A Tale Of Love And Loss

June 7, 2014 at 9:15 AMJun (Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

My grandmother passed away at 3 a.m. today [7th June 2014]

Death is cold. When you come in close contact with it, it leaves you numb. In that numbness, caused by death, memories come to life and in that pool of vacuum created by death thoughts beat it arms and legs trying to keep itself afloat. We try to make sense of death, make sense of life, at the face of death.

Two years ago when I was struggling to come to terms with my grandfather’s death a new realization started dawning. Between his death and the death of my grandmother today there was a narrative of love, loss, loneliness and companionship which unfolded before my mind’s eye.

Four years ago [July 2010] Susheela H.L. Acharya, my grandmother, had survived a major heart attack. She had got an attack while she was in the ICU. That night the doctor had suggested that she may not survive. We were asked to, by the doctor, to inform all relatives that they can come and meet her once and to see her alive for one last time. We were preparing ourselves mentally. I was fighting my own guilt while preparing myself to see my grandmother lose in her battle against death.

But she survived.

In a few weeks’ time she was quite fine and back to normal. Obviously some health issues were there but she was quite fine. It was such a pleasant surprise for us and a “miracle” for a doctor friend who on that night had hinted to me that the case is almost closed.

But she survived.

She survived and actively participated in my sister’s wedding, my cousin’s brahmopadesham. And when my grandfather’s health started to collapse [Dec 2011] she stood strong and by him trying to fill strength in him, trying to contain the desire for life in him which was dripping out.

But when my grandfather passed away- 30 Mar 2012- her health collapsed drastically. She became weak as days and nights turned the wheels of time. All the recoveries she had made after that fatal night of 2010 fell flat when it hit against the death of my grandfather. Health complications rose, one complication leading to another. And she never recovered.

When my grandfather passed away I was not around. When I returned, after a few days, I went to Byndoor. As I went into her room, where she was lying down on the bed, she saw me and on seeing me held my hand. I could sense fatigue in that touch. Holding my hand she said, “Grandfather passed away.” It was not an information that she was giving to her grandson who was out of town at the time of grandfather’s death. It was not just crying out in grief. It was a preoccupation, a preoccupation which breathed with her till this morning.

My grandparents were married for around six decades. Together they had seen and nurtured five children, twelve grandchildren, and three great grand children. Together they had shared the pains of the troubles caused by some close and distant relatives. Together they had fought poverty. Together they made two ends meet. Together they lived through all ups and downs.

When that togetherness was snatched away by death, an immortal loneliness, made home inside her. Emptiness held her hand when my grandfather freed his hand from hers. Children, grandchildren and great grand children all were there for her but with her and inside her there was some vacuum which all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren put together couldn’t fill. A vacuum created by the death of my grandfather.

Once during my visit to Byndoor in 2013 Jan, I saw her skin getting worn out. Ants were around her bed. How death walks in slowly, I saw through my eyes. Decay is a slow process which isn’t visible. It is an experience. That day she had stretched her hand and tossed it slowly to show the skin getting worn out. “Possibly its some medicine reaction,” I told and very innocently she had asked, “Why don’t medicines act but only react?”

That question puzzled me as much as the sudden collapse of her health, even while surviving two major heart attacks, following my grandfather’s death did.

My grandfather in his last days once had told me, “Old age itself is a disease.” But at his death my grandmother was proving that her husband was not entirely right. There was more to it.

What is the relation between health/ well-being and love? What is the relation between health/ well-being and togetherness? What is the relation between health/ well-being and companionship? What is the relation between ill-health and loss of love? What is the relation between ill-health and loneliness? – I wondered. I wondered and asked myself- “ Is love the only cure? Is lover the only healer? Is resurrection possible only because of love?” and at times, in a rational state of mind, rephrased it as, “What is the role of love and companionship in healing recovery and well-being? What loneliness and loss of love does to our well-being our lives?”

As I kept wondering all of this and played with those questions, in the last two years, death and life wrestled against each other making my grandmother’s body the wrestling ring.

Finally today the wrestling match is over. An empty wrestling ring remains.

From the empty wrestling ring those questions stare at me again, today, and smile.

My grandmother breathed her last breathe in the same hospital where my grandfather had taken his last breath, like in some fairy tale. In the final tale narrated, through living and dying, by my grandmother, after all the fairy tales she once narrated years ago, I guess I have my answer.

While my grandfather narrated to me the tale of labor, my grandmother narrated to me the tale of love.

Rest in peace, Grandma!


  1. sordidday said,

    Reblogged this on sordidday.

  2. Aditya Nayak said,

    Really sorry for your loss sir.

    I have always felt that Life is some kind of sport…..a see-saw ride in your childhood, where you just sit and watch it go up or down.
    Then a rat race In adulthood, running around each day in life trying to make ends meet.
    And finally fighting wrestling match of your Life….!!!!

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