Thursday, May 13, 2010
“What does the doctor say?” my wife asked.
I couldn’t answer her. My heart was heavy with boundless sorrow.
But my twelve years old son Arun said calmly, “Doctor says I probably have six months to live”. Saying this he went away unable to see our tears. That night we wept endlessly….
Our world shattered into bits. Arun was our only son. He was very bright, loving and intelligent. He was everything any parents could pray for. We were the happiest family in the world. Then our son became sick. He had Leukemia. It was in his bloodstream and eventually it went into his bone marrow. The disease was in the last stage.
Next morning he came to me. “Dad, can you do me a favour?”
“Anything son…. Anything on this earth” I couldn’t hold back my tears.
“I want you and mom stop crying and let my remaining time here a happy one” His eyes, glued to mine, were pleading.
Hearing the words we cried more for sometime. But finally his message made sense to us. Even though it would be the hardest task for us we determined to do that. Wiping her tears my wife asked, “Tell my child, what will make you happy?”
“Be with me. Let us talk. Let us play cards. Let us go to some beautiful place…..”
We did as he requested. We stayed with him till he was exhausted with sleep. We talked to him like we never talked previously. He told about his school friends, teachers, what he thought about the world…. No one could describe the love that we shared that night. We became one, united in the true meaning of love.
Days passed with great speed. We played cards, carom board and watched TV together….
One day he looked at his precious playthings thoughtfully. “Dad, why do people go on accumulating things, money, properties when they very well know that they can’t take them to the other world?”
I had no answer. Death can be a great tutor, but not to all.
We went to Ooty and stayed there a few days. The days were really memorable forever to remain printed in our hearts. We treasured each living moment with our son.
In Ooty a beggar boy of about six years old came to us asked for money. The boy looked very innocent. Arun looked at him kindly. We asked the boy about his parents. He said that he lost them in a recent road accident and he had no one else to look after him.
“Dad you are going to lose me. This boy already lost his parents. Why can’t you take him and give him a better life…”
We didn’t know what to say. But our son insisted. We couldn’t say no to him. When we returned from Ooty, Anand, the beggar boy, came with us.
We sent the boy to a local school. Arun treated him like a brother. The boy began to call him brother and us Dad and Mom. He became a part of our family. The boy quickly developed a special loving bond with our son. They played together and talked a lot.
One day when they were alone Arun asked Anand, “Will you look after our parents nicely in their old age?”
Tearfully Anand answered, “I promise brother….” We overheard them and wept uncontrollably.
The dreaded disease eventually wore him down. He grew quite ill. Sometimes there was a faraway look in his eyes. One night after the thoughtful silence Arun said to me, “After my death please donate my organs, Dad”. Holding back my tears I nodded. Next morning he died. Anand wept more than us.
Many people received his body tissues. Two people who could not see before began to see thanks to his eyes. His vital organs like heart, liver, kidneys were now functioning in other people’s bodies and made a huge difference in their lives.
One of the hardest lessons to learn from death is that life must go on. Though our grief was great we tried to focus on the rainbows instead of the rain. Because that was the greatest lesson we learnt from our son.