Tuesday, April 24, 2007

11th March 2007 - an Apology

My heart thumping and racing
Nerves all tight as I stand and wait for the test report
Would the PSA* count rise or fall?
Several questions, speculations and I surmise…
A smile if the count had dropped
Or anguish at the negative report

Today I recollect those moments of joy on a positive report
Though short lived, it gave me courage and hope
To prepare for the worst or just wait and watch

This was the routine for a year and a half
Then one day I had to hear the inevitable
The count has risen alarmingly
This was followed by more tests, scans and x-rays
My heart pounding, suddenly leaving me cold

I feared to see you lifeless
I feared the sights I imagined
I feared everything that had to do with death
For I had never experienced the loss of a loved one
From such close, vicarious proportions

My apprehensions knew no bound
You were in coma and I did not dare to see you lying in that state
Even though I reconciled to the fact that it’s a terminal illness
What kind of palliative care could we give you?
How do we make your last days less painful?
My agonies crossed all the bearable limits
Did I cry often?
Yes, sometimes secretly, sometimes openly
Sometimes unable to swallow that lump in the throat
Sometimes just to let that well of tears roll down
Sometimes unable to control my distress and helplessness

Eleventh day of March, at the eleventh hour
The expected and inescapable had happened
And I was there when you breathed your last
Though not shocked, I was benumbed
Did I hear what I always dreaded to hear?
Yes, the doctor made the final pronouncement
And I was trying to control myself

This day liberated you from prolonged suffering
It’s taken you away from all of us into a world
Where there’s no pain to endure
From where you continue to wish me well
As you did always, from my birth till today
One year later I ask myself, ‘What was I afraid of?’
Fear of losing you, how selfish I could be!

Death! You’ve relieved my father of the incurable
Saved him from more hours and days of agony

Today I apologize
For, we had kept you in the dark Papa
Hiding from you that you were diagnosed with advanced stage of cancer.

*PSA - Prostate Specific Antigen

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