To Live3 mins 365 3 mins 365
“To be able to look back, and not flinch at the memories…To gaze into the mirror and look into the eyes that reflect without a hint of shame… To smile at every person I knew at every point of life" – This was how I always wanted to breathe my last.
* * *
I was 25 and dying.
~ Rummaging through the cupboard that was my life, I found dust and neglect in some shelves, anger decaying in a few drawers, guilt and regret dirtying some racks, and grief in many corners.
This was not how I wanted it to be.
As the first tears fell, I wondered how I had let it happen.
^ ^ ^
Six months, maybe a year; the doctor had said. Chemotherapy hadn’t worked.
At first, I cried for weeks. Then I just had to accept it. I would die soon. This knowledge made life hell.
Friends and family tried their best to be with me, but I didn’t want to be with them.
I was already dead inside.
* * *
~ I wiped the tears and kicked the cupboard hard. I think I broke my toe.
^ ^ ^
I was angry all the time. The thought of impending death made me want to die already. I stopped meeting my family. I stopped going to work. I distanced myself from all friends. Avoided relatives. I threw away my phone. Stayed home alone. I went for walks all alone.
In a way, I thought I was preparing myself for the Ultimate Detachment.
* * *
~ My toe hurt so much, I had to sit down on the floor, beside the cupboard. I leaned in and looked inside once more. Suddenly, I saw a flicker of joy in one dark corner. I cleared the mess a little and found bundles of happiness, almost overflowing.
It made me smile a little.
^ ^ ^
One day, as I was returning home from my then routine lone walks, a car crashed into the sidewalk just a metre ahead of me. I fell down from the force of impact. My heart was in my mouth. The man walking ahead of me was crushed under the car, crushed to death. I was numb from fear, but I also felt something else.
That night, as I lay on the bed, I realized that what I felt was a relief. Relieved that it was not me under that car. I wondered why I felt that way, I was going to die anyway. The accident would’ve made it happen faster.
I thought of the man who died, prayed for him. Did he get out of the home that morning knowing it was the last time he would see his loved ones?
Then I thought of me. How I knew when I would be dying. And what I was doing in spite of it. I had a chance to say sorry, to say I love you, to say goodbye.
* * *
~ I took a clean cloth and started removing all the unclean contents of the cupboard. I dusted the shelves, cleaned the drawers and wiped the contents clean. Slowly, all the good parts emerged. There was joy in the big shelf, celebration in the rack, re-unions in the corners, and contentment in every drawer!!!
^ ^ ^
It was tough, but I had to do it.
I got in touch with all my loved ones, even the people I had lost touch with over time; I apologized for the mistakes I had made; I forgave those who had hurt me; made right all my wrongdoings and reminded my loved ones how much they meant to me.
Everything began to change.
It felt wonderful.
It felt like life.
“ If there is one thing that teaches us the value of life better than anything, its death.”
Life was like that. Good and bad. Happy and sad. Clean and messy. It’s the cleaning up that matters.
And I had lived.
And 6 months later, when everything was finally cleaned up, and I was still alive,
I cleaned my cupboard. ;)