There he is, resting on his bed.
The machine keeps beepingevery other second, monitoring his heart rate. I forget I am in his bedroom andnot in a hospital. You can hear his heavy breathing echoing the room. He liftshis eyelids sluggishly but his eyes remain fixed, looking straight out of thewindow, unable to move. He isn’t the granddad I knew. He doesn’t look up tocheck who has come into the room. Have I become a ghost to him now? How did hishealth suddenly deteriorate so much?Granddad never met the stereotypical image of a grandparent.
I would never associate words like boring and old with him. His mere presencebought a smile to my face. His tall, six foot figure would tower over me but itwould never intimidate me. My mother used to say that everyone back home wouldfear my granddad. It was not only his height but his anger.
He had the shortesttemper. His rage was like lightning out of a blue sky. Granddad was darkcomplexioned and always had an exceedingly proud and attractive expression. Hisgrey hair was always finely combed. His voice was slow and he stumbled on hiswords at times.
Every time I would meet him he always was bursting with energy,eager to joke around and narrate all his countless stories of the past. Now, it feels almost strange remembering the last time I sawgranddad in his energetic form. It was during the summer of 2009, my secondvisit to Bangladesh. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, the heat scorchedmy body.
It was only early in the morning but the sun beat down. The air was likebreathing liquid fire. After an hour in the taxi, there was still a five minutewalk to granddads village. As we wheeled our luggage into our granddad’svillage, the spell of ground spices and curry made my stomach rumble.
Women wearing cotton sarees were drying theirclothes out in the blazing sun. I thought to myself, these clothes will betoasted in this glorious sunshine. Everyone was smiling and greeting us as wewalked by. As we moved further into the village, there were children runningabout enjoying themselves.
I saw a tallish figure in the distance, waving inexcitement. The figure was getting closer and closer. It was granddad standingwith his arms wide open with the greatest smile on his face. As I hugged him,the warmth of this hug made me forget the scorching heat. He sat us down insidehis house and the moment I slid into my chair I was served an enormous platterof food. Later that day he took me and my sister to the village shop and toldus that we could eat whatever we wished to our heart’s content.
I now understand why granddad would talk hours and hoursregarding Bangladesh. The simple life seemed so attractive and interesting.These people were able to live such simple lives without technology, yet be socontent. While our lives now revolve around technology, we forget those mostimportant to us.
We tend to forget the true meaning of life, of family.Granddad lived such a simple and happy life for many years in Bangladesh andtaking him out of his comfortable environment caused him agony which he neverrealised. The sudden shift in his health startled me.
It was due to this he left his homeland andmoved to London. I remember him complaining to my aunt ‘Why have you taken meto this polluted country? This environment will never make me better, I knowthat for sure! Eventually, he adjusted to the new environment and in theholidays I would to visit him at my aunts. When I visited him, he didn’t looksick. His stories of Bangladesh would last days. He would be able to take thestairs unaided and seemed to have a sharp memory despite being in his eighties.Then I stopped going to see him due to the pressure of GCSE’S. A good year went byand all exams were finished.
I made a visit to see granddad in the Christmasholidays. My aunt told me that he could no longer go to the toilet unaided oreven remember anybody’s names. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My aunt alone could not look after him;nurses had to come every morning and evening to look after him. All he would dowould be to sleep the entire day and stay inside his room with the curtainsclosed. All these thoughts made me forget that granddad is lyingbeside me.
I try and communicate with him ‘Hi granddad remember me, yourfavourite grandchild? He continues to stare at me. He says nothing. I keeptrying but nothing miraculous happens.
I stare at his deep wrinkles which seemto carve a map of his life on his still facial features. His eyes are framed bywhite eyebrows and on his stubble chin are white whiskers. Where is thegranddad I knew?Is that what old age does to a person? It makes you turninto a completely different person. One day, you are yourself and the next youare unrecognisable. You are no longer strong but frail and must rely on othersto help you do the basic necessities of life. It feels like a dauntingexperience pondering what old age will do to me.
But we are here for a coupleof days, life is not guaranteed. Like a flower we will lose petals and one daywe will be gone. Each day we must make the most of our time. Without death,life would go largely unappreciated.
Life is a blessing, death it’spreservation. Live for every waking moment, before it is too late.