A Message From The Dead

When you want to get away from everything transpiring in your immediate surroundings, the best getaway is getting lost in your phone. Scrolling reels at low volume can mute the chaos of conversations around. That is what I was doing when I received a notification about a message from my father. It read, “Hi,” and about 10 seconds later, attached came a photo. Reading it from the notification bar made me so happy that I almost forgot that he was no longer in this world.

I felt like calling the number right away and asking him where has he been and when is he returning. But as soon as I opened the photo, the excitement was crushed. It was the insurance claim document that I was supposed to mail for the other formalities in order. My mother found it convenient to forward it to me from my dad’s phone. And here I was, not realizing that the conversation with this number had ended. I wonder what my mother was thinking when she typed hi !

Within that 10-second gap between the first and second messages, my trail of thoughts had begun. I had prepared a list of questions to ask my father, even formulating his casual responses to my intervention. An intervention that was never going to happen. All it took was 10 seconds, but the conversation in my head seemed ten detailed minutes long. When you lose someone, you think of many things you could have said to them to comfort them or yourself more.

This message opened so many possibilities to a question I posed myself, “What if I could have one phone call with him?” On other days, I am not very vocal on phone calls, but knowing that this would be the last one, I would want it to go on much longer. This call would go on to blabber things I could never say and seek forgiveness for things I should’ve never said.

Experiencing a loss gives you a perspective on the world and a lot about yourself. Especially if you have never experienced a heavy loss before, it is a ride through a tumult of emotions. These are not just sad and miserable feelings but even bouts of anger on how things could have been different. Of how you could do nothing to save them, although you may have tried everything possible. Could you have should have tried harder?

The two years of the pandemic have seen a grief wave. For those who lost someone to COVID-19, I feel you too. The anger and pain you feel are a lot deeper. Because you probably did not even get the chance to say the last goodbye, feel the touch, or see them one last time. All of this was for the greater good of keeping you and others around you safe. The pinching feeling of not being able to conduct the last rites on them may sometimes keep you wide awake at night. It can get traumatic. It is a situation that hasn’t got a closure. You need to be truly appreciated for how far you have come. If you are reading this far, find this a comforting hug from someone who does not precisely understand what you feel but knows what loss is.

The loss slowly seeps within as you start getting back into a routine. Several people are asking you to distract yourself, get busy, etc. Although they all mean well, give yourself time to be upset. Pent-up emotions barely do any good. Unresolved grief can bring on more grave mental health problems. So wallow, but don’t swallow your feelings, especially the negative ones.

It took one message from my late father’s number to put me in a state of denial. After that, I started to reject the reality of his demise. I held conversations with him that I could never have. I sometimes, to date, think about what, if any, miracle still gives me a chance to communicate with him. What will I say to him, or will I say nothing? I live in these what-ifs, which I can write another essay on.

But to complete this one, I’d frame a reply to that “Hi,” which got me to write this. My response was, “I hope it was painless. Know that we are safe here, and until we meet again, I will meet you in my memories, and together we will live along!”


Writer by day, an overthinker by night. I let my thoughts flow through my writing. As a definite misfit, I let my words speak louder than my actions. Welcome to my journey of sailing through emotions and experiences, with words as my paddles.

Follow Riddhi Jadhav

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