“When youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies
Where but to think to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs”
(an extract from the poem Ode to a nightingale)
In the spring of 1819 when John Keats was writing the famous poem “Ode to a nightingale”, I can well imagine what he might have been going through. The poem presents a picture of the tragedy of human life. He wrote it when his heart was full of sorrows brought by his deteriorating physical condition and the death of his younger brother Tom who had died of tuberculosis.
Having lost my father-in-law to a cancer last September, we thought we had seen the last of the disease but clutches of death is looming around my family once again. Every time I recall the days I had spent last September, I wonder how I had lived through those entire nightmares; a leukemia patient, a chronic cancer patient, my daughter with her broken wrist and a bedridden grandma at home. Dreading to pick up phone every time it rang and trying to stay calm in front of my children was very unnerving and the scene replaying again.
The past one year had taught me things that I hadn’t experienced. Being married to the eldest son in the family is a responsibility in itself where everyone in the family looks upon me for support while the reality is that I am badly in need of support myself. But I have survived and I hope to endure all the huddles once again.