Mourning my Own Death

By Shefali Seetharam

She hurried to her table, dragged her chair, pulled out her pen, and then she scribbled something on her favourite diary. As she scribbled, tears rolled down, flooding through the pages of the diary, erasing her words and leaving behind only the stains of ink.

“Sniya, Are you Ok?” asked Anisha with a worried tone.

Anisha was Sniya’s roommate and she was always concerned about Sniya. They shared a very special bond and Anisha would never let Sniya suffer alone.

“Sniya, Are you Ok?” Anisha asked once again with even more worried tone.

Sniya was staring at her diary, as though she was reading something. Although she was only reading an unwritten story.

“Sniya”, Anisha screamed, and this time, Anisha’s scream touched Sniya.  Sniya turned towards Anisha and she poured out all her pain through her tears and wept till her heart drained.

After which, both did not speak anything for few hours and only the silence spoke.

“I had waited for this day for years, yet, not for this day”, Sniya finally spoke, breaking the suffocating silence.

She flipped the pages of her book, which was released on the previous evening and then she read the ‘Dedication page’.

This book is dedicated to my aunt Dr. K. K Vijayalaxmi, who has been my inspiration and a ‘second mother’.

There was silence again.

Sniya was 23-year-old bubbly girl, who had lots of passion for writing. She was an absolute dreamer and authoring a book was her biggest dream out of all. She dreamt of becoming an author from the time she could spell it. She would spend most of her time writing stories and poems. She would at times, read it to her friends and teachers. She always lived in her ‘Fairy-tale world’. She was the princess of her story. She was happy and cosy in her shell.

One day, Sniya was in her Journalism classes and suddenly, something struck her mind. An idea! She asked herself, “Instead of piling up my stories and poems, why shouldn’t I compile them and publish it.” She immediately discussed this idea with a friend of hers who was sitting next to her in the class. “Not a bad idea”, was her friends reply. This acted as a word of motivation to Sniya.

She impulsively telephoned her dad and even before he could say “Hello”, Sniya began her confab, “I want to tell something to you…….”.

“Sniya, I am busy right now, can I call you in the evening or is it really urgent?”, inquired her dad.

Even though it was too urgent for her, Sniya said, “No pa, it is not so urgent, we can discuss it in the evening”, and then she disconnected the call.

That day, she couldn’t wait till the evening, minutes seemed like hours, and hours seemed like days. She was conquered by restlessness.

Finally, her dad called.

“What was that you wanted to say in the morning”, he asked.

“Pa, you know that I write stories and poems, I want to compline them, and bring it out in the form of book”, She told.

“Are you sure that, you will be able to do this? I hope that this is not one of your impulsive decisions”.

“No pa, I will be able to do this and I will not give up in between”, she told.

Her words were promising to her dad, so he asked her to go ahead and work on the project.

Sniya was too happy and excited. From the moment, she got the permission from her dad, she set into action and she started working on her book. She, re- read her work, edited it, typed it, re- read once again. She spoke to one of her Professors, to proof read her work. Luckily, he agreed. She spoke to the cover page designers’, photographers’ and also the printing press. It took her almost six months to do all this, but she did it with lots of commitment and she enjoyed every bit of it.  Just like a, to- be mother who struggles yet enjoys every stage of her pregnancy, Sniya too enjoyed it.  The book was almost ready and now it was time for her to plan for the book release event.

Sniya always wanted her aunt to release her book because she always looked upon to her as a source of inspiration, a guide, and a second mother. Her aunt was a Professor at one of the Universities. She has seen her aunt work day and night for the benefits of the students and also others. Her aunt was an ideal teacher too, and more than that she was a good human.  So, it was not difficult for Sniya to decide the chief guest for the day.  Invitations were printed and only one day was left for the big day.

The previous evening of the release, Sniya asked her dad, “Pa, will aunty be able to come tomorrow?”. Her dad shook his head in disagreement  and told, “She might not be able to make it for the event tomorrow. But she wishes that the show must go on”.

Her aunt was in the last stage of Cancer and she was hospitalized. That night Sniya couldn’t sleep, thinking of her aunt. All night her dads’ words were ringing in her ears, “The show must go on”.

