By Madhavi Jadhav:
I don’t remember exactly when I became his mother. Feeding him, caring for him, and changing his adult diaper were part of my daily routine. It was very difficult for me to get used to it. I didn’t know who to ask for help. He held my fingers and taught me to walk, so it was difficult for me to watch him become increasingly infirm.
He had forgotten my mother and used to ask me about my day in school. I wanted to scream, cry and even run away. I wanted to ask God, “why me?” But all I could do was to be strong, as that was the only option left.
For someone who hasn’t seen anyone dying, it was difficult to absorb, understand and react when the person closest to you is no more. When I admitted my dad to the hospital the doctor asked me whether we want him moved to the ICU. He told me that my dad may not survive. I had to make a call. I thought, “let’s fight with God till the end.” I was confident that medical science would certainly help me and my dad. I told the doctor that he may proceed with the formalities and that we were ready for the fight.
But, I think all fights can’t be won. I saw my father on the hospital bed for around six days, neither eating anything nor saying anything. I felt helpless. I called my cousin and asked him to come over since I needed some support.
I suddenly started feeling the pinch of losing him. Actually, I had already lost him 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I didn’t know my mental strength at that time. But I didn’t know what was to come either. I just wanted to perform all my duties as his daughter with a brave heart. After all, he had made me an independent and a strong lady. I had to be a support for my mother who was going to lose someone with whom she had shared most of her life.
Suddenly, I thought the whole world is conspiring against me. I found it difficult to express my emotions and felt choked by them. Finally, the doctor said that the case was beyond him and I had to take the call. I decided to move him to our hometown in an ambulance. I guess he always wanted to breathe his last in his own house. It might have been a normal day for everyone else, but for me it was the last day with my father. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see him ever again. That night I cried.
We (me and my mother) were prepared for this I guess. She would often tell me that everyone who comes to this world has to go one day and that I, being their only daughter, would have to bid them farewell. So, while in the ambulance, I had decided to go against my family’s wishes and perform all the last rites for my father myself. I knew people would object. But I was prepared. It was not easy for me at all. On one hand, I was losing someone who had loved and cared for me the most and, on the other, I was fighting for my right. I was fighting with my own people. That day I thought that though my father was one of them he was different. He would always tell me that he wished for me to perform his rites.
Today, it’s been a year and a half since it happened. Yet, whenever I meet my relatives they say, “wish you were his son!”