The pearly tears dropped on his garment and soaked in. He had less than a week to live. He knew it would soon happen; the long-awaited day would soon sneak in to bring his existence to an end.
The malign tumors had stretched their deadly tentacles in his cells and had incapacitated him – just like the partial stroke and diabetes; the bunch of inmates at ease within him, which had heartlessly pulled up the roots holding his life, one by one, bit by bit. They mercilessly pulled at it every passing day, slowly killing him.
He felt like a pulp, a rotting vegetable; beaten and weakened.
He had heard painful cries of mourners, grieving over bereavement of their loved ones who couldn’t make it to the next day and had wondered when his family would do the same.
His wife approached him, held him firmly on both shoulders, jerked him as if it would give him tons of strength to go on, raised his face and his eyes to hers, and shunned him not to be such a weakling.
“Be strong! Do you hear me? Be strong! You’ll survive this,” she said to him.
If only she knew how far his spirit had gone.
He studied her briefly, she looked strong outwardly but deeply chartered within. He sighed and looked away much more worried to look at his sons, who hid their sorrows behind massive veils of pseudo-bravery, and like drowning men catching at the straw, they chested out to prove to him that his end won’t be any time near. But, he was not deceived. He knew they knew and were sure it won’t be long before the end.
“Dad stop!” Reacted his younger son. “You’re going to survive this. Don’t you trust God can turn things around and make you healthy again? Are you now belittling God in this situation? Be strong dad! Be strong!” But that was easier said than done because right after the admonitions, same son of his had hurried to the hospital recess to get emotional. He later returned to him with bloodshot eyes hidden behind his sunglasses.
The sick man wiped his tears, swallowed hard and raised his failing eyes to look at the other patients sitting around who gave him encouraging smiles, he smiled back but sadly. Each one of them had a terrible health journey. The stories he told him had revealed worse cases than his.
“Weakness of willpower disables the physical strength. Strong will, keeps you going,” he had told him in a shaky whisper –“Be strong here,” he had said striking his chest weakly. “Look at me man, I’m a walking dead right? But I won’t waste my tears on something that’s not going to happen. I won’t.”
He had died the next day anyway but his strength lived on in him.
The sick man braced himself and toughed up; not to work on himself but on the contrary- to lament over his predicament.
“Take me home!” He sang sadly. “Take me home. The time has come to go home.”
“Oh come on darling, don’t be harsh on yourself now,” his wife said holding his hand- tears rolling down her eyes.
“Do I desire to live on?” He continued in what sounded less like a whisper,”Yes! But of what use is my desire when fate will eventually take its cause? If I…..”
“Dad stop, your BP will rise with that, please be calm. Calm down,” his older son almost shouted.
“Be strong honey! Be strong!” He heard his wife’s voice as he felt like fainting and saw his son’s tears as everything began to fade, he saw the emergency unit fading away just like the paramedics rolling his bed and the doctors and nurses calling his name.
The white light peered in and dazzled. Then nothing but absolute darkness.
It was an absolute joy as they all walked on.
Suddenly, he heard his name from behind.
He turned back but saw nothing but thick darkness. Then a dazzling white light, then voices.
“Where am I” he whispered to himself.
But when he saw their faces and realized he’s alive, he wept.