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Life’s Fragility and Finality

Life is short, and we are just tiny parts of a much bigger picture
01:00 AM Jan 21, 2024 IST | Syeda Afshana
life’s fragility and finality

In the crowded hospital corridors where sounds echo abrasively, where hope and sadness meet, life unfolds with its blend of happy and sad moments. This is not just a story of what happened but a look at how we deal with someone’s death and how we usually forget this most certain part of life, which is Death.


It all started with an elderly person, someone dealing with many health issues. She got admitted to the hospital, a place where every step is filled both with optimism and negativity. The patient’s body was fragile, dealing with multiple problems, each demanding enormous attention.


Though the doctors were behaving as careful performers for treating one issue while being guarded because fixing one thing was prone to worsen another ailment. For instance, giving antibiotics for a chest infection led to diarrhoea and decline in kidney function, a side effect nobody wanted. For the medics, it was literally walking on a tightrope, trying to find the right balance.

Then, one evening, things took an ugly turn. The elderly patient, while fighting her deteriorating health, took her last breath. It was a quiet peaceful moment, like the final note of a swan song. The ward was filled with the weight of woe, mixed with thoughts and questions.


The dear and near ones began suggesting ways things could have been done, wondering if another hospital and team of docs might have proven finer to save her. The feeling of “this could have been done differently” floated around.


The next day, during the condolence meet, something dreadful and saddening happened. A well-read person, in his early sixties, while discussing various life issues at the funeral, suddenly felt dizzy. He was moved out of the room.


Unconscious, he was immediately rushed to the hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead. Cause, a massive heart attack! The shocking part was that he was suffering from no serious health issues. It took only 15 minutes for him to expire, and there was no chance to save him.


The second death left no space for arguments, ifs and buts — not even a chance to discuss what they call the ‘golden hour’ in cardiology, those critical 60 minutes following the onset of cardiac arrest symptoms.

As everyone tried to process this unexpected tragic loss, a simple truth stood out starkly—Death is inevitable… ‘Every soul will taste death’. It doesn’t wait for any ‘right’ time; it has its own calendar that doesn’t alter a sec. Every one of us has to face it. However, we tend to forget this fundamental truth. Easily. Every day.

These moments of loss and reflection teach us to stop and think. Life is brief, and death is a part of it. Instead of getting lost in the complexities of our daily lives, let’s take a moment to appreciate the short time we have.

The moot point is as to why do we humans forget the one thing that is certain: death? Life is surely a fleeting moment poised between our birth and our death, and we simply fail to remember it.

We overlook the impermanence of life, the fragility it carries and the unpredictable twists it takes in a jiffy. We often get lost in our plans, and the idea that things will stay the same forever. The reality is that each of us is just a traveller on the same journey, and we will all meet the end. The destination is dust. Eventually. Anytime.

Life is short, and we are just tiny parts of a much bigger picture. Life is even too short to be small. To act small, to live vain. As such, being kind and compassionate becomes even more important when we acknowledge the briefness of our own voyage here on this planet.

So, in the face of fixed and definite mortality, humility becomes crucial. To do well for others, and let go of the idea that “I” am the centre of everything. It’s in this humility, recognizing life’s shortness that we discover the true meaning of our collective course —a passage where, in the end, only the echoes of kindness and compassion remain.