Recap - Part II
Recap - Part III
The next few days in the hospital were quiet and peaceful. Her children came to see her everyday after their school. Her sister stayed with her for a few more days. Her parents stood by her like a rock. She got a lot of time for herself. She was always in solitude and she kept thinking about him. But the anger which she had felt initially after his death was gone. She was feeling sad. She felt that she had bottled up her emotions for too long. She had the urge to cry out aloud on so many days and crying, she did! Her parents saw her crying; saw the soiled pillows, every now and then. They did not stop her. They wanted her to get her grief out of her by now. And whenever she cried, her bandaged head ached! But she felt better after pouring her heart out! And then... she steadily recuperated. She responded well to medicines, she cheerfully met her children when they came back with stories of their school. But she was still confused for so many days how she had seen him and how she had been stupid enough to put such a broken chair and stoop down to take a ball. She began to wonder if she saw the ball or was that also ‘false’. When the doctor said that she could be discharged, she dreaded going back to the same house - the empty house without him! But she knew that it was her life and she had to face it alone without him.
Six months flew by. Their lives underwent a lot of changes. Her time at home was spent in taking care of him. Her mom had come to stay with them to help her out. The kids were seeing less and less of their dad. He would not come out to play with them and he was too weak to walk. He spent his time reading books or listening to music, but most of the times too weak to move a limb and so was in bed most of the times. None of the symptoms had changed - his voice was gone, just a croak now; he was still coughing blood, he kept losing weight and he was eating still less. One night, after the full course of injections had been taken for 6 months, he had complained of breathing troubles. He was rushed to the hospital. She was just making him sit in a chair in the waiting room when her mother rushed in search of the doctor. At that moment, in that cold hospital room, she felt a cold numbness in his hands. She jerked and looked at him. She started massaging his palms, but his limbs kept falling down away from her grip. His breathing had become more sporadic. His eyes started losing focus. She desperately was looking around for some support! Her mom? The doctor? Some nurse? She wanted to run out of the room herself and call out the doc, when she looked at him and realised that his time had come! Right in front of her eyes, with his palms in hers, eyes losing focus and without being able to speak a single word in those last moments, he left her! He was dead! The doctor who entered the room a fraction of a second later realised what should have happened. The doctor went towards them, a pair - his eyes half open but dead and lifeless, her eyes widely open, too shocked and transfixed at some point in eternity. The doctor slowly closed the dead man's eyes and jolted her back to reality.
The doctor came to see her just before vacating the room. The doctor was the usual self, at ease and specifying the medicines that she had to take and how fast she had recovered. She wanted to talk with the doc before leaving the place. The examination was over and the doctor prepared to leave the room when she asked, 'Doctor Uncle! Can I ask you something…? But you've got to be frank with me!' The doctor stopped and smiled,' I have always been overly frank with you dear! I have always thought you to be brave enough to face reality than hide from it. Perhaps I should have been more reticent with you... ', he gave a mild sigh, 'Anyway, tell me... what is it that you want from me right now?'
'It's just this doctor!! On the day of the accident... before being admitted here... you... you should be knowing... I ... I tripped from our balcony wall because... because I... I saw him.... He was playing cricket with his buddies.... He... he waved his hands out to me, I saw him as clearly as I see you now... but then I did not think twice and that's why I stooped down to get the ball.... I, now, know that he is dead... then why did I do something so stupid? Am I.... Am I going mad? I don't want to be locked up in an asylum!!!... I want to take care of my children... I... I want to continue from where he left me!!' She could hardly finish her outpour than she started sobbing softly!!! Neither could her mother could not control herself! She hugged her daughter gently! The doctor was seeing this entire emotional outburst with the same calm expression that she was getting used to by now.
The doctor waited for sometime and gave a cheerful smile. He said, 'Good!!... You are a brave woman!! He was not lucky enough to live with you longer!! Anyway, let me get down to the facts straight away! When you were brought here that day bleeding.... in your face, head and hands, I did not know how and why you fell down! But when you told your father the first day you woke up that you saw him, I knew that was your problem...’ He paused here slightly, as though thinking how to continue and then said, 'It happens... It happens in cases of extreme affection.... You had been hallucinating dear!! You missed him so much that you saw him. You had been too busy for the few days after his death that you did not let your emotions out. You had bottled it up within yourself and your refusal to believe that he was gone aggravated the problem... When you were here tending to your broken skull and broken arm, we were also treating you for hallucinations and psychological problems..... In fact that's why when your parents told me that you cried a lot into your pillows... I just told them to stand by you but not stop you!!.... And now you have realised it yourself that he is not in your life anymore... This realisation is the first step towards a healthy mental state.... Believe me!! You have come out of your hallucinations.... The next time you think that you see him, just tell yourself, 'No He's not here... He can't be here' and get going!! The worst is behind you, dear!!! You are NOT MAD and you KNOW it!! So get up!! You have a family to take care of... Your husband has left you mid way but you would not leave your children like that!!'
There was a pause after that and she did not know what to talk. She felt a different woman on hearing the doctor's words! The doctor was right!! She had a family to take care of. She was not mad. This was a brief period of hiatus in her life. She would take on life without her husband. He had been cruel enough to call upon his own death. How many times had she warned him against smoking! She realised that one small bad habit had almost ruined her life!! But now the worst was behind her. She would take on her life with a new vigour and determination that if it was true that he was looking at her from Heavens, he would regret having died!
PS: I would like to remind a statistically proven medical fact here - Not all smokers die of cancer. Nor are all cancer casualties smokers! It is just that smoking increases the risk of cancer.
PPS: This is purely a work of fiction though inspired by a few real life incidents and characters. However the medical terms and symptoms of the diseases mentioned are all real!