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The Day I Lost My Dad

The Day I Hope I Never Forget

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07 May '24
6 min read


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On Sunday March 29th, 2020, as the whole world was going through tough times due to the COVID-19, something unthinkable happened in my life. The day started like a regular lockdown day, my mom prepared breakfast, and I freshened up and started eating. My dad and my sister also joined me.

My dad finished his breakfast and went to his room to get some sleep as usual. But little did we know it was the last day he would spend amongst us. My father was the complete opposite of a sound sleeper, and he would snore a lot. Almost an hour later we realized he was a little too quiet even with all the disturbance at home. My mom went into the room to check on him.

She started panicking. “Bharath!! Your father is sleeping in a weird way, come check on him”, my mom called me. I walked into the room saying “Mom, let him sleep well and he needs the rest.” Then I too noticed he was sleeping a little weird. I called out to him, there were no reactions.

We rubbed his feet but they were as cold as ice. My mom started to scream, “He is dead!!” I told her not to overreact. He is probably unconscious as I placed my ears on his chest. I heard no heartbeat, but I did hear a rumbling sound in his stomach. I tried hard to not lose hope.

I used a torch to see if his pupils were dilating. There were no signs of movement.  I was like “Oh God NO!!, please NO!!”  I called an ambulance; I explained what had happened and they said help is on the way. I told my mom he must be unconscious, but on the inside I knew.

 

I heard a siren and ran to the main road and directed the ambulance towards my home dodging all the lockdown barricades. At first, the ambulance personnel were a little skeptical to get inside my home, and who wouldn’t be, COVID-19 was the hot news then. I assured him that my dad was fine until that very morning. So, he stepped into my home, checked my dad’s pulse and the pupils. “I am sorry sir” he said and declared my dad was dead.

The next thing I heard was a loud cry from my mom, my sister was petrified and Me, I just wished it was just a bad dream.

Not knowing what to do, I called my relatives and my two best friends Kasi and Ram. They all said they are coming, next I called my boss Vishakha, she transferred me some money and tried consoling me. I knocked at the door of our land-lord Mr. Anand (who lives in the same building as us), he was kind enough to take me to a hospital and explained to a doctor there what had happened. The doctor visited our home with a pulse oximeter and after further inspection, he officially declared my dad was dead. By that time my friends had arrived, and I had no time to sit and grieve yet.

I had to go back to the hospital and collect a medical certificate to produce at the crematorium/graveyard. When I was back my relatives had reached the spot. Now it was time for the rituals. What could we do? There was not a single shop open, I couldn’t even put a single flower garland on my dad. Our landlord helped us again, he arranged for a private ambulance, and he got a flower garland.

As it was a Sunday and we had to hurry before the crematorium closed. My mama (maternal uncle) and my cousin Uday went to the crematorium to inform them about my dad’s arrival.

Things looked as though they were sorted out, and I wanted to be with my dad, but I could not, because we had to arrange for a hearse van. Luckily, our landlord knew a private ambulance driver and that was taken care of.

I wanted to sit next to my dad for the last time and at least shed some tears, but now we had to worry about who would carry him. My two best friends and I were the only ones strong enough to bring my dad down, but we need a minimum of four people to lift a normal person’s dead body. My dad was plump, and we lived on the 2nd floor. The ambulance driver and his assistant were kind enough to help us.

Now I could finally look at my dad’s face, I cried a lot and asked him how he could leave me like this. I was not ready to live without him, even though we had our differences. But I had to pull myself together, time was running out. So, the five of us lifted the heavy man who was fast asleep, and my God, did we struggle. We almost dropped him on the stairs, luckily Kasi caught him.

Dad was safely shifted into the ambulance and we started-off on his last journey. My mom, my sister and I were travelling with him for the last time. The roads were empty, the ambulance was the only vehicle on the road. I really wished for some traffic so that I could at least cry some more, even though I knew it was useless. We reached the crematorium in the blink of any eye. My mama and cousin had readied a chatta (a stretcher like contraption made of bamboo) which holds great importance in our tradition. I gave some details to the crematorium officer, and produced some documents before we performed some final rituals.

As I put my dad on the crematorium bed that was attached to a trolley, I looked at his face and kissed his forehead and hugged him. I told my friends to pull me away from there. I could not see his body go into the fire. As I walked out of the crematorium, I saw smoke coming out of the chimney and thought to myself, my dad is now one with the elements.” 

On the third day we collected his ashes in a small earthen pot. Funny how such a big man was reduced to just a potful of ashes.

There were many struggles after this to immerse his ashes, but I won’t bore you with more details, as I have already done enough.

My dear friends and family if you have read continuously until here, I thank you for your patience.

My father was an excellent photographer, a camera mechanic, and a very skilled barber. On the other hand, life was not too easy on him. He was away from us for a long time before he returned to us in 2018. He was with us for 2 years before he left this world.  In those 2 years I got to relive every aspect of life with him again, from fights to happy memories. There are two reasons I wrote this story; One so that I never forget that day, and two as a constant reminder as to how short life is. 

Treasure each moment with your loved ones, if possible, put your differences aside and smile. I know it’s hard but it’s worth a try.

Thank You and May God Bless You All!!

Category : Relationships


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Written by Bharath V

A writer who believes that a keypad is mightier than a trigger!!