Last April, we were on the roller coaster ride to hunt for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds and what not. Now that April is a past, how do we look at it? What’s the catharsis of surviving that cruel April?
It’s been more than two years that we have become used to COVID-19, living with it, breathing it, resisting it, and finally accepting it as part of our mundane existence. For some reason, I don’t see this relationship as very simple, it’s rather ambiguous in nature. Initially there was fight, repulsion, denial, non-acceptance and finally a nod, a forceful one. It’s almost like something is trying forcefully to be a part of our lives. This was also a rather stringent relationship as COVID-19 took many existences which were meaningful to us. It took away lives without allowing us to bid Adieux!
It gave us deaths without a sense of closure, with guilt, remorse and waiting. COVID-19 was not only taking away many meaningful bonds from us but it also left us with incomplete desires, broken wishes, and jarring aspirations. Last April, while many were running helplessly for oxygen cylinders, counting breaths of our loved and now lost ones, pleading for hospital beds, I also lost my grandfather. Largely when in many families, the role of grandparents is of a caretaker and giver, the case was completely different in mine.
He was the head, the decision-maker, because his position demanded it, society conditioned him into it. He was an Attorney, an arbitrator in the income tax. His loss last April was the closest it could get to existing with utter pain. Last April brought into our lives a sense of lack of completion, memories which haunt us, moments which are cold. Our sense of fallibility in not being able to do anything, despite having done everything we could. We stood helpless in the face of the callous and lackadaisical approach of state structures which should have prepared better. Our loved ones were reduced to a bed number, a call which we get to inform us that they are no more.
What it means to lose a grandparent?
Amidst all this chaos, my grandfather couldn’t survive either. Yes, my family was part of the race that were hunting for oxygen cylinders, then the lookout to get a bed in the hospital. I couldn’t stop but think with every hour on this clock what he must have thought while waiting to get better, waiting to see all of us soon not knowing that it will not happen. Waiting in hope, waiting with desires. Losing a grandparent, is like sinking in an ocean, right in the middle of it. There are no waves hence, there isn’t any end to your sinking and you are somehow surviving too. Neither is there any possibility for you to try reach the shore.
You suffer sometimes with passing of time, sometimes looking back, sometimes in memories. To all those grieving the death of their loved ones, I would like to reach out to you to assure you that the big, tight lump of grief in your chest loosens up in time. Now this grief is as essential as breathing, I believe. It will stay. To all those who were chasing beds and oxygen cylinders last April, remember we fought through impossibilities.
This April, I wish some warmth gives solace to your fragile cold heart. Maybe the light can teach you to live again, like a Phoenix. Simone de Beauvoir writes, “when someone you love dies, you pay for the sin of outliving them with a thousand piercing regrets.” This April is for regrets, of what’s not meant to be, of what could have been changed! This April is for loss yet hope!
Dr. Richa Shukla is an Assistant Professor at OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana. She specialises in Feminist philosophy, feminist phenomenology and existentialism. Recently she has started taking keen interest in Public philosophy too. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Featured image source: ABC News