Musings after a funeral

The OH’s cousin sister passed away last week, at the age of 33, after a 5-year struggle with cancer. Her tryst with the dreaded disease began 5 years ago, quite unexpectedly, with a visit to a gynecologist, which went on to prove that she had ovarian cancer. The affected ovary was removed and a few cycles of chemotherapy later, she was fit and fine, and even had a baby girl. A year ago, though, the cancer manifested itself in the form of a tumour in her brain, and didn’t go away even after removal of the tumour.  It spread to various parts of her body and, one day, she stopped responding to her cancer medication as well. She succumbed last week, unable to fight any longer.

It was heart-breaking to visit her the last few days before her death, when she was in hospital. With an oxygen mask on her face, monitors bleeping everywhere, it was so painful just to see her, even difficult to imagine how much pain she must have been in. Every day, doctors would monitor her and tell us how many days she still had left in this world. They would say that she had 4 or 5 more days, or 48 hours, that she was sinking slowly but surely. It was torture on the family, not to mention on her.

How do you talk to the parents of a 33-year old girl who has only 48 hours left on earth? How do you talk to them after the girl has left them for ever? How do you assuage their feelings of guilt that they are still alive while their little girl is dying? All reassurances sound hollow, all words seem false. Life seems so unfair at the moment.

The funeral was all the more heartbreaking, with shocked friends and ex-colleagues attending. No one could believe that the smiling girl who always minded her own business had come to this. It was sad to see how some people visited just for the sake of gossip, prying into the heart of an already wounded mother and father, wanting to know the littlest of details about the deceased’s life. People!

She was one of the people I got along best with, in the OH’s family. A soft and sweet person, she always had something soothing and affectionate to tell everyone, including me. She ensured that I felt comfortable in my new home after marriage. She never lost that smile on her face, she never let on how much she was hurting, she was that kind of person. I miss her already. I can only guess at the grief in the OH’s heart – he has fond memories of playing silly, childhood games with her, of receiving scoldings and beatings together, movies watched and vacations undertaken together.

Her baby daughter is just 2 years of age, blissfully unaware of all that has happened to her and her mother. She smiles her innocent smile at everyone, and goes to everyone who picks her up. Thankfully, she never was much of a clinger to her mother, needing her all the time – I can’t think of what the child’s situation would have been today had that been the case. Is this what they call ‘a drop of happiness in an ocean of grief’?

Her ashes have been dispersed, and most of the relatives who had come down for the funeral have left. The immediate family is, slowly, limping back to normalcy, that is the level of normalcy that is possible for them now. They have to, for the child’s sake. The OH and I are helping out as best as we can.

I hope she rests in peace now, the peace that eluded her most of her adult life.

Friends, do keep her departed soul in your prayers, too.

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40 thoughts on “Musings after a funeral

    1. @Amit

      True. She never thought bad of anyone, and she was the one to go.

      Another point to ponder – had the doctor but hinted at the possibility of the reoccurence of her cancer, she would never have had a child. She took several opinions, and all of them concurred that ovarian cancer does not usually recur, at least to the extent that it becomes fatal, once the affected ovary is removed. Sadly, all the doctors were wrong.

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  1. So sorry to hear this, GND. Really tough times for all involved! Thoughts with everyone, parents, spouse, you guys, my heart goes out to that little girl. Hang in there! Hugs!

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  2. Prayers and hugs!
    The loss of a child, specially in the prime of their life is the hardest thing a parent has to face. Specially so for mothers, have seen it first hand. May God give them the strength and serenity to accept the loss

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  3. Just before I left for vacation, I wanted to SMS you asking about her but forgot amidst the packing and last minute work. So sorry to hear about your loss but I am glad her pain has come to an end. My wishes with her family and all of you.

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  4. hugs dear.. i am just thinking of the baby girl.. such things immediately make me think, what will happen to my little one if something happens to me.. just cant even bare the thought.. must be really hard on the family..

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  5. It is so unfair for the kid..Poor thing..And why such hardship has to be endured by nice people..The ways of the world sometimes does confound me…RIP lady..My prayers for your lil one!!

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  6. Life is so uncertain and every single day is such a great gift from god. I will certainly keep the family in my prayers. God bless her soul and the little one who does not even know the great loss. God give the little one the best of all.

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  7. My wishes to u and the family. I feel for the innocent daughter and pray that God guides her in life. It is difficult for the family to cope with the loss and more so, the daughter who is too small to understand,

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  8. Hugs, TGND, to both you and OH. I can’t even begin to imagine what her family must be going through. And her wee daughter, who can’t even understand what is happening around her. May you all get the strength to get through this.. hugs!

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  9. It is very unfair.The only fair thing is probably the child not understanding the pain of losing her mother at this age.
    I hope she grows up to be the same strong woman her mother would have raised her to be.
    Very sorry for your loss.
    May her soul find peace.

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  10. Really sorry to hear this, TGND! Pray God gives the family the strength to overcome this period.. And I can only pray for the little baby girl to get all the love and happiness she deserves.

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  11. Oh hugs hugs hugs TGND, to you and OH and the family. Its seems really unfair when God takes away people who should have lived very long for the positive influence they were on the family. I hope the little girl grows up to know her mother’s loveliness!

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