He was a spry old gentleman. Even at the ripe old age of 89, he was healthy and spritely. He loved life and life in turn held him with velvet gloves. He had not known a day of illness in life and hoped he would depart with a song on his lips and a spring to his step. But life and destiny turned traitor.
One day he woke up with an unsteady gait. The diagnosis was kidney failure. The doctors decreed dialysis three times a week. What an unnatural way to live, he thought and decided he’d rather die than live such a life. After all, he had lived a full life.
His sons were well settled. A civil servant, a corporate honcho, a doctor and a financial consultant –his heart swelled with pride. Oh yes, he had done well for his sons. The cherry on the cake was that they loved him dearly. Life had blessed him indeed. But this was the end of the road for him.
For once, his sons, refused to listen to him. They loved him and did not want to lose him. He gave in to their loving persuasion and agreed to the dialysis. He hated it but bore it patiently knowing something would surely give way under this unnatural ministration. That day came soon enough. One morning he felt the world flipping on its axis.
Even as darkness enveloped him, he hoped it was the end. But his loving sons rushed him to the hospital. The doctors diagnosed a blood clot in his brain and advised immediate surgery. He did not want a surgery.
‘Let me go’, he beseeched. But his sons were adamant. How could they let their beloved father go without a struggle? The silken skeins of love wrapped around him binding him. He gave in. Even as they wheeled him into the theatre, he bid a silent goodbye to his beloved family.
The family waited outside praying for a miracle, but alas their father did not regain consciousness after the surgery. The life support system kept him alive, but comatose. They played the ‘gayatri mantra’ he so loved, they talked to him and held his hand hoping their love would bring him back to their world. Nothing seemed to work. He was lost to them.
Then came the day of reckoning. The hospital’s ethic committee wanted to know if they should continue with the life support or let nature take its course. The family was in a quandary. The soul-searching was endless. Should they let their precious father go or hold on?
The man who had lived his life with energy and aplomb was gone. An empty shell remained in his stead. With heart-wrenching sadness they realised he would have wanted this release.
Painfully they bid farewell to the patriarch who had given them their identity in life. The life support was removed. Their father was no more.
Even in death he had taught them an important lesson of life — love is not about holding on, but letting go.