A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Life lessons

Posted by Pepper on January 20, 2015

Dear people, thank you very much for all your prayers and wishes for Daddy. I am still trying to find time to reply to your mails. I will get to it as soon as I can. I know I asked you guys to pray and then I vanished from this space, leaving everybody in the dark. I am sorry. I haven’t had a moment’s respite in the last few weeks. Daddy passed away 10 days ago. I am still a little numb.

I keep linking back to an old post so that people who read the blog get some context to who he was. But going by the messages I get, looks like people still don’t know. Daddy wasn’t my biological father. He was my dad’s elder brother. He was just another father to me. Please read that post if you care to know more.

Although he was unwell, we were still unprepared for what happened. Because he wasn’t that sick. We knew we were treating him in the hospital for an abscess that had caused a severe infection in his body. We thought he would come out of it. I don’t know at what point things began to go downhill. Daddy and I were chatting with each other in his hospital room one evening. He told me to make a move since I had been in the hospital all day. I said bye and I left. That was the last conversation we had. The moment I got home, I got a call from S mummy saying they were shifting him to the ICU because his BP was falling.

From then on, things only went from bad to worse. The doctors told us that the infection had spread far too deep and the medicines weren’t working. They were still trying their best. They said the body was dealing with septic shock. They looked so bleak while talking to us, we really didn’t know what to make of it. Were we supposed to hold on to hope? Or were we supposed to prepare ourselves for the worst? The mental tug of war I faced at this time was highly traumatic.

We would sit on a chair in the waiting room outside the ICU from morning to night. Each time the doctor called us, our hearts would stop. They only had bad news for us every time. His BP isn’t picking up. His kidneys have shut down. They need to start dialysis. He needs to be put on a ventilator.  His cardiac reports show some bad changes. It all seemed like a nightmare. And yet, the doctors couldn’t commit either way. They told us they ‘are trying’. We had no choice but to go through the wait.

It was so exhausting, both mentally and physically. I got to see daddy when he was conscious at one time and it totally broke my heart. He had a million tubes going through him, one through his nose, one through his throat, some needles through his hands, some through his thighs. He was in agony and was trying his best to pull them out and break free. He asked me to help him. I don’t know what he meant, but those were his words. The helplessness we both felt made me feel sick. After that, they kept him sedated.  I was glad they did.

I would think a million times to even step down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. What if something happens in those few minutes that I am gone? What if the doctor calls us for something at that very time? I had a million thoughts racing through my head at all times. Surprisingly, I made a ton of friends in the 10 days we spent in the hospital. I realised when people are in pain, they tend to be more empathetic. They had their family members battling it out in the ICU too and we all understood how each of us felt. Every time I stepped down for coffee, I ended up chatting with somebody who was going through what we were and I came back feeling a little lighter.

We were almost living in the hospital, but how much exertion can the body take? We had to come home to atleast shower and get a few hours of sleep each day. Mint would sit outside the ICU each night while we would come back home. It was really hard to leave, but I agreed with people when they said we couldn’t stay there forever.

Unfortunately, being at home was proving to be another nightmare. We would jump out of our skin each time the phone rang. We thought we were more at peace waiting outside the ICU. We tried getting some sleep at night but they were wasted attempts. Our senses were hyperactive. And almost on cue, the phone rang at 2 am every night. Mint would call to say his BP is getting too low, the doctors are asking all family members to come. And we would try to still our hearts as we rushed to the hospital. I wondered if we had any connection with the time? How did it always happen at 2 am?

Since we spent the entire day in the hospital and also had to make a frenzied trip every night, we were practically running on NO sleep. I wondered if it was possible. Now I know it is. We would sometimes doze off on the chair while waiting outside during the day. It was very disturbed sleep, ofcourse. One night as I lay in bed after going home, I could hear the sounds that the hospital elevator doors made each time they opened and closed. Every few minutes, I even heard my cell phone ringing and realised it was my imagination when I looked at the screen. I knew I was hallucinating too much and that I needed to sleep.

