Dr. Mrs. Sunita Jain July 13th, 1941 – Dec 11th, 2017
It was Nov 12th . I was waiting for my taxi to the airport after a busy week in India. She had asked me to be there to help with some property matters and documentation. Begrudgingly I had made the trip.
As I said goodbye and got into the taxi, she turned around and told my brother “I will never see Ravi again”
My sister was quite upset at her and scolded her for thinking this way. She just listened.
But she knew. In fact she knew a long time before that.
In February earlier that year, before any indication of her illness she wrote this poem. Her diagnosis of a rare blood disorder wasn’t until August.
This was in her last volume of poems titled “Aisey Jaane Dena” which loosely translates to “Let me go like this”. The title said everything – she wanted to go in her own way, with a feeling of dignity, remembered how she was all her life – a strong, independent, successful woman – not a frail, sick one.
In September she gave me a letter/poem.
I disregarded it as a writer’s hyperbole.
She had such a strong sense of self awareness and perception, some say she had ESP, she knew that she was in the very last page of the last chapter of her life. But she didn’t show it, she didn’t wallow in self-pity, she didn’t ask anyone to take care of her. She stood strong and slowly started wrapping up her affairs. When she finally got the diagnosis of a rare, untreatable blood disorder in August, she still carried on, very well knowing her time has come. We of course were in denial and were expecting to get a year or two more with the right medical care and support. She just listened to us and nodded, she took all her medication and smiled. But she knew.
In the last few months she stopped seeing anyone except her children. She wouldn’t see close family, she told friends she was fine and will see them soon. She knew this was not true, but she wanted their last memory not to be the way she was then. She was to go on her terms with her own sense of dignity.
Around the house we found notes scattered everywhere. Notes about things that she had wrapped up. Notes about how her work was done. Notes about her leaving.
She passed away on December 11th. I was in airport in Rome waiting for my connecting flight when I got the word.
She never did see me again.