It is around this time last year I received a call from ICU of hospital, asking me to reach there immediately. I had come back home barely an hour earlier having spent all day in the waiting area outside the ward. Basically going through motions, answering queries of relatives, friends and well-wishers. Holding on to the slimmest of hopes we could find from doctor’s updates. Six months and this was the first time I got a call from hospital, deep down I knew this is not good. I was worried I could not figure out who the caller was as he was not willing to divulge much, when you have a patient in hospital for 6 months; you manage to get to know most staff working there.
As luck would have it, I did not have a car at home. I called my sister who had just left my home little while ago to turn back and take me to hospital. She promptly did and within 15 minutes I was there. When I entered the ward, it surely was a new doctor as I was not familiar with him. He confirmed my name and as he just started talking I naturally turned to look at Baba’s bed and my heart sank looking at monitor. It showed straight lines instead of the ones I was used to seeing. This was just like movies. I noticed a nurse unplugging the equipment and then it occurred to me that it has happened, minutes before we reached there. My sister was talking to the nurse, reconfirming it while sobbing; I couldn’t hear what they were saying as all the sounds seem to come from far away. All I could hear was silence and all I could see was that visual from the monitor. I couldn’t gather myself to look at him, and I left the ward.
I felt numb. I tried to gather myself and thought of the stuff I had to do. I had to make a call to my cousin who about to board a plane, he had to be informed. I called him and he picked up and all I could manage to say was ‘ada’. I felt lost for words, how could I find adequate words for what just happened. I gathered all the strength to say it but could go past the word ‘ada’ again and broke down. Eventually he understood my speechlessness and said he is coming back. I then called up my elder brother to inform him and finally said it, “ada, baba has left us”. Whatever happened afterwards is of little consequence. I had to make many more similar calls, with every call it started becoming more believable, words became easier to come.
It has been a year. I have learned to move on in life. I have learned to leave the regrets behind. But one regret which I am carrying, and will stay with me forever, is that I was not there in his last minutes. I don’t know, but what if he had opened his eyes to look out for someone of his own or to look out for me? I was not there when it mattered despite being there for last 6 months of his life. I was not there when it mattered most.