Just as I fell asleep, the phone rang. Yes, at 2 am again. Mint said the BP was just too low this time and despite them doing their best, they were unable to bring it up. As usual, with our thumping hearts and rickety breaths, we rushed to the hospital. When we got there, the doctors shook their heads and told us they couldn’t do anything more. The BP was too low and it would eventually drop, till nothing remained. We were allowed to be by his side in his last few minutes. It didn’t take too long for the line to go blank.

The grief didn’t hit me hard at that time. We just held hands. I was most worried about my father and S mummy, and how they would take it. But they too seemed to display great strength and courage. The ordeal wasn’t over, because we had to go through the last rites and the ceremonies that followed. They sent his body to the house and that is when I allowed myself to shed a few silent tears. I am yet to allow myself to break down. Mint did not want me to come to the crematorium, because watching the pyre would be too traumatic for me. But I wanted to be there till the very end and so the sister and I decided to go. My amazing and super strong papa was the one who completed all his last rites. We have all been very brave. I love my family so much.

I am sorry for writing such a heavy-hearted post, but I really wanted to put it down here. I think I have learnt a lot in the past few weeks. The grief hits us very hard at times but I have learnt to be strong. And although I am not going to go through the ordeal again by reading this post, I want it to be there to serve me as a reminder. Life is very fragile. Life is short. This whole episode has also made me paranoid about losing my parents. Even the thought of them not being around is unbearable. But when the terror starts to creep in, I hold myself and try to focus on the present. We really need to learn to make each day count. I have already stopped caring about what the world thinks or says. Instead, I do things that make me happy. Although I did follow this to an extent, I am going to be more intent on living my life this way now.


PS – I can’t get myself to proof read this post. Please bear with the errors.

44 Responses to “Life lessons”

  1. singhruby said

    The other day I was wondering about his health, thinking there is no update about him. It is indeed very very sad and I pray God give the strength to the bereaving family to face it. May his soul rest in piece.

  2. Hugs and strength. What you learnt is valuable. I learnt the same when my grandpa passed away. I won’t share the details because you are already very stressed. But, make each day count is what I live by too! 🙂

  3. Big hugs Pepper.. very sorry to hear about your daddy. It was heart-breaking to read the post and brought back some very dark memories from the past. Hugs again.

  4. Arch said

    Oh god! I knew something was wrong. Prayers to you and your family. Reading your account hurts us, so can only imagine how it felt to live thro. Take care and be good. Be strong. Lots of good wishes and hugs your way.

  5. Bikramjit said

    OH God.. my condolences. I dont know what to say. I can understand what you said and it brought some memories of 31st dec when I was told the same and on 1st jan my brother in law passed away, the doctors were unable to get his bp up. Life is so fragile and we take it for granted .. it takes a few minutes for those lines to go straight

    you take care of yourself pepper. I hope god gives you the strength to bear the pain. hugs your way be strong and take care of others around you ..


  6. The Bride said

    So sorry for your lost. My condolences to your whole family and virtual hugs to you.

  7. Trish said

    So sorry for your loss,Pepper. I remember reading your other post about your Daddy. May he rest in peace and I hope you and the rest of the family find the strength to pull through this trying time.hugs

  8. May his soul rest in peace.

  9. Sia said

    So sorry to hear this Pepper. Please be strong..

  10. Boiling said

    I am sorry about that pepper. My condolences.

  11. Saying anything roght now would be so superficial. My best friend just lost his father and I just spoke to him for the first time after that day. So giving you a big hug. 😦
    Lets never ever ignore our bodies and health. I realise it all the more now.

  12. meghajamba said

    I know how it feels… Lost my dad a few years ago. Life still moves on…
    May his soul rest in peace!

  13. srividhya said

    I m so sorry. Will mail you little later. Take care.

  14. Ramesh said

    My condolences. Must’ve taken a lot of courage to write this post.

  15. Deepa said

    (((Hugs))) I don’t know what else to say..

