Do you know what a death watch is? Do you know what it feels like? Do you know how long it lasts?

I had read about death watches but have experienced a couple up close. A little over 10 years ago, I had an up close experience with watching my father die slowly, but not as slowly as my next experience. For the last 13 months, my wife and I have been on one, and it is not an experience that is to be recommended to anyone.

My mother, a hitherto lively and rambunctious and sometimes difficult lady to manage had a fall (maybe as a result of a blackout, or a stroke, we will never know for sure), and hurt her head, with internal bleeding on Valentine’s Day 2018. I was recovering from a total knee replacement surgery in both knees and was still not walking anywhere near normally. But then began the nightmare that to a greater or a lesser extent continues till today. Greater extent??? Haha, that is a joke. Apparently a person who has had a stroke (and my mother may have had more than one) can easily develop a kind of epileptic seizure, that resembles the effects of a stroke. At 2am on the morning of March 26th, 2019 she had that seizure. She just was unable to speak or eat or drink anything after that.

As I write this, all I see is a human skeleton, who has glazed eyes, a still expression and no other reaction. Her right hand and right leg move, but her left side is useless. Every day brings a new crisis. Often it is with her absorption of Oxygen. We have 2 Oxygen cylinders at home, an Oxygen concentrater of high capacity, an IV tube with fluids running into her veins. We occasionally try and give her fluids orally but there is always the danger of her choking.

Oh, how often I have wished that God simply takes her away. But he is not doing this. For God’s sake she is 4 months past her 95th birthday! She has a zero quality of life. I was advised to pull her IV fluids line, keep her oxygen going (a comfort measure), and let her simply fade away. Why can I not do this? I do not know. I have lost count of the number of times I have broken down and cried like a baby. I wish God would guide me and show me the best way forward. NO, I WILL NOT TAKE HER TO A HOSPITAL, YOU HEAR ME?

if we take her to a hospital, I will be washing my hands off from what is essentially my problem. She will be stuck with tubes everywhere, intubated, put on life support, injected, blood drawn for an army of tests, and will die in discomfort and misery. Instead, I have chosen misery for my dear wife and I. My wife has been a pillar of support as has been my doctor brother living in the US. I would have been lost without them.

The death watch continues………..



Sticks and stones don’t hurt, but

Words maim the mind, leaving thoughts

That filter through chaos, spreading

Like a cancer,

Threatening sanity,

Destroying reason.


The mind that welled

With love, Emotion

Barren now of warmth,

Seeks filling,


And darkness find seed within.


Finds a way

To destroy

Feeble defences, built

In casual companionship


Like a forest fire, and like

A rabid canine, bites

The mind that feeds it.


It begins,

The beckoning, the magnet

Of death draws closer,

Lifts its veil, and reveals

The peaceful abyss,

Of a sleep

Without end.


When wounds start

To heal, your words meant

To help, open

Fresh wounds, unknown

To you, and the healing



My heart will not


To me, it says

You must help

Heal, but words, spoken

Written, thought, none

Heal, but they open

Fresh wounds.


How am I to heal? Is

Silence better, more

Golden, safer? My heart

Says no, silence is

Cowardly, you must

Help heal, it opens

Fresh wounds

Within me, and the ears,

And eyes,

And heart meant

For my words;



Do you ever feel that your life is full of words that you have said, spoken or written without fully understanding the consequences of what you have done? How often have you looked back at your life and thought to yourself….”I wish I had never said that”? Life is full of missed opportunities for unpeak.

Unspeak is the act of taking back your words of the previous minute, the previous day, week, month or year. In such a manner that you had never said those words, or written them in a letter, email or a text message. Whatsapp allows you an instant delete feature, but it does not allow unspeak. I think nature has been unfair to us by not awarding us the facility of unspeak.

Not sure whether you feel this way or not, but my life has been full of opportunities for unspeak. I remember writing love letters as a teenager, that I actually mailed (ahem, then it was snail mail), which I could never take back. Or, of saying I love you to someone and not meaning it. Of saying something hurtful to someone and not realising it till much later, when it was too late.

Is silence a better option than “speaking your mind” (which includes writing it too)? At least then the need for unspeak disappears. But is that not a cowardly way to live? I have said and written many things, some true, some not so true, that I wish I had not. I cannot take them back, and no amount of apologizing or retraction will make up for those blunders when they occurred. In a careless review of an employee’s performance, I once made a hurtful comment. The comment was not intended to be hurtful, but hurt it did. I was never able to convince that employee that I did not mean what I said.

“The truth shall set you free”. Who is the moron that said that? I do not think it is a valid saying. Saying nothing rather than saying something hurtful is preferable in my opinion. As often as not, when I have tried to be blunt and honest, that bluntness and honesty has risen and bitten me in the ass. That is when I have wished for the feature of unspeak.

