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FORGOTTEN – DEATH – FORGOTTEN! – Satish Bhatnagar, Ph.D.

Life is an interlude between two deaths! One death is of the body – the mortal remains, which can occur on the very day of its birth, or it may go on for 365,00 days. The other death is of the very name associated with the image of a person. One may call it the essence or the legacy of a person. That keeps the dead alive in tangible objects, in the memories of individuals, or in the collective consciousness of a society or a nation. It then keeps influencing and inspiring the next generation(s) directly and indirectly. However, this may last from a single innocuous day to vibrating millennia!. 

Incidentally, after the second death, the field of life is level for every creature – humans, animals, birds, fish, trees and plants, though non-humans have only one death according to the human understanding of the non-human world. To the best of my knowledge, its  converse is an open question! Not going too far in this line of thought as that may start to read morbid, let me jump the gears and come to the point source of this spring of thoughts. 

A couple of hours ago, I received a text from my grandson about Lila’s death in India. She was 94, and seems to have dropped from a tree like a ripe fruit. It was a different kind of surprise for me as for the last couple of years, I had been under the impression that Lila had already died. It seems that this text brought her back to life for me, and then quickly killed her again – this time finally, both medically and socially. What a world of humans!

I can’t let this train of thought go away easily. Come to think of it that a person is alive, but is taken for dead by someone who had been close to that person at one time. It is an ironic mental game. Let me straighten it that Lila was not a casual acquaintance. We as a family got to know Lila and Milly, ‘twin’ friends, in 1974 (yes for 46 years!) within a month of our moving to Las Vegas, which then had hardly a dozen Indians (from India). We met each other almost once or twice a month at dinner gatherings at one house or the other. Over the years, we became close enough that both of them were at our every family function – birthdays , anniversaries and marriages etc. In fact, we missed a matrimonial tie with Lila!

Lila and Milly lived in a house near Sunrise Hospital, (the only private hospital then besides a small women’s hospital, and county’s UMC) where they joined as specialist nurses in 1972, and eventually retired from it. Lila and Milly were indeed pioneers amongst the community of India origin. 

After Milly’s death at age 90, that was 4 – 5 years ago, Lila moved to a small assisted living home for a brief period. Being lonely but with her senses still intact, she decided to return to India. She lived in her ancestral town in Kerala, the second smallest state of India. That is where the final curtain fell on the play of her life.

Simplicity is one word that encapsulates Lila’s life – whether it comes to her Christian faith, daily chores, food habits, lifestyle, and dealings with people, she always had a genuine smile. Being never married nor ever even having a boyfriend, was the ultimate aspect of her simplicity in life! Lila is at peace, because she was always peaceful!

Guest author Satish C. Bhatnagar is a mathematics professor at UNLV that he joined in 1974. He is the author of ten non-fiction books in six different genres.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the above article solely belong to the author Professor Satish Bhatnagar and are not an endorsement by The editor is pleased to provide as a platform for the community members to engage in intellectual debates, opinions, and discussions.

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