As I dropped off Jiya to the bus stop. I felt heavy. Not physically but ….It was as if something bad was going to happen.
I moved about the home tidying this and that but the feeling would not go away. I could not have my breakfast too. When the phone beeped, my breath stopped for a second.
It was a video call from the Care Home. I was shaking but then I had to pick the call up.
‘Madam, Sir is refusing to cooperate. It is his physiotherapy time but he is refusing.’
I gathered all my wits.This was going to be tough. The very fact that the Care Home had called me meant that they were not able to convince Avneesh.
Yes, Avneesh. My better half.After living together for 40 years we had to live separately. Not because we divorced but because he needed 24 hours help and none of us could support him.
‘Madam, madam……please talk to him’, said the nurse.
‘Yes, yes’, I said to her coming out of my thoughts.
‘ Avneesh ….listen’,, I began.
‘Who is Avneesh’, he said.
‘I am not Avneesh, …..am I?’, he asked the nurse, she nodded.
A tear escaped my eyes.
‘Avneesh do as the nurse says, it is for your betterment’, I said
‘Why should I listen to you? Who are you?’, he asked.
‘ Your wife, Avanti’.
‘Says who? I don’t think I am married’, said he
You are married Sir and she is your wife’, affirmed the nurse.
‘Avneesh, do as the nurse says. It is for your good. Don’t you want to go out in the garden and catch butterflies’, I said.
‘ Butterflies. Yes I like to run after butterflies.’
‘Ashok and Ananya used to run with you, remember?’, said I
‘Ashokkkk….’ there was a flicker of remembrance but then he said ‘I won’t exercise. It is painful and if I fall from the bed,who will look after me’, he said.
‘ You will not fall, I guarantee’, said the sister
‘If you behave I will bring gajar ka halwa over the weekend’, I said.
‘Yes, now will you do as the sister says?’ I asked.
He was lost in his thoughts but he mumbled a yes.
Soon after we disconnected and I sat down and as usual cried myself hoarse.And I thought of all the times we had spent together.
I was his friend’s sister. No it was not a love marriage. My brother suggested that he marry me. Our parents agreed and that is it.
Forty years we had spent together. He was not an easy person to live with. Well neither was I. But we were together for good or worse. He had a bad temper. I had a fiery tongue and we both had two beautiful children. He battled outside. I battled in the home but we were a team. With the little money we saved, we would go for movies, picnic at the beach. I remember the first time he gifted me something substantial… it was a ring. And he got an identical one for himself.Yes times were tough and we barely had any assets. But we had a lot of understanding.
By the time he was about to retire we were happy, it was time to relax now. Son was employed and about to get married.Daughter was married already and had blessed us with a grandson. Now it was our time to do as we wished.
It started suddenly the shaking and the tempers. We ignored, he always had the temper, didn’t he. But then he started getting a bit violent. One day he fell. He got up but after that his mobility was reduced gradually to the point he could not get up from the bed. He was losing his memory too. A form of Parkinson’s the doctor said. The brain sends commands, the nerves don’t agree.
We couldn’t handle him, so we kept a nurse but then it went on escalating till we couldn’t do anything except keep him in a care.
The second line of the 9th shloka of chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita says ‘janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi duhkha-dosanudarsanam’. Meaning the four problems of life are birth death, old age and sickness. And when two of these problems; old age and sickness combine, life is unbearable not only to the person but to everyone connected with the person.
Many people talk behind our backs that we could not take care of Avneesh and threw him in an old age home. I don’t argue with anyone. This pain can only be understood by someone who goes through it. I know Avneesh is dying but me…. I die a thousand deaths in a day.
Today is Day 4 of Write Tribe Festival of Words