Will science or technology or the newer AI and all its tools one day invent a way of creating unspeak, where something that you have written, spoken or messaged can be unspoken in a way that it not only disappears from its hard form, but also disappears from the eyes, ears and minds of the recipient of the original “speak” which necessitated the concept of “Unspeak”?

I want to hear from others if they have ever felt that unspeak is a desirable facility to have in one’s life. Do let me know what you feel. I am signing off in this post as……….

Mr Big Mouth



Hell hath no fury,

Said the Immortal Bard,

Like a woman scorned, he

Spoke the truth, and how

Was I to know the full force of fury,

When wronged.


She begged me for names,

For dates,

For places,

For happenings, again

And again,

And again, but

The blunder was to

Not understand

A woman’s mind, the price

To pay for

The truth.


The flesh is weak,

The spirit is weaker,

I have loved, and

Lost, not knwoing

The price of truth.

Who was the fool

Who said, “the truth

Shall set you free”

I am in chains, and unable

To avoid

The fifty, the hundred, nay more,

Lashes she gives me, every

Minute, every

Hour, every

Day, wishing

For death to set me free

From the price of truth.



The love that defied

All logic, all

Reason, all

Sense, but was


And sensitive,



I gave her

My soul, my

Heart, my

Everything, but she

Wanted more, she wanted

My past, my present, my


The betrayal, the

Heartbreak, the duplicity, the

Pretense, the desire to possess was

Stronger than her love, her

Professed love, her

Unreal love,

Which concealed another motive.

My heart lay at her feet,

Withered, crumbled, broken

In a thousand pieces, she

Shrugged her shoulders, as if to say



Betrayal of love, of

My heart, my

Passion, my

Hope, all lay

At her feet, she

Stepped on it all

And left.



The wait won’t be too long now. Something in my bones tells me that it will happen soon. A new start, a new life, a new reason to live.

My other mocks me again, but faintly this time. Its voice is drowned in optimism, layer after layer, sandwiching the other. Like a lasagna, almost cooked to perfection.

The conflict began some years back. Like one of the Balkan wars, it went unnoticed for a while. It started with my other corrupting my body. This went unnoticed by me. My body gradually gave in to the other’s ministrations, without any resistance, until it was too late, and the discord was too great.

You, my other, betrayed me. With every new start I was convinced that life had begun again. What came before was immaterial. Life was new and to be lived from scratch. I was eternal, I was young, I was indestructible. My body felt like it would be of the same age forever. You allowed me this self-deception. In fact, you created this self-deception.

You turned my mental clock back with every new beginning, so that the discovery of life began anew. My place in the newly ordered, or re-ordered universe was sought and secured. My work, my life’s planning, my outlook was at the end of a continuously changing kaleidoscope. With every turn, the arrangement of my life within the universe took a different form. How beautiful it seemed, how deliciously uncertain, not knowing what new triangular, octagonal or square arrangement would emerge, and my life ordered again, albeit briefly.

I was indestructible, my other. You led me to believe this, to trust in a judgment, which had been doctored by you, and to believe that my itinerant mental and physical condition was perfect. Cigarettes did not harm me, I smoked so little… and was alcohol not good for me? And food, glorious food. I ate, and enjoyed what I ate. You took what I ate and drank and the nicotine based poisons as your own, to do with what you willed. You worked diligently while I slept peacefully, oblivious to the start of the conflict.

My mind started to mature. It finally reached the age of 36. I calculated this based on a set of complex arithmetical calculations, which I learned from you, my other. My mind is still fresh with the sparkle of youth, laced with the spice of maturity, which is only now manifesting itself in my conscious mind. My other walked the length of that counter some time back, unbeknownst to me.

My physical body began its decay a long time before I knew it. My eyes were focused on the kaleidoscope of emerging patterns, a movie that never ended, and a plot that a Shyamalan would die for. The characters were only three. I, my body and my other. Three parts of a whole, that worked and fought in absolute harmony. My other, like the rebel marking its territory with violence, worked on my body, in total indifference to my place in the three-way equation. The discord only began when I started to see the effects of my other’s handiwork. The first time I clung to the walls of a squash court, feeling darkness creep over me, and telling myself that I should have not done this on an empty stomach. I was still convinced of my indestructibility, my eternal fount of youth, and the perfect balance in my internal solar system.

You, my other, deceived me. For this, I will never forgive you. The being whose internal universe is in harmony is blissful. You have created discord of a kind, which cannot be resolved in the halls of Brussels, or in the corridors of Geneva.  From a perfect three-dimensional harmony created by my God, you have destroyed two cogs, and left yourself the only perfect element of God’s creation. As an element of man, you have undone God’s perfect work in two ways.

