As a teenager, I used to think about Mother Teresa’s insights on life and death. I could not understand why she was keen in guarding human dignity at the edge of death. In those young days I was impressed upon with the Protestant Emphasis on Salvation through Faith. I looked upon ‘this World life’ as utterly futile. Though I highly regarded Mother Teresa as a matter of Christian pride, it was difficult for me to consider the worth of such acts. I opined that to enact such such deeds of love, in times of utterly hopeless situations like death was simply a waste of energy and time. However when Mother Teresa spoke about dignity in death, it was more than simply a good burial. It took me years to understand the sanctity of ‘this World life’. Consider the fact that the complete expression of Christ’s love was evident to us who are living. No wonder the psalmist says: “The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave.” In every miracle of Jesus, every healing and every deliverance, it was mercy and the sanctity of this life that had prompted Him. If there was no Sanctity of this World-Life, then He would not have cried at Lazarus’ tomb. Now, after many years, it all makes sense to me.
Actually I do have a joyful story to tell you. This year’s summer camp was amazing and Life-transforming.I can look at it with a certain degree of pride and tell you all that God has done. But I want to keep that story for the next week. Today, I am weeping. I am going to recount the sad story of this beautiful baby boy named Taimur.
Last Year in the month of October, I had featured a story titled “Acssah’s recipe to happiness”. It was the story of Umatul, an expectant mother, who is also blind. Umatul’s joy was complete when a week back she gave birth to a baby boy, whom she named Taimur. Umatul was not in Lucknow then. But after he was born, parents noted that he was vomiting every drop of milk he was consuming. Umatul being blind, could not see all that was happening. Very soon, he turned yellow. When Tara and Tina came to know about Umatul’s child, they took the baby to the a nearby Catholic hospital. Soon Taimur was diagnosed with Sepsis and Jaundice. The pediatrician also noted that Taimur was not passing stools properly. On further check, and further consultation, they realised that Taimur had an obstructed intestine. An ultrasound was done and it was confirmed that Taimur will need surgery as soon as possible. But Taimur was already sick and highly malnourished. The pediatric surgeon informed us that Taimur might live 10 -15 days under Intravenous Infusion. If he is removed from Intensive Care, he might not live more than a few days. The doctor also informed us that even if surgery is successful, there is only a chance of one in hundred that he would live. We were at the point of making a decision. The family was ready for surgery. We had to wait a few more days. In the meanwhile, we tried to get a second opinion and also arrange for some more funds. The parents and the extended family were in deep sorrow. Taimur’s grandmother cried: “Poverty is such a curse; no one should have it.” It seemed an impossible decision to make. If we somehow manage the surgery, will he still live? But if we take him off life support, he will surely die; yet he will die at home. Umatul being blind could not see her child. All that she wanted was to take the baby in her arms. Taimur’s father too was helpless, being crippled in one eye and handicapped in one leg, he was almost helpless to go around to help the family. Finally, Umatul made her decision. She said: “Let him die in my arms.”
Taimur was taken out from intensive care last sunday. We knew that there is almost no hope in Taimur living. Yet, we just had to give him into God’s hands. Taimur started drinking his mother’s milk and the parents started hoping that it might turn good for him. However Taimur started vomiting profusely on wednesday morning. On thursday we received the news that Taimur is no more.
I cannot project this story as a matter of our pride. It is just a story of love. It is a story where we saw the dignity of human baby in death. Poverty robs that dignity. “Poverty is such a curse…” Grandmother’s statement still echoes within me. In the midst of this poverty, when a poor man dies, the manner of how he dies gains momentous significance. A significance that proves that all lives matter; this is the Sanctity of life.