It was my son’s tenth death anniversary. Death, I’d abstain from giving that incident such a terrible name. I prefer to say that my son took another form of living. He left his person so that he could give life to another. Death cannot really take away what it assumes to have taken away from its victim. His heart still beats in her. My son lives in her.
Accidents sound very casual to us. We are so used to smelling the coffee and opening to the newspaper reporting of such incidents on a daily basis. It is a banal affair till it happens to somebody we love. One such Sunday, among such facile news reports, inserted was the news report of a twenty three year old who lost control over his bike on having tried to save a child from being moved over by a truck. It was him, my son Kabir.
Being a doctor, I knew what was in store for him. He went into a state of coma immediately after being operated. Death was what awaited my son. My husband however, found it very difficult to accept this. He was not able to grasp this terrible phase that we were facing. He was sure that his son would wake up someday but I knew that this was not possible. Even then, his wait gave me that silent dosage of hope and belief that it was possible. There was something that went beyond medicines, doctors and surgeries. There was the omnipotent one who could help my son wake up from this slumber, conquer the unconquerable and emerge victoriously out of this upheaval and his hope kept that light of an optimist in me, serene; unflustered.
Both his father and I sat by him. We spoke to him. We listened to his unspoken words and we believed that he wasn’t unaware of all the pandemonium that surrounded him. My husband kept stroking his hair and asked our son to wake up so that they could resume with their game of golf. We’d discuss about all the things that was related to him and asked for his opinion on various matters. Even then, Kabir would not open his eyes, he would not get back to life. The hope in him was poisoning my heart. It was like the guillotine that took its own time to fall upon and extract life from the victim. Weeks passed and I knew that our efforts were going vain. With every passing day, his condition deteriorated. The death of a child is the ultimate callous punishment for parents. We sat by him and watched our life die. Every portion of life that was leaving him was the shrapnel that pierced us. Every breath of his mutilated the spirit of his helpless parents.
It was at this point of time that Binodini was admitted to the hospital. Binodini was an eighteen year old girl who was diagnosed of a rare heart disease. Every passing day witnessed the gradual failure of her heart. A heart transplant was the only option. The perfect match was not available and Binodini’s condition deteriorated every passing minute. Days passed and neither did my son’s condition better nor did Binodini find the perfect donor for her. The latest reports of my son hinted that his days were numbered and I confirmed there was no coming back. The life support was the reason for the heart beats in his otherwise dead body.
It was going to happen in a few days. I could not garner the courage to disclose this to my husband. I knew he’d break down. His hope would die and I was sure of my inability to cope with both but what happened worsened it for me. My husband still kept that hope burning, the spark of which dazzled as though it was the flake that was about to die any moment.
Two days later, I walked past Binodini’s room. Her mother sat crying next to her sleeping daughter. I was now able to perceive the heaviness that she bore. She and I were both mothers of two dying souls. I could feel the depth of her cries. I could now perceive the sadness that filled in the hearts of all the mothers whose children, I could not save, the helplessness of the parents whom I notified of their child’s apparent dark future. I felt guilty of not being able to grasp their pleas and expressing my helplessness before them. I felt guilty of not having been able to save their children even if this was beyond my limits.
I got to know of Binodini’s diminishing health and confirmed the apparent death of my son. I decided to do something for my son and her both. I decided to help my son live even after the penultimate verdict befalls on him and let Binodini be able to lead a normal life. I decided to do something that sometimes, only God alone could do. I decided to do what it takes to let two lives live even after a death takes place. I decided to rewrite their obvious destinies.
I decided to replace the vagueness that filled in the heart of a mother with the tough but responsible heart of a doctor. I decided to remove my son out of this turbulence and put his person to rest while making him remain alive in Binodini. I had to remove him out of the ventilator and let the doctors transplant his heart into Binodini. I decided to cry all my life but wipe the tears of a mother whose daughter would definitely defeat death if my son would give up on a life that was sure to leave him soon.
My husband did not agree with me. This was beyond his understanding of a mother’s sacrifice and humanity’s face. He rebuked at me on having given it a thought and forced me to give up on this. I could very well sense his anger and displease in me. Even then, I decided to purchase his anger and make it work for my son and for her. My husband’s fury and a lifetime of resentment is what I bargained for my sons release from pain and Binodini’s future. I decided to accept it and gave the consent to remove my son from the ventilator and simultaneously let a transplant happen.
This happened ten years back and today, my son indeed lives in Binodini. The transplant was a success and Binodini was able to live her life just like any other, healthy and free. My son looked peaceful after it happened and I finally broke down, without thinking of consoling my husband who lost himself along with his son. I cried into the nights after it happened. The void my son left could never be filled. I was comfortless. Even then, I felt certain calm in me the day Binodini came home to visit us. I hugged her and tried to feel the heartbeats that of my son. I could feel it beat in her. That moment! No phrase can satisfy the depth of that feeling. I could feel Kabir in her. I do not remember as to how long did I stand there, feeling my sons heart beats. Binodini knew what I felt like. Even though not fully but she knew how important it was to me, how important she was to me. Kabir, my son, my life lived in her.
Binodini gave me a sense of happiness and solace. She called me ‘maa’, the way Kabir used to address me. She’d hug me and stay with me just to make me feel as though Kabir was somewhere around me. She’d devour the dishes I prepared, those which were Kabir’s favourite. I used to watch her stroll around the house and cuddle ‘Lemon,’ our dog. I loved her presence because along with her walked Kabir. She kept two sets of parents today and behaved with us the way she did with her parents so that we could connect with our son through her. Binodini, she gave me a life which would have apparently decayed in grief.
My husband hasn’t still gotten over this incident but does look at Binodini with teary eyes whenever she came home. He’d abstain from talking to her lest he may lose his composure but I have noticed the tears that rolled down his cheeks while she greeted him though he never really accepted her the way I did. The rage in him is still alive and the wounds of the memories I gifted him with was still fresh. I was guilty of his state but I never really resented what I had done. Our grief would remain fresh even if Kabir would have remained on life support and Binodini’s parents too would have had to feel the similar agony on her condition. Instead I decided to reduce the heaviness of that pain in them and let life sustain. Life is precious and every breath was a treasure. I decided to preserve it in her and I still am not guilty of having done so. I may have inherited my husband’s wrath but I feel content of having saved not just a single life but that of those whose lives would have been disturbed on Binodini’s departure.
Even then, I know that my husband continues to love me. I feel his love for me in his anger too. He knows that it wasn’t easy for me either and even then when I continue to cherish his heart beats in her, I know my husband is trying his level best to forgive me. Kabir’s father may never forgive me but my husband, over the time, will definitely erase the ire because he knows that all that I have for myself, is nothing and nobody but him.He knew that I had the facade of a strong woman but deep within, I was a brittle and hurt individual.
I had an option to choose between life and death. I used death to give life. Death hasn’t really been able to take away what it has assumed to have snatched from me. My son lives in her and to sustain, that realisation was sufficient for me.
Copyrights @ Elsa Thomas 2015