You have led me to believe in my own invincibility, when the genetic code God entrusted you with showed you otherwise. You suppressed this information and caused me to blasphemously believe I was God. This not only made me lose my harmonious code, but also not realize that I had lost it. Serious as this is, in my human eyes, it is still the lesser of your two transgressions.

The greater transgression in my eyes is the destruction of my body. Equally despicable as the actual destruction is the stealth with which you have accomplished this deed. Cell replacements went awry, fatty deposits appeared on organs. And, yes, how about arranging polyps in the digestive tract, just as a tulip seller would arrange his wares outside Central Station in Amsterdam? The poison in the blood stream came next, silent and lethal. On blood reports they looked innocent, and as if the body had had a temporary lapse. Surely the next one would show that all is well inside. You played with the genetic code God had entrusted you with, and like a child may destroy his favorite toy, you destroyed my body. These were covert, undercover games for you, much like the CIA may play.

When the covert part of your operation was complete, you decided it would be much more enjoyable to now bring my body and I into closer contact, so that I may actually witness and experience the results of your years of hard work. Was it the first time I lifted a rope stanchion, and walked under the arch it created, instead of over it? Or was it even earlier when I balked at using my hands to support a quick leap over a fence? Was I aware that my body may let me down? When I held the top bar of the fence in my hands, preparing use them as a fulcrum for my leap, why did my hands tell me not to do it? Did you put them up to it? Were you afraid of a grievous injury, my other, which even you may not have survived?

Or was it when my body told me that it was fatigued beyond the normal limits induced by exercise? When every action, every motion was an effort, and energy sapping? Do you remember how you screened the real cause? That was a masterstroke, my other. Tweak a gland here or there, and wreak havoc with my metabolic set up? Nice work, bringing me closer to understanding the masterpiece of decay my body had become.

Gradually, as a brocaded silk cover is lifted off a masterpiece at an opening, you revealed the depths of your treachery, and how well you had accomplished your task. My body connived in this betrayal. Now it is asking me questions I cannot answer. My other has completed its work, and is waiting for me to come back into harmony with it and my body.

You exercised your power over my body, my other, but not over my mind. My mind is more powerful than you are. It may not be capable of reversing the damage you have done, but is capable of now exercising greater control over my body. You cannot touch my feelings, the passion I feel, the dreams I have, the love I can give and get, the anger, the rage, the humility, the kindness, the selfishness, the sharing, the possessing, the giving.

I can force a new beginning in my life, and make my body and mind feel young and energized. I am leaving my old life behind, and starting a new one tomorrow. There is nothing you can do to stop me, my other. Wring your hands in despair, gnash your teeth, and bemoan your fate. One day your evil work will take this body away from me, but until then, my mind is still its master.

I can feel it in my bones.

The nursing supervisor must have been very attractive in her younger years. The traces of her beauty obviously lingered. She had arched her eyebrows, and mouthed words to the duty doctor in an exaggerated stage whisper, imagining I was not watching. I smiled and said, No need to hide anything from me. I am going to be fine, don’t you understand. I know I am starting my life again. You don’t understand, do you?

Why do they ignore me? Can they not hear what I am saying. Hey miss, I am talking to you. Yes you, as she looked at me. She did not answer. She put her hand on my forehead in an almost loving manner, and absently stroked my head. Her hand felt cool to the touch, and I felt like closing my eyes. But I needed them to understand what I was saying, suddenly this seemed very important to me. I opened my mouth to speak, and heard my own words, but it seemed to make no impact on them.

I reached out to grab the Nursing Supervisor’s hand, but for some reason I could not find it. I heard the young, harried looking doctor put the lid back on his ball point pen with a loud snap, and say, Well that is it then. If Dr. Connors says it is over, then it is over. Pull the life support, and complete the paperwork. I am around for another half an hour at least. He yawned as he completed the sentence. He took another look at me, his expression softening in what I took to be pity, or was it regret…..?

My friend, my love, where are you. Where have you gone? This is the hour of my need. They do not seem to understand that I am going to be fine, and that there is nothing really wrong with me. My time has not come. Only you can understand what I am saying, and I need you to explain it to them.


Second one this week, said the nursing supervisor, without looking up from her paperwork. The nurse intern looked up from the computer screen. You mean….?

Yes, and this one was particularly bad. He came in with chest pain and breathing problems some weeks ago. But he was a goner. He was in delirium most of the time, and kept muttering about some kind of a war he was in, or had been in, and how he had won. The last couple of days he was quiet, as all his body functions started to shut down. Dr. Gregorian told me his labs and tests were so bad, it was hard to believe he made it to the hospital. Well, it is over now. Whatever war he fought, he eventually lost.