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A father’s lament

By Naadira Chhipa
Wrinkled old hands desperately search the night stand for his spectacles. He cannot remember if he placed them there last night. He cannot remember what he had for dinner last night.. his memory just like his eyesight is giving up on him..

His frail legs feel weak as he attempts to get out of his bed.Is it morning already? Where am I?As his tired old eyes search the cold beige room he is met warmly by the morning nurse…She greets him with a familiar smile, hands him his medication and helps him out of bed… his legs just like is eyesight and memory is giving up on him.

He knows this place well, it has been his home for almost a decade yet every morning he wakes up wishing it was all just a bad dream, hoping to see a face he can call family.. alas his family gave up on him before his eyesight, memory and frail legs did.

He sits on a wooden chair outside with his tasbeeh in hand, sweet whispers of zikr escaping his parched lips. He loves this chair as it is the only piece of his previous life that he was ‘allowed’ to bring with him. He feels the heat of the sun warming his body yet never reaching his heart.His heart is giving up on him…. just like his eyesight, his memory, his legs and his family did.

He retreats to the common living area to visit his only friend, an old man with a young soul who lights up the home with his laughter and jokes.

Everyday he meets his friend and shares the same memories of a beautiful life once lived. Memories of the love of his life, his precious wife who passed away decades ago but his heart and soul would never allow his mind to forget her.

He remembers the names of his 2 sons as he proudly states that one of them is a doctor, the other an engeineer.He talks fondly of his little grandson,tears escaping his tired eyes as his heart yearns to meet him again, perhaps just one last time. He has not seen his family in over 3years….

He carefully thought them how to walk, catching them before they could fall, the same children sent him a walking aid on his birthday….

He lovingly carried them on his shoulder showing them the world, the same children are far too busy to come visit him.

He sacrificed his own needs and wants in order to give them a comfortable life.. the same children do not even call him to ask if he is alive or dead.

This is a man who was the sole breadwinner of his family for over four decades,he struggled to make ends meet and did extra hours of work to put his children through university. Today he is alone in an old age home surrounded with nothing but vivid memories of a life once lived for company..

His eyesight gave up on him, his legs gave up on him, his memory gave up on him, his heart gave up on him.. his family gave up on him… and finally his life gave up on him……

Now they will come with tears in their eyes and regret in their hearts……

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