He was lying on his bed with feeding pipe. The pain was evident on his face and he was fatigued. I couldn’t stop my tears and ran into my room, sat on the floor at a corner, hid my face between my knees and began sobbing! When mom came there, seeing me in tears she sat beside me and asked, “Why are you crying?.” I asked, “He must be in terrible pain, right?” She sighed and said, “Yeah, he must be. But do your tears diminish his pain? No.. Instead your presence around him could make him feel better. So now stop crying, come and have your lunch” she consoled me.
I was too young to understand something like cancer. But I could understand that he was going through a terrible pain.
When I was five years old my grandfather was diagnosed with oesophagus cancer. He was taken to Manipal but doctors gave no hopes. Treatments couldn’t cure his cancer and he has to be brought back home. He was completely dependent on feeding pipe.
It is very natural that people love their grandchildren more than their children. My grandparents weren’t exception for this. I was getting all the attention and care of my grandparents. I was always pampered by my grandfather and my demands were fulfilled right away. One thing I cherished the most was bedtime story he used to tell every night.
Every night after dinner he would tell a story. That was a special story which never ended. In his story, there was a king who owned a garden. In that garden, there was a tree with full of red colored fruit. One day a parrot came and ate a fruit. It was so delicious, next day parrot again comes for that fruit. So the parrot would come and eat the fruit until we fall asleep. The everyday same story would follow. I got fed up of that story and one day I asked him to narrate some other story. To that, he smartly said, “Let me finish this story first. Today don’t fall asleep until I complete it, if this story finishes today, I’ll narrate a different story tomorrow.” But how that story could end? It was only meant to make us sleep. That parrot never stopped eating and the story never ended. Before it could get a conclusive end cancer came and stood between us.
I couldn’t get what cancer was, I just knew that it tormented my grandfather, it took him and his stories away from me. I had indignation towards cancer for this. Perhaps for this reason, cancer said, “Okay, no more indignation. Let’s work out together.” It came with some pain and abundant of lessons. It is true pain always teaches a lesson, but cancer, it teaches you an important lesson and that is LIFE. It teaches you to live.
When I was suffering from cancer, I tried to comprehend my grandfather’s pain. For a second, I thought whose condition was better? but that was a stupid question. There is nothing good or better in pain. Pain is always a pain. But yes, challenges differ. The challenges he faced were beyond my imagination. His wife, my granny who had to be by his side at that crucial time was bedridden. He along with his pain saw his wife suffering. He saw her dying! Those ordeals must have been very challenging to cope with.
My indignation faded away with time because cancer turned out to be a blessing in disguise. No universities could have taught the lessons which cancer taught me. Without those lessons life would have been very tedious.