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When Death Comes
A Vulnerable Rant
It has been a while since I showed up here, and I think you deserve to know why. I have been traversing through all the levels of Dante’s Inferno for the past few months, in fact for a whole year now. I share an intently close connection with my parents, and it may suffice to say that they mean the world to me. I love them beyond words, as I guess many of you lovely readers must feel for your parents too. Things have not been well with them since the pandemic started, they have been constantly sick both physically and mentally. They felt separated from the reality of their children, whom they raised for years while sacrificing a lot of their dreams. My sister and I try our best to hold space for their healing and rejuvenation, but somehow things have only been turning for the worse.
My mother met an accident that broke her wrist back in April and has been going through immense pain. On further examination, the doctor confirmed that she has a broken and displaced wrist bone which needed immediate plate placement surgery. Her healing was slow but steady and she showed eventual signs of improvement over the last few weeks. But as she was getting better, my father who suffered a vocal cord palsy in January due to undiagnosed reasons, contracted an extremely intense cough which was not getting better with time. On first examination, the doctors suspected lung cancer since he has been a smoker all his life. After running several tests and scans, his condition looks like the late stage of this terminal illness. We are ready to go through the entire process of treatment, but it is needless to say that a late-stage terminal illness like cancer has little to no hope of recovery.
I have tried to sit down and write several times about several things amid this hellhole of a life that I am living right now, but words did not come through as easily as they must. This is probably because I am going through a lot right now, and my mind needs time to process all the fresh trauma. Although Berkana is my safe place to vent and create, I find it inexplicably challenging to render myself vulnerable at this point. I am learning to let fear of loss translate into grief and grief translate into creative fuel. However, the exhaustion has set deep in, and I think I am not yet ready to comprehend how I will rise above all of these circumstances. I am sharing this information to remind myself of Berkana’s importance as a part of my identity and you, dear reader, a part of my messy yet extraordinary trials. It has been the toughest past couple of months for me in my entire adult life, and I am not exaggerating. I must rise one day beyond my circumstances, but right now I am at the deep end of fear, denial, and bottomless sorrow. I have loved my father indefinitely beyond all reasons, and confronting the fact that I am to lose him sooner or later is the toughest challenge of my life so far. So allow me time to go through this inferno and come out on the other side, a phoenix reborn from her ashes.
There are so many layers to this reality that it may take me some time before I can come back here with skimmed wisdom churned from the depths of my experiences. But until then I want to thank you for your faith, support, and indispensable presence at Berkana that gave my work so much more meaning than I ever imagined. I want to tell you that if you decide to wait here despite the irregular intervals of my monthly releases, I am deeply grateful for your readership. And if you choose to leave because this is not becoming the space you hoped it would be, I want to thank you for giving me a chance. Even if for a brief encounter, you gave my work your most precious gift - attention, I am grateful. For a creator, attention to their work translates into the purest form of love. At the end of it all, if love reigned in places where fear of abandonment lived, I must have already won the war.
Mary Oliver has helped me through some of the darkest pits of life, and here is one of her poems for you before I leave.
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death come
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world
So long dear readers!