What The Global Pandemic Taught Me

I saw him dying right in front of me.

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I was lucky enough not to have experienced someone very dear to me pass away in my childhood. I never understood the concept of death. It was so very bizarre yet usual at the same time. Whenever I heard the news of someone’s demise, I would think, ‘so what? Now that person is missing. That’s it.’ I wouldn’t consider it to be tragic.

Ever since I was a little girl, I had developed the mindset that everyone has to die someday, and life goes on. Maybe because I know that my father was very young when my grandmother passed away. And after few years, my grandfather also passed away. And then his life didn’t stop there. He continued to grow, got married, living a happy life. And to my surprise, he has not spoken of missing his mother, my grandmother. Now and then, he does talk about the delicious food his mother used to cook for him, but that’s it. Or that’s what I have witnessed in all these years.

Recently, I was watching the movie “Fatherhood.” In that movie, the guy loses his wife right after they have a baby together. And the scene is completely heart-wrenching. I was sobbing. Even though it’s just a movie, it made me think about the people I genuinely love. And how they might leave me someday. Or I might leave them. Who knows?

In August 2020, my aunt passed away. Her demise was a sudden one. I spoke to her on Sunday, and the following Thursday, she passed away. Indeed, you don’t know the value or the importance of a person until they’re gone. And now, when she’s gone, I actually miss her a lot. Every time we have a family gathering now, I know she won’t be there. I have seen my uncle, her husband, cry over her still. He misses her a lot. And every time I see my uncle, it reminds me of how my aunt worked hard for her family to live the life they’re living now. She is a strong lady. Is; not was! She is still here with us. Because everything my aunt did, is still living.

Then came December 5th, I witnessed someone on their deathbed. He was not my father, but father-like. Someone I was very fond of. He was in the hospital for one month and 18 days, to be exact. He was deteriorating every single day. But I don’t know why; I had the strongest gut feeling that he would recover. I was hearing news of people who died because of covid, but I also knew people personally who had recovered from the virus.

We had tried everything. Every possible way to save him, make him stay longer. When he was initially admitted to the hospital, I was hoping and praying hard that this won’t be the last time I saw him. I wanted to see him in the hospital, but I wasn’t allowed due to covid. One day before he died, he was on the vent, but he could talk through actions. Still, there was hope!

On the last day, I got to go to the hospital. I was there, but he was not. He was unconscious. Only surviving, not living, on the support of the ventilator. That’s when it struck me, even though I have all the world’s strength, I cannot do anything. He is actually gone. I miss him every single day. I wanted to talk to him once more. Even though I’m not his daughter, he would treat me no less.

As days go by, and as I grow older, I am learning the importance of the people around me. Maybe, I have learned it the hard way. Losing people taught me how to love unconditionally. It often wrecks my brain when I imagine my life without my people. I just cannot. It is so difficult. But everything’s got to end someday. Relationships, conversations, life. Memories stay. You can’t wipe them out.

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