Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Perfect Saturday morning. Beautiful weather, not a cloud in the sky. And we have a dead daughter in our house. How INSANE is that? Or should I put an exclamation mark after? Either way, its so incredibly messed up that grammar makes no sense at this point.
The paramedics and local police took over Lilly’s room. We were ushered out quietly and asked not to come in till further notice. Naina was frantically telling the medics that they could save Lilly they just had to administer CPR and revive her with a defibrillator. She kept crying repeatedly, screaming - ”MUM, DIDI’s ALIVE, THEY ARE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH!”
The five of us huddled together on the landing near the stairs. Praying and holding each other. Whispers were coming from Lilly’s room. The paramedics walked out shaking their heads “We are sorry for your loss”. Words I’d hear over and over again. I kept thinking, what are you sorry for, you don’t even know us, you didn’t even know Lilly. The local police stayed behind waiting for the detective and medical examiner. I didn’t need a medical examiner to tell me what I already knew. Lilly had passed away from a drug overdose. Cause of death - FENTANYL.
We were not allowed to re-enter Lilly’s room since it had now became an investigation scene. My husband and I sat down with our kids and started focusing on them. We would deal with our shock, grief, loss, anger, later. Right now all that mattered was supporting our children and being strong for them. We told them to keep praying and to breathe. Lilly was finally at peace. We presented the worst case scenario (was death not the worse case), even if she did survive after 8 minutes of no oxygen to the brain, she would have had no quality of life. We told them to be grateful that this happened at home, in her bed. The last overdose, we got a phone call and found her in a hospital bed. Had this happened with a friend, we wouldn’t get time with her and would have been summoned to the morgue to identify her body. Or even worse, she could have been declared missing and we would have never known what exactly happend. I belive in God, Hazar Imam, Angels and Spirit Guides. I let the kids know that Lilly was in good hands surrounded by unconditional love. At one point, one of the kids said: “If death is so peaceful, why are we alive? Why don’t we all go?”
The only phone call that I wanted to make was to my brother in SFO. Zameer is the cool, non-judgemental uncle. He didn’t try to conform the kids to societal norms nor use a yard stick to measure their successes. He had been there through Lilly’s journey supporting all of us. All four kids are very close to him. Anytime the kids hesitated to say anything to us, they would go to him and he would represent them. After multiple tries he finally picked up, all I could say was “WE LOST LILLY”. I broke down and Naina took over. Five minutes later I got a text that he was arriving at 10:00pm and he would take an Uber to the house.
There were no elders in the house to coordinate the immediate rituals that needed to be done. We were the elders! Asmita and I left the family and ran to the puja (prayer) room to get the necessary items: New Diya (clay lamp), cotton for the wick, incense, Ganga Jal (holy water), and ghee (clarified butter). My husband had started cooking during COVID. He had insisted on learning how to make ghee. He had made two large containers of ghee. I wondered if he subconsciously had known that the ghee would be used for Lilly.
We lit the Diya and incense. I brought out pillows for the 5 of us. All we could do was sit, hold each other, and pray, till they let us see Lilly. The police officers kept a close watch on us. I texted her psychologist, psychiatrist, and rehab counsellor. I asked her rehab counsellor to help us put the pieces together of the past 24 hrs. He was going to ask around and was on his way to the house. Lilly made the choice to take Roxy’s (OxyContin) that night BUT the person who sold her the Fentanyl mix is responsible for her death!
I closed my eyes and meditated. I felt Lilly near me. “Mum, you kept praying for my peace, I’m finally at peace! You were not specific in what form you wanted my peace”! I could just see her smirking at me waving goodbye. We had spoken about this scenario many times. She would always say - “One day I’m going to take something and be like HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST DO! I DIDN‘T MEAN TO!“ Lilly didn’t mean to die. She had plans, she had aspirations, she had dreams! What happened was a terrible mistake. Every time anyone takes a street drug they are playing Russian Roulette! This time, Lilly lost, and she lost BIG!