I cannot explain how this is happening but I can see my uncle even though I know he’s dead. I can’t touch him or be anywhere near him, I can just see him as if through a window but that was enough for me. It was a miracle. Maybe God had changed his mind. Then I grow impatient and run towards him, give him the tightest hug I can and cry, cry desperately into his shoulder as I cling on to him not willing to let go. What if I never see him again, like the last time?
And then I hear a loud, jarring sound. I’ve heard it before. I open my eyes .Oh God, it was just a dream. Damn that alarm. I push the stop button on my cell phone and it’s silent again. When I finally sit up, and rub my eyes a couple of times, do I realize who I’d seen in the dream. It was my uncle who passed away 2 years ago. I can’t believe how much I miss him, even more so after the dream. It hurts to know that it wasn’t real.
My uncle’s death came as a shock to us as my aunt and her kids left a healthy man home when they came to India. A call at 1 in the night from Dubai where they live and a shriek from my aunt upon answering it made every one realize that their worst fear, when he hadn’t opened the door to his brother’s loud bangs on it, was true. But no one dared say it aloud or ask her directly. It was understood. Later, we found out he’d died of a sudden heart attack and since he was alone at home no one could have done anything about it.
I cannot even begin to imagine the sadness that my aunt might have felt then; perhaps even anger, frustration and guilt as to why she had left him alone. She is a doctor and it pained her even more, then, that she knew what exactly she would have had to do to save his life and she couldn’t. Fate, they all told her but it didn’t look like she felt any better. She now lives in the Dubai in the very same house taking care of her two little kids on her own. How many nights had she spent dreaming about him only to wake up to a life where she had responsibilities she had to handle alone? How many mornings had she tried to go back to sleep hoping desperately that the dream would continue and she’d see him again, this time a little longer?
As for me, the last time I’d talked to him was 6 months before the day he’d died and I regret not keeping in touch. I’d gone to Dubai for vacations and the night that I’d arrived he told me to sit with him at the table even after dinner was done and we talked and laughed. Later, he forced my aunt to serve us mango ice cream even though I told him I was full. I wish I’d asked for a second serving that night just to hear him talk. It makes me feel horrible that I can’t remember what we’d talked about. I’ve heard it makes one feel better to replay the last conversation they’ve had with the people they’ve lost in their head and I can’t even do that. All I have is a picture in my mind. But it’s a wonderful picture. A picture of my uncle and me at the dinner table enjoying a conversation and mango ice cream…
Dedicated to the best and the most fun uncle in the world..a man I truly miss and a woman whose strength and courage I respect, my aunt.
About the Author: Rumana Khan is a 2nd year MBBS student at KMC, Mangalore.
Editor: Ankita Singh.