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Asmita Bhattacharya (Lung Cancer Caregiver): He Gave Us Lessons Through His Letters

Asmita Bhattacharya (Lung Cancer Caregiver): He Gave Us Lessons Through His Letters

It was 2002 or 2003, and I was about four years old. We are from Banaras. My grandfather was a lawyer and practised in Mumbai. He used to visit us once every two or three months.

Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Once, we learned he was working on a fascinating and challenging case. He even encountered threat calls regarding that case. We were so worried that we forced him to come to live with us. He was supposed to stay for around ten days. Suddenly, he started to complain about his health. My father took him to the hospital in Varanasi. Doctors told us that he had some general issues in his stomach. The doctor asked him to be on medicine for a while. He was fine after taking medication. Everything went back to normal.

But suddenly, after some days, his health condition started to deteriorate. He went through some tests there, and doctors told us he was diagnosed with stage 3 Lung Cancer. He had very few days left with him. This news just devastated us. He was only 55 at that time.

Lung Cancer Treatment

We didn't lose hope. But doctors said taking him to Chennai for the cancer treatment would not be beneficial as his body could not handle vital medicines. Doctors said he would live up to 6 months to 1 year. He was not bedridden when the treatment was going on. He was able to walk properly and do everything. He used to play with my brother and me. He was a joyful person overall. And that is why it was so hard to believe what the doctor said. So, my grandmother decided to give him everyday food, along with medicine. We didn't want him to live his last few days under strict restrictions. We made sure that he got to spend quality time with us. Unfortunately, that year itself, on the 5th of July, he left us.

Letters for life

Later, we found he had left letters for each family member. It was so overwhelming. He wanted to make those letters private to each one of us. I had five letters. As I remember, my father received three letters. Each letter was dated. We were not supposed to open those letters before that date. In my letters were poems about how to let go and move forward in life. He wrote pieces of advice about parenting in the letters he wrote to my parents. He wrote about his experiences with his father. He wrote about my brother that he would be rebellious, and that is precisely what happened. He touched our lives with those letters. Those letters tell me different stories when I read them from time to time at different life stages. Those letters are our treasures, motivations and inspiration in our lives.

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