Friday, February 09, 2007

Appa

When I wrote the first post for the year “Something new for 2007”, I only imagined my life with two children and how I would cope with the changes. Somewhere in the mental picture of our home with two children, my father and my mother were very much a part of it like they were when my first child was born. Little did I imagine this year would bring me that dreaded moment when you lose a parent.

My dear father passed away on Tuesday, Jan.23.07 at 11.15pm. He was old but in very good health except for some mild fibrosis in his lungs which was not so much of an issue. He caught pneumonia that led to respiratory distress and was on the ventilator for merely 20 hours after which his life was taken away from us. Some of my cousins and close friends lost a parent in the last couple of years and while talking to them I did imagine how it would be for me if I had to face a similar situation. And now I know you can never be mentally ready for this. The loss is gut wrenching and the finality of death crushing.

My father spoke to me from the hospital on Sunday night over the phone and as always enquired about my son and about my health now since I am pregnant. Here he was one moment talking to me and two nights later he is lying in his hospital bed lifeless. How can this be?! How do I accept this? I did not see this coming at all. The doctors seemed confident until just a day before his death. Who do I appeal to and say this is not fair? I did not even say goodbye to him. He did not get to see my son who he was so eager to spend time with. My parents were due to come and stay with me this March and now my father is never going to visit me ever. If I sound desperate, it is true, I am. The abrupt ending to his life feels cruel to those of us left behind. Yes, I am incredibly grateful that he led a long healthy life, a very very successful one at that and had a sense of completion of all his duties and died without too much suffering except for the last two days. But I am not ready to let go. I still have not though he has physically left us. I keep thinking he is alive some place and will visit me some day. Living in denial seems more bearable for the moment. I realize now how hollow my words of consolation must have been to my friends who faced such loss. Only time can make the pain less acute but the void will remain. During moments of joy even more than sad ones.

When my second child arrives, I will look for my father to come and hold the baby with a beaming face like he did when my first son arrived. We have a brilliant photograph of my mother and father holding my son bursting with joy. I keep thinking I could have accepted this loss better had he come and stayed with me as he had wanted to and had his life ended next year. But it is not for me to choose, destiny has made it’s choice. It did not give me a chance to plead. My father - the man with a majestic personality, the man who lost his father at age nine and became a very successful engineer all on his own effort and enterprise, the man who could relate to both young and old effortlessly, the handsome young man he was in his youth who retained his charismatic personality and maintained his physical health till his final days, who earned all the wealth he had all on his own, who has helped innumerable number of people in so many ways, who has been a guide to so many people I have come to know through their letters and calls after his death, who along with my wonderful mother raised his six children and many more who have stayed at his household always open to anyone in need….above all a wonderful father to all of us and a very dear one especially to me his last born “Kadai kutti” as he liked to call me, who showered me with care and concern….my father with whom I have argued so much, who put up with me and loved me despite it all, who prayed for me during all the important moments in my life…that colossus of a man is no more. I hugged his face like I never have before and begged him to look at me…at that moment I felt like he was a child – pure and guileless in his sleep.

I never did openly tell him how much he meant to me and how much I loved him. I look for him every where and now I am reconciled to only look for him in my son’s bright eyes and beaming smile, in the little things he does that remind me of my father. While I cry inside saying “Appa, Appa, Appa”, I would like to think he is in a better place and his presence is here, there and everywhere around me – in the memories he has given me, in all the ways I nurture my children the way he (and my mother) did, and for ever in my heart. I now pray (however selfishly) for a long and healthy life for my mother who is our source of strength in this time of loss.



I asked my friend to send me this poem by Mary Frye which I read at his memorial service. It is a nice one for a time like this.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Words fail me noon. I'm extremely sorry for your loss. Have faith.
Hugs,
Sandhya

ranjani.sathish said...

My heartfelt condolences to you...

noon said...

Hi Sandhya,
Thanks...do you have a blog site? Thanks for visiting and for the hugs.
noon

noon said...

Thanks Ranjani - seeing you for the first time in my site - will check out your blog site soon.
noon

SM said...

Heartfelt condolences! May God give you the strength to live through this difficult time!

The Mad Momma said...

My heartfelt condolences.. nothing can make up for losing a parent. the poem is beautiful. I hope you are resting well, pregnancy can be tough when combined with such a huge loss... i am sure your father is looking down on you all and you will feel his presence when the second one arrives... Its best to spend every minute you can with those who count because you never know when life takes them away... i am glad you still have his letters etc... God bless you and give you the strength to bear the loss... and also the rest of your family... hugs.

noon said...

Thanks sm. Yes I am praying for strength to come to terms with it really.

Thanks MMomma. Yes, I am glad too that I have his letters. But it is difficult to read them now - makes me cry every time.
Pregnancy - well all in the blind faith that it will take care of itself. Have not had any time to focus on it.

Orchid said...

Noon,
I am deeply sorry for your loss. This post moved me...I could really feel a daughter's pain. Just recollect what advise your dad would have for moments like these...he would want you to be strong-for you, your mom and of course your children.

@ said...

Noon, I am terribly, terribly sorry for your loss. It is very unfair indeed. And as you said, all words of consolation would sound hollow at this point...the only thing to take comfort in is the knowledge that time will heal. The memories of your dad are etched permanently in you and hopefully will be passed down to your kids.
Here's hoping God gives you the strength to get through this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family noon. Take care
Priya

noon said...

