Death they say is the ultimate truth. It may be. I have no clue. But accepting death has been tough, really tough for me. My first exposure to death was my grandfather’s death in 1991 when I was just 12 years old. To me it was a great shock because apart from my Dad, Muthachan (grandfather), was the only person I was really close to. His death probably was supposed to teach me a lot about life as well as death. It taught me that life doesn’t stop and cannot stop for others when someone dies. It goes on.
On last Saturday, 27th September, 2014, we lost my niece all of 17 years. She suffered a lot in the past one year. She was detected with Ewing’s Sarcoma. The moment I got to know last December about this, I have researched a lot on this illness and also queried some of my friends from the medical fraternity.
Ewing’s sarcoma or Ewing sarcoma is a malignant small, round, blue cell tumour. It is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. The most common areas in which it occurs are the pelvis, the femur, the humerus, the ribs and clavicle (collar bone).
Because a common genetic locus is responsible for a large percentage of Ewing’s sarcoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors, these are sometimes grouped together in a category known as the Ewing family of tumors.The diseases are, however, considered to be different: peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumours are generally not associated with bones, while Ewing sarcomas are most commonly related to bone.
Genetic exchange between chromosomes can cause cells to become cancerous. Most cases of Ewing’s sarcoma (85%) are the result of a translocation between chromosomes 11 and 22, which fuses the EWS gene of chromosome 22 to the FLI1 gene of chromosome 11.
It all started with severe pain in her legs. She was a versatile dancer. So everyone thought it was due to her hectic dancing schedule. She was given medical treatment too as she was detected with Vitamin D3 deficiency too. Like all parents, her parents too did their best for her. But the illness could not be detected until it was too late. She had it in her pelvis. People say this is fate. I don’t know. Why is fate always rude to innocent people?
Honestly, we all knew this was bound to happen. But it is easier said than accepted. This is not the first cancer death that I have witnessed, but this is the youngest case that I have witnessed. I am no one to question nature or the supreme power that we believe is responsible for all of this. But there are questions that keep disturbing me. She was the only child of her parents (my brother and sis-in-law) and an all-rounder. She was busy preparing for her 12th standard boards when this came up. What was her fault? What was her parents fault? No. It’s not that I am asking all this because she was someone close. It is because there are these bad souls. The ones that make life hell for others. The ones that kill. The ones that terrorize. The ones that rape innocents victims. Why not them? Why is it that they don’t get punished by either mankind or the supreme power? Why is it that they get to live longer and longer only to abuse and assault other innocent beings?
In the last one month, Lil Love had been inquiring about her Keethu Didi who would tickle her every time they met and who taught her to imitate people. I had to tell her on Saturday that her Keethu Didi had been taken away by God. I could see the fear and the uncertainty that covered her face. It was the first time both Anu and Lil Love have faced death. The husband didn’t want me to inform them. But I chose to. They need to know. They need to face this. It is really difficult to accept that someone you have seen walking, talking, dancing, laughing, playing around you is now just a memory. A picture.
On Sunday, we attended a prayer meeting organised by the neighbors in their society. It was painful to see her picture being adorned with flowers and garlands. This was the girl, who was there at my place last October for a pooja. This was the girl I saw dancing on the stage enacting Krishna, Rama, Durga and many other deities. This was the girl I met last November and was smiling even though in pain=. This was the girl who said ‘Thank you Di!’ when I offered her some books before she departed for her treatment in last December. And now, she is just a picture. A memory.
Our five generations are alive. And she is from the youngest generation. Obviously it is painful for all of us to accept this. But I worry for the parents. We will move on. In fact, we have already moved on. We are going to office as usual and the kids went to school too. Similarly, all other relatives too would have gotten into their daily grind. But her parents… Their only child is gone. No one can explain the pain of child loss. I cannot. I have only lost unborn babies but this was a child they nurtured for the last 17 years. She was everything to them. What will they do? They too will move on I know. But they’ll miss her every single minute. Won’t they? Would it have been easier for the child? I don’t think so. Knowing how much you mean to your parents, it would have definitely been difficult for her to accept this decision of the Almighty. But then seeing her in terrible pain would have also made the parents want her to get rid of it. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to pacify them. I know I cannot. All I can do is pray for strength for them to bear this irreparable loss. And I pray for the innocent soul that departed. May she find peace wherever she is. And I pray for everyone. May no one ever have to go through such pain.
As Lil Love says, she is now safe. I wish she is.
On her last profile pic on Facebook she had updated this message:
I was smiling yesterday
I am smiling today
n I will smile tomorrow
simply b’coz life is to short to cry for anything !!
Rest in Peace Keethu!