On May 1, 2021, my father died.
The day plunged my entire family into darkness. The pain crushed us all. While the biggest challenge was to fight the grief and do the necessary at that very moment, I grasped how little time we had in this world.
None of us actually know how much time we have left in this world. It could be a minute, a month or maybe years. As for me, my life came to a standstill on March 31, 2021 when I got to know that my whole family tested positive for Covid-19.
My initial response was taking my parents to the emergency department of a private hospital. The atmosphere there clouded my mind with fear and extreme shock after witnessing the devastating impacts of covid-19 in our country and the helplessness it has caused to each one of its citizens.
All the beds were full, and I was almost at the verge of pleading for a bed in the hospital during that time as my father's lungs were severely infected by this lethal disease.
According to the statistics of WHO, April was considered the hardest month for Bangladesh since the outbreak last year. I got a closer glimpse of it when I had to struggle for 48 hours before I was lucky enough to manage a hospital bed for my father which required me to use all the powerful strings that my family had gathered throughout the years.
Unfortunately, a cabin bed was no longer enough as his condition deteriorated after his lungs were further infected and oxygen level dropped. He was admitted on April 2 and due to the severity of his condition, he was immediately shifted to the ICU where he stayed for 14 days straight. While the doctors ensured a positive recovery while shifting him to the cabin on April 16, his condition worsened again on April 27.
The doctors informed that he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection known as "Septicaemia". An infection that was new to us. After undergoing a thorough research on this, my sister and I found out that this infection implicates a fatal response to one's immune system, primarily causing blood clots. The infection slowly results in the reduction of blood flow to a person's limbs and vital organs, ultimately leading to organ failure and eventually death of a person.
My mother and I were admitted in the same hospital too. Each night I had to put on a brave face for my mother. Irrespective of the fear of death that consumed us each passing night, I was extremely concerned with the source of funds that we had to manage on a daily basis just to ensure the best treatment for my parents, especially my father.
Coming from a family where I might call myself privileged enough to support the best treatment for my parents in a private hospital, I wondered every time about the hardships of others who were battling these issues. I used to clear the hospital bills with a teary eye and a helpless heart, silently praying for each and every soul fighting in that hospital.
Staying in that hospital cabin, I had an avalanche of emotions. A constant vision of that long, dark alley of 9th floor where the Covid-19 patients were treated and the glimpses of my efforts to sneak into the ICU department just to procure news of my father drain out all my positive energy even now and fill my heart with immense grief.
Apart from all these difficulties, the biggest challenge for me during that time was to break the news of my father's death to my elder sister who lived miles away. I could not find the right words to break the news to her then, and I still cannot find the correct words to describe her pain of never being able to see her father for one last time.
The night when my father went into ventilation, I broke down into tears for the first time in 28 days of the ordeal. I wanted to scream and gather the entire city to witness what I was going through. I wanted everyone to take me as a lesson and be aware of the worst that was yet to come.
After weeks of invasive procedures, several medications and a chunk of money spent, I could not ensure my father's return home, to his wife, to his son, to his elder daughter, and to me. If I put this story in a nutshell, just an hour of socialising in the last week of March 2021 cost my father his own life.
It becomes very challenging at times to console myself after trying to ensure everything within my range, be it managing blood donors, oxygen cylinders, injections or consulting doctors regularly or following up on all the medical reports. And yet I had to see my father breathe his last right in front of me.
I urge everyone reading this piece to follow the safety protocols and be aware in order to protect your loved ones, the ones that you are not ready to let go.
It might be difficult to stop our daily affairs for a pandemic situation when there is no solution in sight. But I really hope my story will provide a little insight of how deeply the world has been injured and how direly each person's conscious awareness is required to fight this crisis together.
Hence, the least we can do is be a little supportive, a little conscious, a little aware and a little serious which might offer us with a better vision of this worldwide havoc.
Lastly, to my beloved father, if you are listening:
"I was right next to you when you took your last breath. The pain of losing you is irreparable and I reel over it each day. The yearning to get a glimpse of your face never leaves my consciousness and my desire to hear your voice never gets replaced by any worldly lie and even if I am a hundred years old, the vision of your death shall still remain as fresh as it was the day I had to let you go. You used to ask me every day whether I loved you enough, so there you go baba, I love you with all my heart…"
Ayesha Siddiky is a Barrister-at-Law. She works as a legal associate in Shawn Novel & Associates.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.