Orchid, Thanks...Yes I wonder too what my dad would have advised me had been around now seeing me in such pain over this kind of loss. He told me once "I have faced countless deaths" (including one of his children - who died before I was born, at age 1.5) - he did not show emotion while saying that but I could tell that he had to grit and bear at all those times. He was very courageous as a person. It is amazing how much we rely on parents for emotional security no matter how old we are - I have come to realise this only after my dad's death.

noon said...

@ - thanks - yes memories in plenty...
Only time can make this bearable...

noon said...

Thanks Priya..haven't seen you here before. Nice of you to have posted a comment for this.

Anonymous said...

T,
That is a touchingly written tribute to your dad. Hope u are holdng up ok, T. Love and hugs, Indroo.

noon said...

I, Thanks so much...hope to talk to you soon...

30in2005 said...

I am so sorry. I hope time proves that it does indeed have healing powers. Hugs.

Rohini said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is so shocking and painful when a family member dies without any warning, especially a parent. But as you said, from his point of view, atleast it didn't involve any long-drawn suffering. That being said, it's not much consolation at a time like this. Hope your mom is coping.

B o o said...

Words fail me, Noon. I am so sorry for your loss. Take care. Only time can heal this pain.

mommyof2 said...

So sorry for your loss, Noon...
Similar things are going through my mind these days.. My grandma got sick on feb13 last year. She was fine when I visited her few months before that. And she suffered for almost 1 1/2m & passed away on March 31. I still am not able to accept that she is gone. Everytime I call there I feel like she is gonna come on the phone & talk to me. She was the only reason I went alone with my both kids cuz I wanted her to meet Gudiya. I did the same after I got married & after I had A.. I was so double minded about going alone with both kids still I went there thinking that she is old and you never know. If I had postponed my trip to last year I would’ve been feeling guilty my whole life. I think it will take me forever to realize that she is not with us anymore. I don’t even feel like going to India even though everybody is been asking and waiting. I think If she had lived another year it would’ve been more fun since she wasn’t able to hold them when I went there.

Terri said...

I'm sorry for your loss, noon. First, your mother-in-law, and now your dad.

I don't know what to say, because like you said, you have to experience loss to know what it truly feels like.

I pray that you have a safe and further uneventful pregnancy.

Take care. (((((hugs))))

Dog's Best Friend said...

My heart goes out to you noon...I'm so sorry for your loss. May god give you strength ...

Gauri said...

Noon,

Heartfelt condolences to you. I really don't know what to say.

The loss of a loved one, especially a parent is extremely tough to handle.

May God give you strength to cope with this loss.

Take care

Hugs

Gauri

noon said...

Hi 30in2005, Boo,Rohini, Mof2,Gauri, DBF
Thanks all of you - very sorry also for the late response to your kind comments. It has been a difficult time emotionally and more things happened and life has overall been very hectic. Not to mention the mundane stuff like not having internet connection for over a week and so on. I really appreaciate your kindness. I have not been reading/commenting on posts for a long time now. Nor have I had time to write anything. Someday soon.
Meanwhile now have started reading posts and it is nice to see all the different posts.

noon said...

Terri - thanks - yes, hope to have an uneventful rest of the pregnancy until June 20 (my due date).

Lakshmi said...

Noon, came here from Terry's.
I am sorry for your loss. Having lost my mom when I was 15, I KNOW the feeling. I hope you and your family have come to terms with it.

noon said...

Thanks Lakshmi. My god at 15! Age when you know what it feels like to loose someone so important in your life - esp for a daughter - and yet so young that you can't be mature enough to accept it and move on with life. How did you manage! How my god how did your father cope with this loss! Somehow we all move on and live life but really the void always remains. Will check out your blog site soon.

Anil P said...

One loses a part of oneself and the way of life associated with it. And time does not eal, only pushes it to the background, to emerge again on the slightest trigger. I can understand what it must be for you to lose a loved one.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I know how you must feel. I lost my father all of a sudden 2 years ago, he was 60.I have just come to terms with it. I had another big blow 2 months ago. I was 6 months pregnant and I developed pre- eclampsia. The pregnancy had to be terminated. Life's not fair. But life does go on and we have to come to terms with what happens. I hope you feel better, it will take time but you do feel better.

noon said...

Hi Inquisitive Akka,

Very very sorry for both the loss of your father and what you went through recently. It is not at all easy to cope but like you said we all march on because we have to...and of course because there is always hope. I wish you the very best and am sure with your father's blessings you will conceive again and have a healthy child.
Thanks also for your comment - I saw it only now! Very sorry...actually it doesn't show the dates - not sure when you made the comment. Sorry for the delay in responding...

noon said...

Just changed the settings so I can see dates too for comments posted.. Sorry a month's delay!

bluemountainmama said...

you have brought tears to my eyes....so sorry about your loss. i haven't had to face that yet, and can only have an inkling about how devastating it is.

and i really enjoyed your post about mother's day..... i have similar thoughts......

noon said...

Thanks so much BMM. Will check out your blog site soon. Thanks for your kind words...

Collection Of Stars said...

I am really sorry for you. I can imagine how much you must have been looking forward to him visiting you and being around when your baby came. I hope everything goes well for you.

Anamika said...

your post made me cry so much. i am extremely close to my father. having got married 6 months back i am still dealing with living away from my parents. and i guess this way i appreciate him all the more. i felt your loss like it was my own. he will always watch over you, but you will always long to hold him close again. the ending lines were beautiful. the way you live your life is the only way you can continually thank him for having created you.

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