Like there are two sides of a coin, there are two sides of life, sadness and happiness. Happiness cherishes your life whilst sadness brings terrible storms without any calamity. Sometimes when our lives are full of joy we forget that grief is also a major share in life. Keeping a balance of happiness and sadness is important to realise what is right and wrong. A catastrophic storm also took place in my life and covered it completely for a long period of time.
On the 24th of August, 2003, death snatched a very important person from me, my beloved grandfather. He was an immense inspiration in my life and watching him die in front of my own eyes was very painful. My grandfather was a great man who had worked really hard all his prestigious life. He had always lived with his head up high and was loved by everyone. My grandfather had cancer, enemy of life, for the past two years but he did not know that death was crawling on him like a sly fox.
Three years ago my grandfather came with the hope that life will win over death, from Pakistan, to get treated for his illness. My grandfather, who was unaware of the fact that he had cancer, was living happily until one day he had terrible pain in his bladder. My dad rushed him to hospital and the doctors declared that it was just a minor infection and sent him home with antibiotics. Later on that month his pain increased rather than decreasing.
Going to the toilet was equivalent to hell. My dad then got him treated in a private hospital. After many blood tests and observations, the doctors came to the conclusion that he had cancer in his bladder. Doctors also explained to dad that grandpa was going to live for only a few days. From that day dad made sure that grandpa did not learn about his vicious illness at such an old age. My dad came home that day with a burden on his heart. The only aim in my dad’s life was to give his dad as much happiness as possible. When I came to discover this fact, the sky and earth became one and I felt as if I was being crushed in between them.
A week later the cancer in his bladder cautiously grew up his windpipe and then into his mouth. He described his pain as, “heavy burning.” He told us that whenever he sat up, the weight of is illness pressed him down until he got breathless, he gave up and lay back down as a living corpse. I still remember that day when my grandfather became so ill that he was unable to eat anything. He had to drink milk with added vitamins.
By this time everyone was aware of the fact that he had cancer and my grandfather also knew that death was knocking at his door. After seeing him unable to move, talk or consume I felt like the most helpless person ever. I locked myself in the room that day and cried my heart out. I was really upset. I felt like waking him up, holding his hand and talking to him but unfortunately my wish stayed unheard forever.
My dad called the doctor, when my grandfather was in his last stage. The doctor said that he only has a few moments and advised my dad to invite all his siblings to see their father taking his last breath. Shortly a couple of nurses came and injected morphine into his blood to ease his death. After watching my grandfather in his room with everyone else I came downstairs for a bite to eat. I drank a glass of water but my mouth still felt as dry as the desert.
My humble feet made way upstairs. I was half way up when I heard screams of pain. I ran up the steps taking 4 at a time. And there I saw my grandfather taking his last breaths, fighting between life and death. He died; he was no longer alive. At that moment I felt like taking all the life out of myself and giving it to grandpa. I slowly walked over to him with my eyes swollen up from crying. I touched his hand very slowly; I could feel the warm blood still running in his veins. His face looked like an innocent child with a light smile on his dry lips.
Next morning, morning which brings light into everybody’s lives only brought darkness to my grandfather’s life. It was his funeral. All of our relatives headed towards Central Mosque and so did I, where I saw my grandfather for the last time in his coffin which has become his home now. I remember trying to console my parents but it did not work. Watching my dad cry, who was such a strong man, shattered me into a million pieces.
Even today when I remember my grandfather’s death, my eyes moist and tears dribble down my face. My grandpa was a very important person in my life, even more than my parents and maybe that’s why I got a sudden shock from his death. In a way I was relieved that he died because it cured him from his moment to moment pain. I learnt a lot of memorable words from my grandpa, “Life is too short, live it before it ends.” At that time I never took his words seriously but now these same words have become so important and meaningful to me. That incident has become the most heartbreaking moment of my life, and I am sure that I will never experience anything as drastic as that.