I came to terms with death at a very young age. I knew that my parents would die some day, then my sister would die and then I would die too. Eventually. We had a whole lifetime until anything like that happened.
That is how I used to live for the majority of my life. Until 2015, when my uncle died. He was very young and had a daughter of twelve. His death moved me to the core.
Now, I had faced death of loved ones before. My grandfather had died in 2011 when I was twelve. His death seemed to have been predicted a long time ago, he had been diagnosed with stage four cancer a few months before his death. So we had talked to him in length and given our farewells. It still hurt though losing him, I cried my eyes out,but I came to terms with it rather soon. Even if he had been my inspiration for writing, I had moved on.
Comparatively, the death of my uncle was rather sudden. I was returning from school one fine day talking with my friend about school work when I got a phone call from my mom. She asked me to pack up everything I could find and leave with a friend of theirs to the local train station and catch a train to Jaipur 250 kilometers away because my uncle and his family had met with an accident coming to our city and he was in critical condition. I thought that we would return in couple of days after seeing him return to normal condition and I packed accordingly.
I arrived at Jaipur as my father and another uncle came to pick me up with a disturbing silence. At that moment I knew what had happened. Little did I know, not only had he died, he had died before I got the call from Jaipur, before my parents even arrived there, in fact he had died on the spot and his family had been hauling his dead body around from hospital to hospital to make him receive treatment and hear him talk again.
I just did not accept his death. I did not see his dead body in his funeral, I did not see him cremated, I just stayed in my room shutting the world out. He was an overall swell guy who just loved everyone from the deepest part of his heart and it was heart wrenching seeing his daughter go through what she did. Even though she is my cousin, she was raised almost as if she was my real sister. So it destroyed me to see her go through that.
But all of that wasn’t the reason why I refused to acknowledge his death. It was because it reminded me of my mortality. I may not die aged hundred surrounded by my loved ones, having said all that was to be said and having done all that was to be done. Neither might my parents or my sister or my cousins or my friends.
It reminded me of how weak we really are and how easy it is to kill us all. I couldn’t ever come to terms with that fact.