Losing someone is extremely hard as it is. Knowing that you will never be able to speak to them; never be able to hear their voice; and most of all, not be able to come to term that the person isn’t there anymore. All these realizations come after the person has passed away. What about when they were alive and you didn’t get the chance to hear what their last words could have been to you?
Rehan and Aseem were best of friends ever since the first grade. They had gone to the same school as well as the same college. Aseem had lost his father at an early age and was the only child of his parents. His mother decided to stay as a single parent and cater to the needs of her son. Rehan, however, had a whole family with a younger brother and an elder sister. Rehan and Aseem were so alike and bonded so well that they were like twin brothers from different mothers. Their friendship brought the two families so close that they became one big family.
After college, both Rehan and Aseem went to different cities for work but their friendship remained intact. They would frequently visit each other and make numerous new memories like their old days. They visited their home together during holidays and would have their entire family under one roof. At times when Aseem was not able to visit his mother, Rehan would go to her and look after her. He would spend time with her that she wouldn’t feel the absence of Aseem in the house anymore.
Years passed by and their bond and schedules remained, more or less, the same. By that time, Rehan’s elder sister, Shivani, had gotten married to a heart specialist and Rehan’s bother, Arav, had finished his graduation and had planned on starting his own business. Aseem had also found a girl, Rabia, who he had been dating for a while, and was getting serious with her. Rehan had also met Rabia a few times but he himself lacked behind in that area. Rehan had dated a few times but could never maintain a constant relationship. Life was normal for everyone, until one sudden day Rehan met with a car accident.
The accident changed Rehan’s life. Immediately after the accident, Rehan was given proper medical care and hospitalized. Rehan’s family came to see him at their earliest possible on hearing the news. Rehan had incurred some serious fractures but they were repairable. The doctors told the family they could take him home within a week and after two months of bed rest, he may also be able to go back to work. However, as soon as he was discharged from the hospital, Rehan quit his job and decided to move back home. Aseem, and everyone along with him, found this decision to be very hasty and irrational. They tried to convince him to go back on this decision but Rehan kept his foot down. Slowly, everyone came to term with his decision but Aseem still urged him to continue with his job or look for one back home. Rehan finally decided to join Arav’s business and help him grow. After that, even Aseem came to terms with it.
Because of Rehan’s accident, the whole family got to meet Rabia. She stayed by the family’s side the whole time and left only when Aseem decided to go back. Everyone admired her being there and supporting the family. Rehan had already approved of Rabia but he gave his ultimate stamp of approval six months after the accident. Aseem asked Rehan for his blessings to marry Rabia. Aseem had planned the proposal even before the accident but had to delay it due to the unfortunate circumstances. Rehan had fully recovered his fractures by then and paid Aseem a visit to help him with his proposal. Aseem, along with Rehan and Rabia’s sister’s help, proposed Rabia on a sky lit roof of a restaurant and Rabia instantly jumped in joy and said yes. Rehan went back home after two days and Aseem decided to save some vacation time, so that he could use that time during his wedding. He had already used most of his vacations during the accident so now he skipped on some family holidays as well. During this time, his communication with Rehan was reduced to almost null. Aseem’s calls either went unanswered or were answered by some other member of the family. Even when Aseem would talk to his mother about Rehan, She would tell him to concentrate on his work or to think about his wedding and would change the topic. By now, Aseem had started to feel that some things didn’t quite add up. It was almost two months for Aseem and Rabia’s wedding when everyone urged him to come back home for a visit. He agreed to come but somehow he was a bit late.
He reached home to find his house empty. He went to Rehan’s house where he saw Arav waiting for him. Arav’s expressions were that as if he’d seen a ghost. Aseem tried asking him what had happened but Arav only asked Aseem to come along with him. They drove to the city hospital, when Aseem asked him Arav if there has been another accident in the family. Arav’s eyes became watery but he slightly nodded his head saying no. Arav took him to a room, where he found everyone surrounding a bed with Rehan lying on it. He was hooked to a ventilator and was unconscious. Aseem’s mother was already in tears and Rehan’s mother started crying as soon as she saw Aseem and hugged him. Aseem was really confused and really taken back by the whole view. The doctors explained that Rehan was brain-dead and wanted to be taken off the ventilator once Aseem had arrived. Tears came flying out of Aseem’s eyes and he simply stood there in shock. He could not move and his throat got tight. He wasn’t breathing for a moment, until the doctor put a hand on his shoulder and he started to breathe again. The doctor handed Aseem an envelope and told him that Rehan had asked the doctor to deliver it him once he was here.
Aseem- My brother,
I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. Just the way you couldn’t have imagined what I had been through when I found out I have, well by now it must have been had, a brain tumor. I wanted to tell you the moment I found out about it but I knew you would have left everything that you worked to build and come to help me, in whatever way possible. But my fate was such that the tumor had already exceeded so much that it couldn’t be cured. I knew you were planning to propose Rabia, even before my accident. Well that’s when everything changed for me. I had a stroke because of the tumor while driving, which caused my accident. I found out after that accident that I didn’t have much time left. I decided to come back home and spend the rest of my days here. I planned on helping with your proposal and your wedding so I started my treatment on chemo but I don’t think all my plans would succeed.
My situation has now descended beyond repair. There are times when I can’t remember the date or even my own name. Shivani’s husband presented my case to his colleagues, hoping to find a cure or another way out but even they gave up. I know how hard it is for everyone here to see my condition and I know it would be harder for you, that is why I have had everyone do me the favor of keeping this a secret from you. Plus, I wouldn’t want to see you and not remember who you are.
I know you will be furious at me and everyone else, for keeping this a secret from you and I know I have no right to ask anything from you at this point, but I need you to do me a favor too. Once I die, I want you to grieve for the maximum time of a week and not a minute more than that. My life has been wonderful with you in it and now it has come to an end. It will be my end, doesn’t mean you have to stop living too. After all the grieving, you would go back to living your life and get married to the wonderful woman you have chosen to be your wife as you had planned.
I wish there was some cure for this and we wouldn’t have to depart in such a way. I am not sure if there is an afterlife or not but if so, I will always be looking after you.