- Rima Pande’s book reminds us that palliative care is as much about maintaining the functional routine as it is about a positive, uplifting attitude.
Do vivid metaphors help in bonding? Or is it the theme, the focus on one’s truth that engages? When writing about long played-out paralyzing illnesses, there is no easy path to take. The human being behind the diagnosis has to be revealed and revered.
In her book “His Voice,” Rima Pande delves into the mind of a deeply loved and tragically paralyzed father and a husband. His agony and powerlessness could have given him the identity of being just a “sick man.” But Rima unravels a little bit of the past, intertwines her unusual childhood into the plot, and then sticks to the maxim: everyone has a story to tell.
“His Voice” is her take on the world her family is thrown into when her father got his first paralytic stroke. With calm, reminiscent of her dad’s personality, Rima dwells on tortuous events in her beloved patient’s life with a thoughtful eye out for his dignity. It is clear that without deep respect and love for him, her mother could not have set a positive and happy tone in the hospital or at home. The book reminds us that palliative care is as much about maintaining the functional routine as it is about a positive, uplifting attitude.
It is all about framing the disability with a tender eye, not craving false assurances, not falling into disrepair as milestones are missed. Rima’s mother maintained the humdrum and the routine around her father with abiding cheer, even as options to improve dwindled. Her Voice thus touches on the value of tempered realism. It proves that finding meaning in loving someone with limited functionality is possible and is the most rewarding option in a momentous situation.
The book also reminds us that the disabled and dysfunctional have inherent dignity that the able and functional sometimes miss out on. What more, it is possible to accept and embrace and hug disability and make it our own. We protect and love and manage to get a richer life in a desperate situation. Of course, the sheer effort needed to survive the difficult situation is not to be ignored. But the process of forging meaning, seeking equanimity, looking for connection, exposing vulnerabilities is in itself unique and therefore worth it.
“His Voice” narrates how the family does the extraordinary with seeming ease. It will resonate and draw readers who are in the same overwhelming condition. They will feel appreciated and heard simply because the tone of the book is steadfast. Everybody needs at least one reliable friend. This book could be that.
For others, it is a reminder that we have to be awake to what’s in the air, what’s at stake, what to value? Could it not be taken away? Love and respect, the two tenets integral to any relationship, need to be dwelled on. They become the key when life gets locked in helplessness and darkness. So are they not worth our time and attention in broad daylight?
Ritu is a writer, content strategist, and language enthusiast. #behavioral finance #storytelling #zeitgeist