  16. I’am so sorry for your loss Pepper!!

  17. The earlier comment got posted abruptly…. May he rest in peace and be happy wherever he is…. I pray that you guys find enough strength to deal with this…. Hugs !!

  18. Hugs,Pepper!

  19. D said

    Hi Pepper, Sorry to hear this..:( May his soul rest in peace, hugs to you and family!

  20. Pepper! I am sure he is always with you and looking at you. It’s a difficult time for the family and may the force be with you. I’ve been through that and emphatize with the feeling of losing ‘Dad’. The last minutes spent together are always special.

  21. I am so sorry about your loss peppy. 😦 I dont know what else to say.

  22. Kavs said

    So sorry Pepper 😦
    The worry of losing my loved ones wears me down – but like you said we need to make every day count. Take care Pepper – give yourself some time.

  23. anisnest said

    hugs Pepper.. May God give all the strength to you and your family to sail through this tough time.. hugs again!

  24. Strength to you and your family.. big big hug and little pat on your shoulder for holding up so well..

  25. seema3 said


  26. Bhavani said

    So sorry to hear Pepper…my condolences to your family….please take care..


  27. Anita said

    Dear Pepper,
    I am sorry for your loss!!May God give you and your family the strength to survive this.I have been a silent but faithful reader of your blog, but I had to delurk.Take care and may he rest in peace.

  28. Aravind said

    Heartfelt condolences. Sorry for your loss. Death of a near one has a way of changing the way we lead our lives. It is like meandering off course. Though it takes time for emotional recovery, it would be good to cherish the memories of the dear one . They last forever. Take care.

  29. Prachee said

    Hugs Pepper..
    Stay strong…take care of yourself and your family..

  30. Arch said

    Hugs Pepper!!
    My condolences to you & your family. I know it’s hard!

  31. Condolences on your loss. Death of a loved one changes the way we look at life. My FIL passed away last year and it was a sudden death( he was fine in the morning, had a heart attack in the afternoon and was gone by evening). Know how we changed as people over the next few days.
    Wishing you and your family the strength to get through this difficult phase.

  32. Deboshree said

    Take care Pepper. Take good care of yourself and everyone around you. Hugs.

  33. Preethi said

    Hugs Pepper! May you find strength to get through these difficult times.

  34. Deepa said

    Love you so much pepper darling. I cannot even begin to express very well how sad I feel for you, S mummy, your parents, sis and your dad and mum. I am glad for Bade papa that you were there with him thru out, that the last thoughts he carried with him to a better world was of you and daily rallying together for him. No better solace to have in your last moments.

    And yes all of you were very brave. sorry I haven’t written back to you yet. Will write soon.

    Do convey mine and Manoj’s condolences to the entire family and especially S mummy. Give her a huge hug from me.

  35. Hugs dear! I am so sorry to hear this. I pray god to give you and your family the strength to go through this phase.

  36. Ramani said

    So sorry for your loss! I had been a silent reader of your blog so far- wanted to respond today to offer my condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, take care.

  37. pixie said

    Hugs Pepper… Sending you and your family prayers and strength..

  38. Elle said

    I am really sorry for your loss. I have been following your blog for a while now, and when you didnt post the past few days, this is the post I had been dreading. Sending you hugs and prayers for you and your family.

  39. Atul said

    May his soul rest in peace.. Stay Strong

  40. I’m so sorry to hear about this. i know that nothing i say will make things any better :(. Hope you and your family find the strength to get through this.

    And i know exactly how it feels to be paranoid about losing parents, the thought haunts me every other day. But like you said, its important to live in the present and make sure they know we love them. Its the only thing in our hands,sadly.

  41. MR said

    Condolences on your loss. Take care .

  42. S said

    So sorry for your loss Pepper! You and your family are in my prayers. Hugs!

  43. surbhisinha said

    May your Daddy rest in peace .. Its a big big loss .. huge and prayers for you

  44. Jack Point said

    Dear Pepper

    I am so saddened to hear of your loss. Although I do not know you personally, please accept my heartfelt condolences.

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