The day had finally arrived. Her day. Sniya’s big day. The stage was set. Before the event began, Sniya’s aunt telephoned,Sniya’s dad and she asked him to convey her regards to Sniya as she didn’t want to speak directly to Sniya because, she didn’t want Sniya to know that she was losing her battle. She didn’t want to dishearten Sniya.

But Sniya had already sensed that there was something wrong, but she stoned her heart by saying that “The show must go on”. Not because she wished for this day for years, but because this was someone’s last wish.

The book was released without her aunt’s presence. Sniya smiled with lots of pain in her heart. It was time for Author’s speech. The Master of Ceremony gracefully invited Sniya to the mike and the stage was all hers.

She flipped the pages of her book, and then she read the ‘Dedication page’.

This book is dedicated to my aunt Dr. K. K Vijayalaxmi, who has been my inspiration and a ‘second mother’.

She wanted her aunt to hear this, but the words went unheard.

As the event ended, Sniya’s dad telephoned Sniya’s aunt to tell that Sniya has released her first book, but before he could convey it, he received the saddest news of his life, that his sister has been shifted to ICU and she is taking her last breath.

Sniya and her family rushed to the hospital, and Sniya was carrying her released copy along with her. Sniya was allowed into the ICU, as doctors had given up hopes and they wanted the patient’s family members to see her, before she took her last breath.

Sniya held her aunts’ hand, and cried, “Aunty, see my book has got released, I want you to see my book. I want you to read it, please see it”.  Her aunt pulled her last painful breath, and the nurse handed a glass of water to Sniya and told, “Pour it to her mouth, it is over”.

May be that’s what we call a mother’s heart. She held her breath tight, just for Sniya to keep her show going. She might have pleaded the destiny to delay her death, not for her sake, but for Sniya.

Sniya’s aunt was released from her suffering, but she left Sniya shattered. She finally didn’t read Sniya’s book. The author was born, yet died. Sniya waited for this day for years, yet, not for this day.  Her book was placed at her aunts’ feet. The book which should have been in her aunts’ hands are now at her dead feet. The book which should have been in her book shelf, will be in her showcase framed for ever.

Days have passed,

“I had waited for this day for years, yet, not for this day”, she silently says it to the emptiness around her.

Sniya’s story doesn’t end here. Though years passed, the pain in her never got healed. Sniya neither laughed nor spoke like before. Sniya would often fall sick. She would always findlumps in her body. She would rush to the doctors, they would examine her and tell her that those lumps are normal body lumps and they are not dangerous. Sniya wouldn’t believe the doctors, she would change doctors. She would cry all day, thinking that she too has cancer and no one is detecting it, and one day she will die out of cancer. She will have to leave behind her successful life, her parents and everything around her. She would think that, like her aunt, she will also be just a memory in others life.

After a long time, she meets her friend Anisha and Sniyatells her everything, what is going on in her life. Anisha suggests her to a Counsellor and Sniya decides to meet the counsellor. She explains her problem to the Counsellor and the Counsellor tells her that, she has a condition called hypochondria.

“Hypochondriasis or hypochondria is a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness.Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured them that their concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, their concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease. Many hypochondriacs focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue. To qualify for the diagnosis of hypochondria the symptoms must have been experienced for at least 6 months”, explains the Counsellor.

After few sessions of Counselling, Sniya realises that so far, she was not mourning her aunt’s death, and she was mourning her own death. She decides to live at the present moment than being tangled between past and future.

Sniya decided to live her life happily, ever after….

About the Author:

Ms. Shefali S K , is a researcher scholar in psychology at St. Agnes PG College, Mangalore, Karnataka. Earlier she was working as Assistant Professor in the department of Psychology, SDM College, ujire, Karnataka. She has writing as her passion.


One Comment

  1. An hypochondriac’s feelings and mental frame well explained!

    Quite often, fear of disease, more than the disease per se, takes a heavy toll of people’s lives!
    Imagination at its peak all the time, going to spoil an otherwise healthy life!
    An aspect of life seriously drawn into the active thinking process lends itself to fruition- positive or negative -as exactly as one anticipates!
    Let us be careful about emotions for it may ruin one beyond correction!