MNC employee Kamlesh Tripathi was left grappling with grief when his younger son, Shravan succumbed to cancer after a 14-year battle. He then decided to pen down his struggle to cope with the trauma of losing a child, in a book to help other parents who may be heading down a similar road. Gloom Behind The Smile is his story.
“There are several logistical obstacles - lack of personal finance to fund treatment, absence of government help and no medical model for financial assistance. Then there are the emotional obstacles. Sometimes people just don’t accept that after all the treatments, they can still lose their child. At other times, the medical fraternity is to blame, as they give one false hope even though they know that the end is the same,” says Tripathi, 52. His son went through seven surgeries and had to go for MRI scans every 3-6 months. But Tripathi was better off than others in this regard, several corporates stepped forward to help his son from the time the cancer was detected.
On the other hand, one also needs to put up a brave front for one’s family and continue day-to-day life. Tripathi found it difficult to concentrate on work. He stopped watching movies and started driving slowly. He also started watching TV for long hours. He says, “It isn’t easy to go to work and handle a child who is coping with something like this, but you need to do so. It is important that you don’t buckle down.”
Tripathi also ended up spoiling relations with his wife. “We lived in different worlds and these circumstances drove us apart. We spoilt our relationship. On the day we lost our son, we were just still and silent and had nothing to talk to each other.” But then we managed to move on and are in a better place today.”
But there were several questions still left unanswered especially those dealing with the child, and in this case, the patient. “We don’t under what it is for them to deal with this. It is so complicated or them to understand what they are going through and why. They too go through depression and understand death. So are they prepared to deal with it?”
But Tripathi has learned a few lessons and says there is still hope. “Don’t think you are fighting this alone. We had help from several quarters including corporates and the medical fraternity. Several unknown people helped us cope with our loss. But the most important thing a parent can do, is get a medical insurance the moment you have a child.”