This is personal and raw and graphic. It is not good. Please don’t scroll if you feel it may affect you.
The day dad died
19 August 2020
It was the crazy lockdown days. It was Bodo jethu’s (Bade Papa) barsi on 7th Aug
20, (he had passed away suddenly a year back.)That evening Manjhle Papa suffered a heart attack and passed away. 13 days later on 19th Aug; on the evening of Tehrawi of manjhle papa’s funeral rites my Dad passed away at 7:30 PM in the evening.
The last time we spoke with him, all 3 of us, on a video call was that afternoon. He wasn’t feeling well. We had had an online consultation just before before that and the Dr had advised some more medicines. He didn’t think we needed to move him to a hospital right now; it was peak Corona and the country was in lockdown. It wasn’t safe.
But he wasn’t feeling well and within a couple of hours his condition worsened terribly. We needed to get him to a hospital asap.
There we were, the 3 of us. 2 of us in Delhi and 1 in Dhanbad. Calling every hospital in the vicinity, glued on to the net trying to find any possible way to reach Kolkata, find a bed, a doctor an ambulance anything at all for him. We tried calling everybody & anybody; if only someone could help.
No hospital had any availability, no beds, no ICUs. No flight, no bus, no train, no ambulance. There was absolutely nothing available as if we had gone back a 1000 years in civilisation, with a very fast Internet connection which was of no help. Google can only do so much.
An ambulance reached around 8:00 PM, it was raining heavily apparently. Dad had passed away around 7:30.
He must have been scared and struggling to breathe and I guess hoping any one of us would just walk in and bring him to a hospital. I can only guess these things as I wasn’t there. I didn’t show up. For the man who gave me everything and was there for me every single time for all my stupid and non life threatening situations of my silly life and told me all will be fine. I failed to be there to hold his hand and tell him one last time everything will be fine.
Mom was alone with him in his last moments. Makes sense, they call it a life partnership for a reason.
We found one sole flight early next morning to Ranchi, it was the sole flight available. Took a cab from the airport and drove 500 kms to kolkata, to see our long gone father.
He was waiting for us to show up at the morgue,lying inside a cold storage box.
But he had to wait one more day, as it was complete lockdown that day. So we sat and waited and he was dead and waiting inside a cold box. Three days later we finally met our dad, dead and cold and waiting for us on the floor of a cold dark morgue. He looked good. Dead but good.
Next we arranged for him to be taken to the place where we will last see him. The last I saw my dad was his soft face being swallowed by a giant fire which took him forever. That is what I have left as his last remembrance etched in my mind.
My father was a chronic COPD patient for the past 10 plus years. He had trouble breathing and had to be on oxygen support even at home in the past few years. The condition is not reversible, gets worse each year but can be managed. But patients can live for many years even if it is with reduced mobility and care.
The first time I had to sign the consent form for putting him on ventilator support, I was a minor. It was his first severe attack and many more would come in later years. The Dr told me that by signing the form I take all ownership of his life and cannot blame the hospital in case he doesn’t recover.
He recovered and went onto to be put onto ventilator support 5 more times in the coming years. He fought, he lived and may be this time too he would have fought and come back. But we would never know that.
He is gone for a year now and there are days when I miss him terribly and wish I could speak to him one more time. And then I realise life is fragile and I cannot control anything. August is shit. Sleep eludes on few nights when things feel confusing. Some friends suggested I should write about the day, would help. It has been hard to find the words, but here it is. This is what happened on the day my dad died.
I hope he is happy and healthy wherever he is. He was a happy person and the best dad. It is not an exaggeration I am staying a simple fact. He was the best father and a great friend to many. I hope he is happy and ok now.
Pictures of My family, as it used to be. We are not 2 but 3 sisters it’s hard to find Ankita’s pictures though. The day dad died, I have tried to write this before, my friend Smita told me I should. I wasn’t able to. Jotted it today. It is Unedited right now as I remember it. Before it becomes many years ago and I forget and the details become muddled.
Pray for him that he be happy wherever he is now
Miss you terribly Baba