TODAY -

Dying young: To Achui with love

O.T. Ramshan *

RIP Rest in Peace



What could be more excruciatingly painful than to witness your dear one struggling to breathe when the physical body could no longer hold the being? Even when you know that the soul is about to leave the living body you just don't want the wrath hand of dead snatch away your beloved one. You seem resolute in trying to stop the spirit from leaving the dying body.

And yet very sadly, as the eyes close and the heartbeat stops you certainly know that the end has finally come. It's indeed painful to experience that moment when a family member of yours would stop breathing right in front of your nose. And as the womenfolk start wailing over the dead body, you are filled with emotions and memories of the person lying breathlessly at the corner of your house. 22nd July, Tuesday 3 am, my beloved cousin sister who was more than a real sister to me, breathed her last.

A thousand memories flashed my mind even as I gazed into the lifeless body of my cousin. Then a line from the Bible came rushing to my mind as a grim reminder of how short our life is..."Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there..." And as I ponder over the shortness of my cousin's life, lines from Robert Herrick's 'To Daffodils' from our high school days too suddenly popped up my mind...FAIR Daffodils we weep to see you haste away so soon........we have short time to stay as you, we have as short a spring; as quick a growth to meet decay......or as the pearls of morning's dew, ne'er to be found again....

Achui (Wungchuichon), as I would love to call her in short and as also everybody in our neighbourhood and all her friends in school call her by that name, was the third child of my aunt's four children; an ever cheerful and ever helpful young girl, she was an envy of parents in her locality. Fair in complexion, she was the healthiest among the four siblings as well.

No one would have ever thought that she would die at such a tender age. Words of mirth never stopped coming from her mouth wherever she went, even as she entertained young and old alike. After completing her plus two (science) from Saint Peter's higher Secondary School Shillong in 2012, that ever cheerful cousin of mine came back to Imphal for attending coaching classes at COMETS. Fresh from her school, she was like a blossoming cherry in the woods where birds of different hues come flocking. She really had a good friend circle.

Then I came to know that she was a beautiful person inside and that's what matters in our human relationship. She possessed that beautiful quality of making people happy when they are sad with her jovial talking. Patience, generosity and cheerfulness were the hallmark of my beloved cousin. We were staying together in a rented house at Naga River before the state government acquired this part of land for its own purposes. Life was really beautiful then.

I could still see that impish grin on my cousin's face sitting at the corner of our rented room even as she played pranks on me. Laughter and gay filled our short stay together here at Imphal. Perhaps one of the fondest memories with my little cousin was our ride to Kakching rose garden just before she was diagnosed with a life-threatening terminal disease.

She'd always wanted to become a nurse in her life. But luck would have it that she missed the 2013 B.sc nursing selection by a whisker both at RIMS and at NEIHGRIMS and yet there wasn't any bit of letdown from my little but brave cousin sister. Her desire to become a nurse just didn't go away from her mind even when a dreadful disease was wearing away much of her healthy body, as I had to drove her at Regular English School Kwakeithel for the nursing entrance exam in June last!

It was in April that I took her to a doctor for an eye check up as the vision of her right eye had become quite blurred. Upon examining, the doctor told me that there had been a defect in her retina since her childhood days and that lens will not be able to correct her eyesight again. Nevertheless the doctor advised her to wear a spectacle with a lesser power to see if there's any chance of getting back her vision in six months' time. It didn't last a month.

By the first week of May, the vision of both of her eyes became so poor that she couldn't even read out what she had written earlier. I was totally moved by her condition. So, we went straight to an eye specialist at Rims road. That was on 14 May. After a very detailed examination the doctor finally concluded that Achui's case was Retinopathy of which the doctor said that there was no complete cure for such defect. And when the doctor checked her Blood pressure, to his utter surprise it was hovering at 180/120.

That was a total hypertension! Sensing some possible kidney damage, the doctor immediately referred her to one nephrologist at Raj Poly Medicity where to my total disbelieve, the KFT showed a shockingly unacceptable result. I felt like a gust of busting wind choking my respiratory track. Her serum creatinine level had already gone up to 5.1mg of which the normal range is supposed to be within the range of 0.6-1.4mg! The inference of the ultra sound further declared that she was suffering from Bilateral Renal Parenchymal disease.

Then I realised my cousin's kidney had already failed. Looking at her face as we drove back home, I just couldn't accept the reality that a loving sister of mine would become a victim of kidney failure. "The only option left at this stage", said the doctor "was either to go for dialysis or search for a kidney donor and transplant it".

Where on earth do we get the money, for undergoing dialysis as it is a very expensive endeavour! And the thought of searching for a kidney donor was so hard to come by keeping in view of the acute financial position of our family. We were in a fixed. Of course I didn't tell her the truth but I did tell her that she was having some problem with her kidney and that was the reason why she was losing her vision and further assured her that the doctor was going to fix the problem. God knows how and why I lied to her.

On the other way round, thousands of uneasy questions poured into my head. Why at this tender age, how did it happen, when did it start, why couldn't I detect the least symptoms, do they have family history of kidney problem, the questions were unending. Time seems to be running out quickly for us. Soon enough she stopped taking food and nausea and vomiting became a daily phenomena and once a healthy and a cheerful Achui, now became dim, timid, thin and weak.

Despite knowing the sheer truth that her final sojourn on this earth is coming to an end, I ran from pillar to post trying to get some possible help so as to keep her renal function going at least for some more time. But every possible attempt to save her was just too late and finally on 22nd July she closed her pretty dark eyes forever to sleep never to wake up again.

Well, I love her so much. So does everyone who knows her. She was just 21, a young promising youth who'd just started to bloom and who was just too naive to comprehend the mystery and sufferings of life. She was just too young to die. I've lost a sister, a friend and a wonderful companion. I'll miss her for the rest of my life. Good bye dear Achui, until we meet again in heaven!


* O.T. Ramshan wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on August 04, 2014.


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