By Veena, Sep 17th
I have never quite understood fear of death. Even if we believe in afterlife and rebirth etc, it’s not as if we recall either In this life. So what is there to fear…you are dead anyway! The countdown stars when you are born. Maybe it is the fear of the unknown. My approach to everything has been the same: if it is in your control, there is no reason fear as you have the power to change/fix or make it more bearable. If it is beyond your control, fear makes no sense and whatever happens is inevitable. So what’s the point of fear?
Now fear of suffering is more understandable as is the fear of a loved one dying. If you are not the done dying but the done left behind, how do you even begin to cope? Suffering though, need not just be related to death or immediately preceding it. Nor does it have to be physical only. If it is destined, how do you handle it. Stoic acceptance? Not always the best approach given you stop living and merely exist. Active change to whatever extent is possible, delineate or compartmentalise, bury yourself in whatever gives you a semblance of peace, remove yourself from the equation. All doable, as long as the suffering is not physical.
I have been lucky in life so far in that I have never lost someone who will leave a vacuum in my life. The pillars of unseen support in all my trials and tribulations have been my parents. And they are old and getting older by the day. Inspirational people: my mother is a cancer survivor, my dad has had multiple heart attacks. Never a single complaint and they live life to the fullest every day. Unlike the Shakshi Gopal story, I never had to turn back to confirm that they had my back, that they would be there to support me, whatever happens, even if it am wrong, just because I am their daughter. When my friend asked me to write about death and the effect it has on people left behind, is told him I have never thought about it. And I haven’t. I give thanks for every day and every minute in have my parents and can’t even begin to imagine a life with neither of them in it.
But the lessons learnt inadvertently from my parents, just from the way they live their lives, will stand me in good stead. Life goes on. We live, eat, laugh, love, cry and we will continue to do so, one minute and one day at a time. The trick is to always look at the positives, the legacy of love and laughter, the legacy of eternal optimism in the face of any kind of adversity, the legacy of always looking forward and the legacy of caring for those left behind.