Life is all about Questions Unanswered

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.[1]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.

Ewing’s sarcoma occurs most frequently in teenagers and young adults, with a male/female ratio of 1.6:1.[2]


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.[6]

Source: WikiPedia

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!


12 Replies to “Life is all about Questions Unanswered”

  1. No words to say…I am nearly in tears reading this.It is true that life is unpredictable.You never know when are you going to die.Its better to live in the moment.
    That girl wrote something very beautiful and true that life is too short to cry for anything.

    1. Sometimes it takes a death for people to know what the person meant to them. Her death has impacted me a lot more than any others that I have witnessed. Probably because the most I think of it the more I visualize the little time that I spent with her.

  2. Life is unpredictable. Diseases are even more so. Today everything is fine, tomorrow things may change as disease acquires critical mass. Sorry for your loss. May god give you strength.

  3. Rekha, dealing with death is so hard. I lost my dad to cancer couple of years back.Its not easy, but I realized that I needed to go through the pain for it cleanse me.It was cathartic. I really feel horrible for the parents.. as they say its the worst form of torture to see your children die in front of you. May God give all of you strength to overcome this. I searched for an article i read sometime back..didn’t find the original one..but this one was close..

    1. Thanks Asha for sharing this piece with me. Honestly, I have accepted it and moved on. But my thoughts keep wandering back to this topic every now and then. And so, the me that picks up the phone to dial someone very rarely, picked up the phone and dialed my Mema (mom’s sister). I respect her a lot and look up to her. She has been through the worst. From loosing her first child to almost loosing her teenaged son to a jobless husband. The way she has handled every situation has made me wonder what clay was used to create her. She said almost the same things that the article says. And it does make a lot of sense. What has to happen will happen. Our pain and suffering is only because we weren’t able to control the happenings. Once we accept that nothing in this universe is under our control except our own mind, we will be able to lead a peaceful normal life.

  4. Incredibly sorry for the loss, Rekha. I know words are small comfort in this trying time, but please accept my heartfelt condolences. I feel helpless in times like these, not knowing what to say to assuage the pain of such utter grief. May she rest in peace.

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