A million thoughts began to assault their minds simultaneously - would they really never see him again? Who would handle this from now on? What happened? What if? What could have happened? If only? What would be the next step? Where would he go after this? The torrent of questions and memories began to fill the minds, mingling with the pain of dealing with death.
Spin, seemed the room; spools of thoughts let loose,
Surreal was the scene painted on the mind;
Senses melted into numbness as truth sank in,
Seizing the listeners by the throats;
Could not breath, could not access control,
Contorting in waves of heart-wrecking pain;
Crying out to the departed, the Deities,
Conferring to trade all that one could.
I have been wanting and trying to pen this down for at least two years, but never got it right. There had been drafts that took form and were discarded because they were either too morbid or too academic. But I believe now is about time, and I like this draft enough to keep it, and share it.
So, the news were delivered and fair share of crying had been done at the hospital's ward and mortuary. We went through the motion of handling the necessary - engaging people for the painful ceremony, accepting the consolation offered by kind supporters, and then settling all the administrative matters that were required.
Then it was a patch of coldness, for a long, long time. The days and night were never warm enough, even when I was outdoors. It was plain cold at home, in office, at malls, hotels and just about everywhere else I was at. But the coldness was bearable, because I knew it was psychological; and I could wear layers, drink alcohol and hot soups to attempt attaining warmth.
The hardest part was learning to deal with the loss. It had been very sudden, so there had been lots of "what ifs" questions - what if we had detected the symptoms, what if we had done this and that for him, what if..... All these resulted in self blame - next in line in the cycle of dealing with pain, after denial.
We had to learn to accept that he would never be standing at the window in the mornings when we woke, he would never be heating up the soup for us when we came home late, never be around to even argue with us on the most trivial matters anymore. I wrote to him, and sometimes dreamed of him, but nothing would erase the agony that gripped my own heart so tightly. It took a while, but keeping busy and having very supportive kin and friends helped alot.
Anyway, that was the past. We still miss him, but life has to go on. He would not have wanted it any other way for us. If there was a lesson to learn from this, it would be to cherish.
So, that was the second case of Heart Attack I had witnessed, stealthly stealing away a life so precious to us. The first had been a friend who was in his late 40s, a jovial and sweet guy who owned a pottery business, and was single-handedly bringing up his young daughter.
Recently, I learned of the third case - an ex-colleague cum friend whose final farewell was startlingly sudden as well -just the day before he had been leaving Facebook comments on a mutual friend's page.
Death is so mysterious, sometimes frightening, but never easy to accept. Ironically, those who have passed on probably feel nothing once they leave earth since they now have new realms to explore, but it is often the living ones they'd left behind who hurt the most. The living ones mourn for their own loss; feel saddened that they would no longer see those who have deceased; probably feel pained for the unattained goals on behalf of the dead.
It is most painful when it comes suddenly - including accidents, other illnesses etc - you aren't even prepared to deal with this loss. One moment they were here making you happy or mad, and then the next moment they vanished into thin air. One moment they were moving about or telling you what they planned to do tomorrow, and then the next moment they were nothing but an urn of ashes. It would have been far less painful if we could see all the degenerating processes so that we could do more for them, or have more time to prepare for the worst.
Hence, Life is fragile and our bodies are lent to us temporarily to do what we can to contribute back to Earth / society. Death is eternal unless proven otherwise, but the moment this book closes, that is the end of the chapter till perhaps a new book is opened. Live live to the fullest, waste no time in attaining what one yearns to, and most importantly, treasure those whom we have been blessed with in our lives.
The tale, "Gently Into the Night" was also partially inspired by these departures; there is nothing like melancholy that stirs a poet's / writer's soul...
With that, I leave you with some tips:
Remember to go for regular healthchecks, keep a healthy lifestyle (eating, sleeping and working habits to be balanced) and of course, manage stress / anger better so that our health won't be worsened by our own extreme emotions.
Every leaf, every rustle, every shadow in the night,
Ears sharpened, eyes brightened;
Embracing hopes that overrode the truth,
Ending in slumbers with wet-cornered eyes.
Time took on the form of healer,
Tranquilizing the soul with every fading dawn;
The tutelage of its age-old widsom -
Treasure all the blessings in life.
copyright © thearcticstar 2015. All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be republished without the author's consent.