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Everyone envisions a sound, healthy and independent retired life, but this unprecedented pandemic is very hard on the elderly.
I tried calling you the other day but somehow your number was incessantly unreachable.
For a while, I pondered, did you by mistake, list my number in the blocked contact list? Within a moment, I realised how silly I could be to even think this way.
I know you must have been engaged in some official work or meeting. What’s the new normal?
This pandemic has been so terrifying and depressing for all of us. It has turned our world topsy turvy.
With no place to go and talk to people, Corona has been acting tough on old people like your father and me.
Earlier, we would start our day early. Go out for a morning stroll. Meet and interact with people of our age. Share some health tips, discuss our glorious past, the times when we were young, bubbly and energetic; later, we would get back to our usual routine.
Your dad and I had been enjoying our retired carefree lives, spending the last leg of our lives thinking, talking about God and of course, you!
Your impromptu and unplanned visits to our house with your better half and kids, always made us ecstatic.
The realisation that you would be around us and with us for a day or two was enough to turn us a decade younger.
Your room…I always make sure it’s kept the same way you liked it. I would make your bed each day anticipating your surprise visits.
But this pandemic has snatched away even that ray of hope from us.These days, our phone conversations are so short and crisp.
There are days when we both sit with the old, tattered album, admiring your childhood snaps. Unbeknown to me, my fingers run over your chubby innocent face. I kiss it gently and hold it close to my chest as my tears do the talking for some time.
How I wish I had a rewind button to take life back to those days when you would fit comfortably in my lap. The time when appreciative pat or a gentle kiss on your forehead from me made your day.
Deep inside, I even cherish the moments when you would sulk and stay mum to prove your point or demand a new toy from us.
I apologise for sounding so vulnerable and nostalgic during these unprecedented times. But you know what…a month back, our neighbour Mr Mehra was tested positive for Covid-19.
Poor Mrs Mehra was home-quarantined while her septuagenarian, diabetic husband fought for his life. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the disease. No one was around him when he left for the heavenly abode.
His kids, who are living in the US, couldn’t reach on time due to travel restrictions. No one was allowed to even see his body. Mrs Mehra has been in a state of delirium ever since.
We tried consoling her but in vain. She is completely shattered.
That’s when this thought struck me; old-age makes one so vulnerable and emotionally challenged.
Everyone envisions a sound, healthy and independent retired life. But unexpected situations like this can break even the most powerful mind.
The other day when your father sneezed and coughed, I practically shivered from head to toe. A feeling that was new even to me.
The fear of losing your dear ones and the thought of death in old-age is overwhelming. The feeling seeps in slowly and tends to eat you up slowly.
Thank God he is fine now. Yet that fear has gripped me and is not letting me go. I have lost my peace of mind and sanity. What if something happens to one of us. How will we face things all alone?
Each day I type this message intending to press the send button.
But somehow, I don’t want to sound weak and fearful in front of you. I don’t want to disrupt your otherwise chaotic life. I know things must be really hard for you too…working from home, managing kids, running errands.
But sweetheart, this pandemic is a real curse for oldies like us, who are staying alone.
It’s in times like this when we want to be with you and stay close to our loved ones.
Dying all alone can be so depressing and unrewarding.
(Hope one day I’m able to shed my inhibitions and press the send button for you to read it.)
Image credits: Dragon Images/Canva Pro
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