When you breathe there’s no way to think that it could be your last one. Maybe you have a moment of realization but for the near ones, even the closest, there are no signs. At least my mother, who breathed her last in my arms gave me none. Then I wonder if she did and I chose to ignore it. Even when the doctors or the devices give no signs of life, your heart keeps searching. Any amount of calling, desperate moves or cry outs have no effect. A life just lost in a moment is a mother gone forever.
With this realization comes a numbness. The disbelief that strikes you then, slowly it takes over your entire feeling and you lose all sense of time, people or logic. A helpless look at what was your beloved and another one at someone trying to tell you something and numbness. Even the tears come later. But a heart-breaking soul-wrenching void grips you over. You begin to wonder how suddenly you lose all the ground under your feet.
As you regain little awareness, the sequence of events begins to play in your head. You look for clues in those dying moments to understand what just happened. You try to recollect the last sign of life you saw. A brief look of pain, an effort to reach out or even a hint of struggle. Every moment of the last encounter plays back in your head and you soon realize the huge blow you have been dealt. Your heart refuses to acknowledge the reality and a tear involuntarily rolls out. Your brain is still defiant, searching for signs of life or absence of it. There is none. She looks like in a good sleep but still. The face is a figure of tranquility but she’s limp and non-responsive. Her mom is the same, but the usual warmth is gone. You still don’t give up; you reach out to the doctor pleading.
It’s your mother you have LOST and that she has let go of her favorite puppy is evident. So far, even for the most insignificant pain she would hold you and even the biggest calamity would ease. But here when the deathly bolt has struck she doesn’t offer any solace. You see the first sign of finality then. You are gutted. Your crying intensifies as does the pain. You feel your heart is ready to jump out and your brain gets into a fight mode. You feel so vulnerable that you begin to doubt everything around you. You reach out to the lives around, your precious counterparts to be reassured that they are safe.
You begin to see the extent of your loss. You see the helplessness in everyone. You see the struggle they are going through in comforting you and coming to grips with their own grief. A life lost takes a part of everyone it had ever touched directly or indirectly. The pain in everyone around you comes down as heavily on you and you sometimes even begin to feel breathless and choked.
Soon you are summoned to take care of the formalities and paper work. It’s impossible to comprehend what’s happening around you. Again, you are reminded of how ill prepared you are for this. Everything you realize is connected to her. You cry some more without understanding why. It’s an eerie shallowness that you find around you. Then suddenly the reality dawns and you find yourself crying even more. All the good souls around you feel your pain and continuously comfort you but at that time, you don’t really care. It’s a mother you have lost. She was the one who gave first meaning to everything you know, and she was possibly your last connection to continue to be childlike and carefree.
Once you walk away from her, post the preparations to keep the body preserved for the last rites, you carry a strange emptiness with you. Somewhere you begin to accept that she is not coming back and that makes you full of sorrow to an extent that you have never experienced in your life. You wonder, what could ever make any sense in your life. In some way, it was always her that was the source of your inspiration, energy and motivation. The time away from her still body is not an easy one to pass. Your subconscious keeps mixing the reality with a feeling that nothing is changed, but you are getting more and more conscious of your new reality. For me the exhaustion took over as I lay in my bed deep into the night and drifted into a state of delirium. Shaken up by the scenes of the evening that played out again and again. What if I had done this, what if I had known this, what if the day had taken some other shape, what if I had reached the emergency a few minutes earlier. It is just the beginning of these questions and you will never have any answer to them. The reality is that a precious part of you is gone for ever and you will continue to feel frustrated by your own inability to let her go.
When you finally take her for the last earthly journey, you feel the burden of the future. You see the pain in the eyes of those who look at you for getting the same assurances that you used to get from your mother. But somehow, you have no energy or basis to assure them. Each look at her now clearly a lifeless face tears a part of your heart and involuntarily you feel your eyes rolling incessant tears and your chest filled with an agony that overpowers every other feel. The child in you still pleads with what is left of her to stop this play and talk to you. You at that time are willing to exchange anything for just one more word from her. But the reality doesn’t change and you reach the final destination. You go through the rituals without any sense of purpose or understanding. Finally, when it is time to lay her to rest, you feel a sense of desperation as you know that any chances of the miracle you were hoping are fast diminishing. Your mamma is as good as gone and there is nothing you can do to get her back. If you believe in the afterlife, you try to find solace in the fact that you will see them sometime soon. If you don’t, then it is a fight of immense strength to let go of a mother for ever. The void keeps growing bigger with every step you take towards the incinerator. As you place the body on the platform, you can barely feel any strength. You helplessly take a last good look at the shape that once was your mother. The door opens and the cruel flames seem hungry to consume your treasure. You have always stood by her to keep any harm away from her. You see the door shut and with it it seems is shut a world that she had created so delicately and patiently spinning fantasies and creating the perfect you that you continue to strive to be. It will remain incomplete now, but aren’t we all work in progress? You can never be ready to bid her a final good bye but you know she has to go…
Losing a mom takes a significant part of your life away… a bulk of your purpose, motivation and energy is lost too. You know all the people around you mean to share your grief and give you the strength bear this loss, but it is you who will need to find a way to go on. You are reminded that you are not the only one who went through such a pain, there are many and there will be many, but you feel so frivolous with your attempts to understand or reassure anyone when they went through such a loss. The heart just refuses to even acknowledge the harsh truth. The brain just keeps looking for clues to support the heart. It reaches out to usual habits to reassure only to find that they are all pointless. No Mamma, you had so much more to give to me and to this world, but I hope I find my peace one day and begin to celebrate the amazing idea – a mother!