There are two sides to a coin. For many the lockdown has been a stifling affair. Then there are those who have cherished this forced shutting of the world.
I fall into the latter category.
Cut off from the fast-paced city life, I was home with the people most precious to me – my family. Especially my brother.
My younger brother was born with a rare muscular health disease. The life expectancy for those suffering with this disease is 14 to 17 years.
My parents knew this fact, but never quite gathered the courage to tell me the cold, hard truth. Instead, it was on the internet that I found out that my brother would not have very long to live.
At times, I would see my mother crying while watching a comedy show. I have seen silent tears rolling down my father’s cheeks while he meditated. We talked about his illness and deteriorating health, but never about what lay ahead when he met his destiny – a destiny assigned to him when he was born.
Our family may be unusual, but we were happy. Our main priority was my brother. Although he was bedridden, we never made him feel like a patient. We always engaged him with jokes about his own health, and he always laughed. He enjoyed every bit of his life, and people knew him for his never-fading smile.
But, as the country prepared to ease itself out of the lockdown, he suddenly stopped smiling.
Then he stopped eating, and one day he stopped breathing.
Also read: Dealing With Loss During the Pandemic
I held his hand and cried. I cremated him with the very same hands I used to feed him with every day.
With each passing day, I grieved more and more and remembered every little detail about his last few days. I recalled how one day, while listening to COVID-19 updates, he asked a question: “Death is a fearful event. Isn’t it?”
My parents couldn’t answer. After a minute of silence, I said, “No, we shouldn’t fear death. We all will die someday.”
I could have said more as I do when I discuss the topic of death with my friends, but I couldn’t. It was at that moment that I realised that we might not fear our own deaths, but we do fear death.
Death takes away the people we love.
It has been four months since my brother was liberated from his prolonged pain and suffering. It has been four months of me being thankful for a lockdown that let me spend more time with my brother. I painted with him, I wrote poems for him, and I sang songs for him. I cooked his favourite foods and joked around. I sat beside him all day long, attending online classes and talking to him.
I loved him the most.
I am immersed in my grief and don’t quite know the way out. I think I will carry it with myself everywhere I go, with everything I do.
The lockdown hasn’t been fair to all. I empathise with everyone who lost their jobs and shelter, and those who have lost their loved ones during these challenging times. There are also those who lost themselves.
But, as a grieving sister, I would be lying if I said I am not grateful for the lockdown for bringing me closer to my brother during his last days.
Disha Saha is a second year student pursuing Media Science. As an introvert, she likes keeping her problems to herself, but takes to writing to express herself to find peace.