An open letter to my late Mother

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Dear Ma,

How are you? I mean are you happier there? You can be honest with me, you know. I won’t feel bad if you do say you’re happier. Okay, maybe a tad, just a little.

Well, do you miss me?

Do you still love me?

Do you still think of me?

I just have too many questions to ask you, ma. I’m yet to learn to accept that these questions won’t be answered in a long while. I know it’s been 4 years since you left us, but I’m still in the learning and accepting process.

I also have too many answers that I owe you. I’m sorry I made you worry so much, I’m really sorry for all those stupid fights/arguments we had, I don’t even remember what they were about, probably some dumb things. I know you thought I didn’t listen or didn’t care most of the time. But, you knew how “awesome” I was at expressing my emotions, right? I still struggle with that by the way. Oh lord, do I try though!

After you called me that noon from the hospital to tell me that you won’t be returning home for a day or two, I was confused, I didn’t understand why, I didn’t even try to understand. All I was bothered about was how badly I wanted you to be home for the nights before my final board exams, you knew I needed you. I still need you. I remember the exam nights I spent in the hospital studying by your bed, well, because, I couldn’t do it otherwise, just couldn’t do it.

Little did I realise that things would never really return to normal. I can’t summarize in words how or where your last four years with us went by. It’s quite vague to me honestly, quite fast-paced lives we lived in those years. I never even made an effort to keep an account of us, maybe because a part of me never even believed in the fact that I might lose you soon.

There were one too many dark days in those years. I distinctly remember the day daddy shaved your head, I couldn’t stand through it, I remember running into my room and crying my eyes out. I remember you sitting on the floor, just staring into nothing and tears just befalling your cheeks. I recall peeking into your room to find you on your bed fighting the pain. I remember how oh so quickly the chemo started reflecting its many ordeals on you. I recall how you used to hide your mastectomy scars, your thrombosed veins, your fears, and your pain from me, from all of us. You hid quite a lot from me, ma, I don’t why or how you did it. It makes me wonder if my presence was of any comfort to you.

It is ironical how in these same years, I saw you the happiest but, for us. I recall how happy you were when I got admission to an honours degree at Delhi University. I remember how excited you were when I landed my first job. I still cherish that smile of yours the evening Kuttu’s (my sister) marriage got fixed. I remember the sigh of relief that you let out when I told you that I had taken two weeks off from work to stay with you. Little did I realise that those would be my last moments with you. It seemed to me like you had struck a deal with God, that the worse your health grew, the better our lives were to be. Am I right, ma? Was it a deal?

Do you know it’s been almost four years since I’ve called out “Ma”, “Ammay”? Do you know I still have your phone number saved in my favourites? Do you know how I much I long to just touch your face once again? Do you know you’re my phone’s wallpaper? Do you know how I much I regret not staying by your ICU bed for additional 10 mins before you passed away that night? Do you know I started sleeping on your bed just to sense you around me?

You came in my dreams the other night, you didn’t say much. You just hugged me real tight like you never wanted to let go. I knew I’d wake up and I did. I truly believe you visit me and sit by me. I want you to know that I understand why you had to let go, I do.  It kills me to think about how achingly you must have prepared for your own death, how you wrote a detailed letter to dad exactly one week before we had to take you to the hospital like you knew you won’t be returning home. I can only imagine how much time you spent trying to work out every single detail of what would happen to us after your passing. It breaks me every time I think about it. I’ll never forget the last time you spoke to me, never realised that would’ve been the last time I heard your sweet voice. You made me sing you to sleep, you said you wanted to hear my voice for the last time. Was the incessant choking in my voice audible, ma?

I can’t help but wonder how different life would’ve been if you were here. There’s so much that has happened in my life and how I wish you had been a part of it. I wish I could just give you a call and update you now and then or to just listen to your voice. Daddy’s keeping well, travelling about, he has put on a little weight you see. Kuttu and Tijo are doing great, they have their own little Bubba now, and we’ve named him Joshua. I wish you could meet him, pamper him and love him. Lord knows what I’d give up just to get a glimpse of that sight. I can’t wait to tell him about the legend that his Aamachi (Grandma) was.

You fought your battle till the last drop of your strength, you never gave up, ma. You were a warrior! I pray for your strength and courage in life. Your sacrifice caused me to get closer to writing. You’d always find a piece of you in my articles, writings, and poems. I know you have your own ways to show yourself to me, I’d like to believe that you are here with me.

But at the same time, this gut-wrenching sense flows through my body when I feel like I’ve started forgetting your face, your voice, your existence. Have you forgotten my face?

I still fail to comprehend God’s plans at times, but, I understand why you had to let go. Somehow, I think of it this way, your death moulded me into who I am today. Someday I hope you will tell me that you saw it all, my struggles, my triumphs, my tears, my joys, my imperfections. Someday you’ll tell me you that you were there with me the whole while and that I never was alone.

Thank you for preparing me for these times, these times of you no longer being here with me. Thank you for being my mother, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Thank you for being my rock, my pillar of strength.

I know I hardly said this when you were here with me.

But, I love you, ma, always have.

And, well, I miss you.

I shall see you again.


Your daughter


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