceremony, how empty it felt, how strange it was for us to talk about the departed in the 'past tense'.

This week however, life put me across two people - one whom I hardly know but read about her and her life through Instagram; and the other - family. The former lost her husband one tragic morning without even a chance to say goodbye. He just lost his breath to the first night of this year. I felt a terrible pain as I read and cried through most of her posts dedicated to her late husband. How beautifully she wrote about him and the times they spent together, the many many pictures she took of him, his voice recordings, videos of him dancing, pictures from their was all so overwhelming to me. How could he die so early and so suddenly? He had an 'undiagnoised heart condition' is what I read on the Instagram post. I spent a lot of time thinking of what to write to her, I battled with myself a few times before I decided to send her a message. I went back to how I felt post my surgery - sitting in the ICU, wondering why many of my friends and family didn't send a message of positivity, love, compassion - something. Remembering how happy I felt when I did get some of those messages. That's what triggered me to reach out to her. And i'm glad I did. Although I'm sure she would have received a lot of love pouring in from many parts of the world, knowing that I played a tiny part in making her feel loved makes it all worth it. I told her, her husband will live on with every new person who reads about him in her posts, and that way - "he will always be only 30 years old".

The latter is a family member who has lived a life of hard work, sincerity and humility. Always standing tall but quiet in his mannerisms and approach, the one with the widest smile. We never had more than a few conversations, I was always looked up to him, one because of his height and two because he reminded me of my father. He was a man of few words. I think his daughter more than makes up for this. His one and only daughter, my soul sister, shares his sensibilities, ethics, his discipline and hard work. The past two years have been extremely tough on the family. Parkinson's disease. The two years went by in a swish, and the past week had him admitted in the ICU with a tracheostomy and an opening in his stomach to feed. Devastating as it is, he is still with us. Breathing, not living. I don't know how much longer he has, but as my sister said 'this is bonus time and we've got to spend it keeping him happy'. Although his responses are little to nothing, least gives us time to see him and give him a proper goodbye. Hold his hand, touch his head, say thanks - It lets us prepare for his and our journey ahead.

So there, one case unsuspecting of anything bad, no preparation of what was to come a day after new years; and the other hanging on by a thread, giving just enough time for one last goodbye. As you can imagine, my emotions have got the better of me, and again, life reiterates that it is indeed short.