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Keeping up the promise


This is the story of a man who as a volunteer had helped a HIV positive woman get admitted to the care centre when she was very sick. He was motivated to help her, even though he was not in any way related to her, nor had any prior acquaintance with her. He made a promise to her that he would do her funeral in her own village. And he kept that promise, even though her entire family including her husband abandoned her, and did not even want to take part in her funeral.

This is the story of his experience, translated as closely as possible from his own sharing.

When we tried to support a lady in our village, her family asked “Who are you to come and support her?

We felt bad about it, but we said nothing. She and her husband had seperated a few years ago and he was married again. Her brothers lived in a nearby district.  We took her son’s address. Her son is in the same town, but he was not coming. He receives phone calls from us and keeps saying I will come, but he does not come.

Her neighbors had kept a pot outside from which she could drink water

The lady was suffering a lot and said just give me some poison. Let me die

She had not been taking medicines regularly. She could not come and take medicines every month.

Her in-laws were not taking any action to support her. Finally her neighbors came and said let’s do something. They went and brought her son from town.

We told him that he should take care of his mother. He agreed, and they got her ready to go to the centre. He simply brought her in the clothes she was wearing.

He got her in the car and left her here in Kustagi and went away.

The care centre staff saw her and took her to the ward and gave her medicines.She was very sick. Later they called told me that she had been left there. The son had actually agreed to take care of her in the centre. But he did not. He simply left her and went away.

When I met here here 5 days later, the lady cried to me. She said, “My son has left me and gone away.”

I tried to console her saying that people here would look after her.

She felt she was troubling the people at the centre. I reassured her that she will get better.

I spoke to her for some time, asked her what she wanted to eat, and then told the staff about it. She wouldn’t tell them what she would like to eat

She felt very bad that there was no one of her family with her. She asked me to go to her village and send somebody to look after her.

But there was no one to send. She felt very bad that she could hardly even walk, and even if she wanted to go to the bathroom, others had to support her.

I went back and tried to convince her family. But they were not interested. They said she was no longer their concern

I contacted her brother in Bellary, but he said he was busy with work and could not come.

I contacted her son again, but he was also not willing to come.

For three months she stayed here at the centre, after that she was able to walk a bit, eat on her own. She was better.

Then she had another worry. She asked me, where she will be buried after she dies.

I told her we will do it wherever you want us to do it.

She asked what if the centre people simply do it off here only.

I said they wont do that, don’t worry. They will inform me.

Whenever I call, they tell me about you.

She said I want to be buried in my village. If you do it, you will get ‘punya’. I reassured her that I will.

When she died, I conveyed the news to her husband. He said he had already cut all ties with her, and he did not want to be involved.

Her son was also way. We could not reach him.

When I asked her brothers, they said you do the funeral wherever you want to.

I felt very bad. But I had promised that her funeral will be in her village. So I took the body to her village

I went ahead with the funeral rites. Her son was not there, her husband was not willing to come.

Her brothers called then and asked if they have to come to Kushtagi for the funeral. I said, that I was doing the funeral in her village only

They asked, where will you stay. I said if I need to, I will simply stay in the bus stand.

They that after having come into their village, I should have at least a house to go to.

They said lets go and talk to the husband. I said I had already spoken to him, and he had said he did not want to be involved.

But they went and spoke to the husband

Her husband was angry. He said I have already refused to come, has this man brought you here to fight?

They said he did not bring us here, we brought him here.

He spoke disrespectfully to them for some time.But they said he has brought her body here for the funeral. How can you not be a part of it.

How can this person who has come specifically to do her funeral stay in the bus stand and do her funeral. They spoke to him for some time about respecting a dying person’s wish, about respecting the fact that she had once been his wife and they had spent some years of life together. Finally they convinced him and we carried out her funeral in the village only, just like I promised her.


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