Leaving behind a moment of eternity, he began in a soft tone.
“Blood Cancer it was, last stage when it was detected. We tried our best, arranged for the best treatment, even consulted the overseas doctors, but nothing worked. She was pierced…!” He paused to swallow the lump in the throat, “pierced at all places. She’d end up with swelling all over. Immense pain she bore but nothing came out of it. I feel so bad thinking about all those times when she would smile through those pained eyes but we could not save her. I was helpless. I could see that she was suffering. At times, I would only urge for treatment over treatment. She endured all of that with a smile. I made her undergo so much of torture. When..when she breathed her last.. all that she endured did nothing. All those steroids, the therapies, all rocked useless. At times I think, why did I burden her with so many treatments? Why did she tolerate so much? Why did she not say, Stop!” The words were choking in his throat.
It was then Aastha said, “You know she endured so much and would have done more, if that meant spending another moment with you. She was ready to do anything to prolong her life even by an inch. You think she wanted to leave. I don’t believe so. With all her heart and soul, she would have wanted to stay. But she was helpless. We human beings cannot go against our destinies. And everything that happened was just brutal fate. What you did was your efforts, your Karma, but certain things are beyond our control! You need to stay strong; for yourself, for your family, for all those around you. That is what she would have expected you to do, I’m sure…”
There was nothing but silence as she finished with her words. She didn’t know what made her say these things. She had never consoled anyone, but today words went smoothly out of her mouth. As if she knew all his feelings. It was strange for her as it was for him.
Whatever she said, he had been hearing all of that and more from everyone around but it was now that the words seeped inside his heart and soul. He felt relieved after the painful confession and her soothing words.
After another significant pause, she continued, “You know when a loved one dies, they become….”
“….stars!” He finished the sentence, from what he had heard everyone say.
What followed was a brief chuckle. A smile crept on his face too. She could hear his smile.
“Nooo… not stars!” This conversation had eased the initial awkwardness between them.
“When people die, they become angels.”
“Angels? He was amused with her new theory.
“Yes, our guardian angels.” She continued. “They stay around to watch if we are happy without them being around. Its like some time they are given by the supreme power, so that they can ensure that their loved ones are happy in their lives. So your mother is also around you, watching you. And you know what? She is not happy because you are not happy. This sadness, this pain is flowing on to her. Would you ever want to see her sad like this?”
No reply, just a sharp intake of breath.
“And Aakash, do you think it was her fault that she had to leave?” She asked again.
“No…..” he shouted.
“So why are making it appear like this to her? With your grief, your guilt, you sound like you blame her for leaving the world. She would have stayed if she could. She left as she had no other choice. Like I said some things are beyond our control. But staying happy is in our control. Stay happy for her because she would have wanted it too. Your happiness would reach her and she would be able to leave peacefully. But she’ll always stay alive in your smiles. Give her the contentment that you are happy. Otherwise her soul would always be restless.” She spoke as if she was whispering some mantra in his ears.
“Thank You.” He murmured between tears.
Her little speech made a deep impact. “Thank You for beautifully explaining why should I stay happy when she is not there. I will stay happy for her. For You!” The last two words though stayed on his tongue, as he wiped off his tears.
He could hear her smile.
The situation seemed less tensed now. “Good. So see you in class tomorrow. You’ll come?”
“Yes, I will.” He assured.
“Okay then, see ya, good n….” She said before disconnecting the call.