If you are reading this, it probably means you are old enough to understand death. As a child you were told that grandma is in office when she died; you were only three years old, too young to understand the meaning of the word ‘death.’
Some of my friends were very creative when they explained death to their little ones. “Grandpa became a star” or “grandma is visiting her mom” were common reasons. You get the drift. After around four years, you asked us where she was and you, all of seven years looked at me with curious eyes. I didn’t have the heart to lie to you.
So I sat you down and explained. I told you that as we grow older, our body like a plant starts to breakdown. That’s why old folks cannot walk very fast or eat everything they want. It is then that their body gives up and the heart stops working. You said, “But I miss grandma.” I could see you struggling to understand, so I held you close and let the silence do the talking.
Today, after so many years I want you to understand that yes, the body that holds your mom and dad does go away. But, I have always wondered what happens to all the emotions that we have collected throughout our lifetime.
What happens to that memory of our first hug or first kiss?
The theist in me says they go to a magical place call heaven, where they meet other departed souls. A place where there is no pain, just lots of chocolate. Naive and disillusioned, right?
The atheist in me says just like the body stops breathing and the air leaves our lungs, we stop existing. Rational and heartless thought, right?
Well, honestly, I don’t know. Maybe a person who speaks to the dead can give you more clarity to that, if such a person exists.
But whatever may be your belief, understand that death is certain. The faster we accept it the easier it is to move on. I hope to live to see you grow into a fine young man who respects everyone, irrespective of their gender, caste or color.
The reason I needed to explain this to you via a letter is because as you grow up this world will give you various versions of death. Your friends will not speak about it like it’s a sin. But I want you to understand that it’s the most natural thing to happen. And though we have no control of when our time is up, we do have control on what we do with our limited time here.
So don’t bully the fat kid in your class or at work. Your mom also didn’t have the ideal fit body.
Don’t chase after friends who demand your time but don’t have any to give when you need it the most.
Don’t lose hope when you are heartbroken; everyone goes through it. It will just make you tougher and kinder.
Lastly the world is going to be cruel, don’t mirror it. Instead be the kind one who helps the old and the needy. That is your grandmother’s legacy, you know, the one who went to office and never came back.
Yes, laugh at life because we don’t know when it will stop. If it wasn’t for laughter I probably wouldn’t have fallen in love with your goofy father.
So enjoy the rollercoaster, son, with arms stretched to the sky and with a heart filled with joy.
Khushnuma B @ 2017