It’s been two years since she is not with us anymore. Who is she? She is my mother. Today is her second death anniversary and all the memories related to that dreadful day that is still fresh in my mind come gushing in. All this while I had kept myself shut. I had decided I would share my feelings when it would be a lot less hurting. But only recently I realized that there won’t be any time when I would not feel the void that the loss of my mother has created in my heart, and in my life. Tears roll down as I write this, but this time I have decided there’s no easy way to it and there’s going to be none in the years to come.
The truth that my mother isn’t here anymore took a while to sink in. I was unable to comprehend how she could have gone just like that. I had just talked to her the same morning, though not for long as she wasn’t allowed to use phones due to the surgery. My greatest regret is that I didn’t even get to say my final goodbye.
That fateful day, on hearing her sudden demise people had started pouring in, in great numbers. My mother was the kindest soul there could ever exist. The lives of the people she had touched, the lives of the people she had influenced, directly or indirectly, all of them were visiting to pay her their last tribute, to show their deepest condolences. They especially came up to me to console me as I was in the most vulnerable, the most fragile state anyone could be in. But my heart was beyond any consolation for the pain I felt was unendurable. I knew they meant well. But the loss was beyond repair. My life, my world was in a total wreck – shattered into the smallest of pieces which couldn’t be put back together even if I wanted to. I was growing an innocent life inside me, the most blessed of things any woman could do and it somehow felt as though it was the biggest sin at the moment.
And I didn’t want to listen to all that, “It happens”, “Life is cruel”, “It has happened with me”, “I know how you feel” – meaningless stuff. To all those people who kept telling me not to cry, not to stress, I wanted to shout to their faces, at the top of my voice, that nobody can know how it felt at the time even if they have been there, just nobody. And none of their words were good enough to give me comfort, to give me peace, which could take away the suffering; none of them at all. I was in a state of utter anguish. I wanted to cry, I wanted to mourn the massive loss and here people were asking me not to, as it could harm the baby. Instead, I kept staring at their faces, blank, without any expression, for being so insensitive. I knew they meant well, but I didn’t want their sympathy. I didn’t want anybody to pity me. I wanted to be alone – just me and her memories, and oh, my unborn baby.
I was going to become a mother myself and I cared least for the impeccant life growing inside me! I confess I am guilty of feeling that way when all I could do was praise for the blessing I was bestowed with when one life was taken. I was torn between what was right and what I wanted. It ached from not being able to cry as much as I wanted to for the very fact that it would harm the baby. I wasn’t even allowed to attend her last rites since I was carrying for some stupid custom where pregnant ladies are shunned from it. I cursed myself for it. She was my mother goddamn it. And I will have to live with this regret, forever.
For the countless days that followed, while on one hand each one of us tried to stay strong for each other as we began wearing our strongest facade of a face, trying to hide what an emotional wreck each one was inside. On the other hand, each one kept trying to find nooks, corners, and places to secretly cry their heart out so that the others didn’t know about it, only for the fact that those swollen, puffy tear-ridden eyes gave way to what exactly the other was feeling.
She was the first one we had broken the news that we were expecting. She had already bought stuff for her would-be-grandchild and even knitted booties and mittens as we were going to have a winter baby. I wanted to share so much with her, ask her so much.
“What it was like when my mother was pregnant with me?”
“What it was like to raise me?”
“How was I as a baby?”
“Did I trouble her a lot?”
“Does my child bear an uncanny resemblance to what I was as a kid?”
I am left with so many unanswered questions. I cannot help but wonder. It’s difficult to be living a life without her. Sometimes I feel it’s just a bad dream and when I open my eyes she will be there, only that it’s an ugly reality we have to live with every day. There’s this gutted feeling in the stomach all the time, cringing me constantly. This entire void only lets me believe what mothers mean to their children; what I, as a mother, mean to my baby.
I would have gone into depression if it hadn’t been for Mr. Husband. He has been this unwavering source of strength this whole time. He was there to be the pillar every time I needed to lean on. He was the shoulder each time I used to cry on. He is the witness of the tiniest tear that has ever gleamed in my eyes.
Now two years later, with Shaarav in our lives, it still hurts the same way; only the expression of it has changed. I share stories of my mother, I share stories about her, and I share her stories, to find ways to keep her in our thoughts, to keep her alive in our memories. I find ways to make Shaarav get acquainted with his “Naani” whom he couldn’t meet from the memories I have of her, tell him how she would have said or what she would have done if she was here with us today. And let me tell you, even at this tender age Shaarav knows who his “Naani” was and he has already grown fond of her. Alas, I still can’t help thinking and be wondering how different our lives would be if she was here with us today. Read my earlier post on “Surviving the Loss of Your Mother while Pregnant”, from Mr. Husband’s point of view.