This story is by Dhara Patel and was part of our 2022 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
One year ago today,in-fact at this very time as I am writing this story, on Monday morning April 12,2021( 11 am Indian standard time) my father was taking his last breaths in the hospital.He was suffering from the very deadly strain of Covid-19 that was sweeping away people in india.Deaths very happening every minute and we were hoping somehow my dad would survive.My mom who was with my dad was told to go home and not to visit him at the hospital.She was suffering from symptoms of covid but had not tested yet.I was here in USA with my family trying to arrange for the “ life saver” injections for my dad which had become a black market thing that time, every passing day for him at the hospital was critical.My brother who lives with his family in Australia was equally worried and was trying to get the best possible treatment for my dad and trying to get help for my mom as she too was all alone sick and worried about daddy.In those five days we felt like we would never see other again and it was the end of our family.It was like the last time we were taking to them, not really knowing what’s going to happen next.Meanwhile we decided to send our mother to her brothers home in a different city in India where she could get her family support and some treatment, our father was feeling all alone and left out at the hospital.Never in his life had he lived more than a day at the hospital.A man who was so use to living life on this own terms was suddenly forced to stay on the bed with the oxygen mask and no good food of his choice to eat.His last wish was to come back to his home, our home; the place were he was born and the place he lived his entire life.He tried telling us and his friend so many times that he would die if he was not allowed to go back home.His friends even tried talking with the doctors but the situation was so deadly that it would be taking a chance with his life.We kept telling him that he would reunite with mom in no time and kept telling us that he was getting tied.After 6 days constant battle with covid on the very last before his death a doctor; my school mate out of courtesy made a final video call for me to see my dad and his last words to me were “ I am tired,when are you coming” his eyes were red, he was in ICU since 4 days .Every bed in the hospital was critical.There were no beds no hospitals available and people were dying at home without treatment.I was thinking in my mind that thank god daddy at-least is in the hospital getting treated, but something in my heart was sinking with each passing hour as if my soul knew that those were his last hours.The morning he died was evening for us, that evening suddenly while driving back home I saw the road covered with pink flowers all the way from the graveyard half mile away to my home.As heavy my heart was already I felt like” daddy is that you! are you around, are you trying to say something to me “And I said to myself that he is still alive but when he dies I’ll want to lay on his way such beautiful carpet of flowers.Same might at 1 am for us I got a text from the doctor asking me to call him and immediately I sensed something was not right. As soon as I called, I was informed daddy had gone into cardiac arrest and there were no chances for him to survive.The doctor said he will be trying to revive him and I said “ his soul has already left his body” I just knew it that he was ready to leave, peacefully to his eternal journey.I then requested the doctor to call me and my brother when his heart stops beating as in medical science that is what is called death.The doctor was very kind he called us in 40 mins at the exact time when dad finally left.He showed us his face, so bright and peaceful, like he was sleeping in such peace.My mom had to to be informed about my dad and so we did with her other family besides her to grieve.He was cremated at a very good funeral home, my first cousin took care of that arrangements as the funeral homes were all flooded with dead bodies that it had become a big deal to have cremated the same day according to Hindu beliefs.He was looked upon and taken care by almighty even after his death,as his brief in almighty was very strong through out his life.We could not pay him the last visit but he paid us his last visit, for all 3 of us it was different experiences, for me it was the beautiful carpet of flowers he had laid on my way to home, saying “ my loving daughter, I shall always be with you and I shall make the journey of your life’s path as beautiful as his path of flowers”.To me he is was not only my father but my best friend and my son’s, my mentor my guide and my philosophical guru.He will always live in the deepest part of my heart and as a part of me as I am his.This story is a tribute to my most loving father and to all the families who suffered huge loses during the times of Corona that can never be forgotten or replaced.May god bless everyone and keep all families together.