Preeti, my best friend for fifty years, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in an advanced stage. Those schoolgirls who played hopscotch and seven tiles, stood by each other, shared confidences, married, had children and grandchildren, were now facing the agony of playing caregiver and patient.
As caregiver, my heart was breaking. The doctors’ verdict: “No hope.” She wanted to live; it had not sunk in. Her eyes would search mine. My own would answer full of compassion and love. Just 58, this thin, wasted body, with fearful eyes, belonged to my zestful, happy friend – too young to die! I would hold her hands; gently rub her feet or the sides of her aching ribs. She would direct my hand to the hard protrusion in her stomach, for comfort.
The psychiatrist came to see if she had any fears of dying. Very soon, she sent for me. We held hands and looked into each other’s eyes. It was all there – realization and acceptance in her eyes, pain and sorrow in mine. But both pairs of eyes were full of love and acceptance of a Higher will. This was the actual moment of bidding farewell – although a few days later she was no more.
– Coomi B. Singh,