Wow! It is April 15…and Day 13 of the #AtoZChallenge. And I am thrilled the letter for the day is M. Why? Because April 15 is my Mom’s birthday – and Mother of Mine seems the perfect choice for today.
My Mother was my mentor, my best friend (still is) and my inspiration. My coffee mate. My Angel. In spite of a hard life, she always smiled and encouraged. She was always kind and loving and ever ready to help others. Even through her illness during the last years of her life, she tried her best to be active and positive.
My Mother was something else. Nice to a fault. I’d always get a bit mad at her for insisting on looking at only the good aspect of everything. She was married at 13. She had me when she was barely 18. My father, who migrated to the United States, never returned to us, insisting he had only one life to live, and would live it the way he wanted. And so – after some pretty horrible times at her in-laws’ in Delhi, mom and I came back to her mother’s place in Mumbai.
Thus began a much better time for us – Mom completed her schooling and opted for a career in teaching, with the support of her own school teachers (she and I went to the same school – Little Flowers, Andheri, Mumbai – and we also had the same teacher, who was also my Godmother). Life wasn’t easy and it was only in the nineties that Mom acquired her post graduation degrees – when I also got my MBA degree. What wonderful times we had, studying together!
After a teaching career spanning almost forty years as a school teacher, headmistress and school principal, she had a major accident in 1994, after which I forced her to quit working and encouraged her to start her own little school, which she did and enjoyed running.
After I married in Feb 1997, my husband insisted Mom should live with us – and so began another phase in our life. Vidur was born in 1997. Then followed a glorious 12 years for mom. Mom loved kids – and having her very own grandson was all she could ask for, she said. She spoilt him silly, but also taught him excellent values.
During the last four years of her life her health failed, but somehow she bravely coped. When she was rushed to the hospital on Feb 3, 2010 with a collapsed lung, she was still thinking about us, Vidur and various little mundane things. She wanted to wait in the ground floor, because she didn’t want to inconvenience the hospital staff, making them carry her down. After five days of full life support, on Feb 8, 2010, at 10.45 am, she breathed her last.
Everyone associated with her remembers her with love. As per her last wish, we donated her body to St Johns Medical College, Bangalore. She didn’t believe in ‘last rites’ and thought they were just crap, and insisted that when she was gone, we should focus on the living and needy. “Why waste money on useless rituals for the dead?” was her feeling. We are actively carrying out her wishes.
I always find it very hard to think of my mother as ‘old’ or ‘elderly’. Whenever anyone referred to her that way, it felt like they were referring to someone else. It is probably because we practically grew up together, strengthening our bond into far more than the mother-daughter to friends. I often told her that if there was another birth, she’d better be my daughter.
There is no doubt at all that her soul watches over us, with love.
Some words of wisdom by my Mom from her diary:
About keeping a journal:
“Diary writing is far more than a way of exorcising one’s unhappiness. The effect is extraordinary. Distanced on paper, troubles shrink to their true size. You can regard them objectively and see how temporary they are”
About the joy of letter-writing:
“When spoken words failed, written words kept us close”
“Books support us in our solitude and keep us from being a burden to ourselves”
She encouraged me to..
Collect Moments, Not Things
Here’s one of her favorite songs…one I have sung to her many times..
Mother of Mine
By Jimmy Osmond…enjoy!
And today, I am happy to recommend
Meena Menon’s blog
Monika Manchanda’s blog