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Goodbye Amma Dearest

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Agatha83, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. Agatha83

    Agatha83 IL Hall of Fame

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    Those who have travelled the suburban train in Chennai during the late 60s, between Beach and Tambaram could never have missed the mesmerizing fragrance of Ponds powder hitting their nostrils for a few seconds. It was not magic, the Ponds factory was located very close to the railway lines, its intense fragrance embracing the entire lot of people in close proximity to it.

    But for me, this powerful scented Ponds powder always reminded me of my mother, who in the wee hours of morning, would liberally drench herself in this powder, before starting for her workplace, the heady fragrance that would wake me up from my sweet sleep much to my annoyance. The ruffling sounds of her stiff starched cotton saree, her heated arguments with her MIL, her closing the front iron gates with a big bang reflecting her anger, were all tell tale signals of her, leaving for the office, right at 6am. She would continue her onward journey by bus for an hour, just enough to be at her desk by 7.30am. Her adherence for punctuality was as impressive as her obsession for cleanliness.

    She worked overtime on Saturdays and never would take leave even for a fever as high as 104°. Her intense passion for her work, her coworkers, her salary, her bonus and uniform sarees and additional perquisites provided by the company every year, kept her depression at bay. Subsidized meals, snacks, tiffin, took good care of her health and she was hale and healthy till sixty when she retired.

    My father’s death at an early age was a great blow to the entire family emotionally, financially and physically, but the excellent support system provided by my grandparents made sure, that never for a moment, we missed our father. A job opportunity, got through my father's friend, on the 15th day after my father's death, left my mother no time to mourn the loss of her DH, but indeed provided a solid platform to build up a strong financial edifice, stabilizing her tottering future.

    Only after my marriage, I realised the enormity of being a widow at a young age and realised the bitter moments of emotional upheaval my mother would have gone through her life. Having seen her decked up in loads of jasmine flowers, face smeared with turmeric and a big bindi, she was forced to relinquish all three upon her widowhood, I later on psychologically developed an intense hatred for all the three, which were symbolic ornaments of being a married woman.

    Being financially independent, she minded her own finances diligently, handling her bank accounts, investing money in prospective company deposits,- till the day of her fatal fall while getting down the staircase,. It was ironic that a lady who prided herself in being financially independent, had to be physically dependent on others for caregiving in her later years.

    When she turned seventy, her health took a sudden turn for the worse, for the intense hip pain could never be cured by even the best neurologists, orthopedicians, physiotherapists. Along with her I travelled a painful journey of looking after her, running through the corridors of scores of hospital, knocking doors of the best consultants for their expert opinion, accompanying her while she went through many MRI scans, brain scans, biopsy suspecting cancer- but with all the medical advancements, her illness remained an eternal mystery. No caretaker was ready to deal with her, ready to put up with her non-stop blabbering, sudden outbursts of temper, mood swings, which could be reduced only by the use of strong sedatives, one which even the doctors feared the dosage, due to her advancing age.

    The day she failed to recognize me, my DH, my brother, we realised to what extent dementia had incapacitated her. Her frequent hospitalization, the sounds of a screaming ambulance siren, pulling out stretchers, admitting her in the ICU, her going and coming back safely to the hospital - was a routine affair. But we never knew that one particular day was going to be the last time to bid her the final goodbye, for we failed to take a long loving look at her, give her an affectionate kiss, a loving smile to ensure she was safe with us, no, absolutely nothing. We were totally unaware of the cruel hands of destiny, which was waiting to snatch her away from us. When there was a phone call from the hospital that she was slightly critical, we took it as a routine affair and proceeded to the hospital casually. But on the way to the hospital while we were in the bus, struggling hard to balance ourselves amid the throngs of people, we got the news of her death, which was a terrible blow to us. When my trembling hands went in search for a solid support when I got the news on the bus, a young man got up and gave me his seat just looking at my tear soaked face.

    From hospital to crematorium it was a quick journey, the rituals performed at the crematorium itself, me and my DH, bidding her final adieu, consigning her mortal remains to the hungry flames. With the ashes immersed in the raging sea waters, my mind was as restless as the waves that pounded the shores angrily.

    Dear mom, Many times I have asked you to shut your mouth up, when you talked incoherently, shouted at you mercilessly unable to control my pent up frustration, but all that you gave back me was a big smile of innocence. I couldn’t control my tears when I found how ruthlessly the caregivers handled you, those without whom I couldn’t carry on my routine activities. But now that you are gone, the bitter painful void has enveloped me, with complex questions nagging my mind, guilt feelings taking me over. I still cry even while writing this, recalling those painful moments you had to cross over, me wringing my hands in utter despair.. Amma dear, I long for your purposeless ramblings to fill in the painful emptiness, humongous void you have left me. Painful memories have left deep crevices in my mind, but the gentle fragrance of Ponds powder wafting through the breeze from somewhere, soothes my frayed nerves and I can hear you saying, ” I am with you always”. Good bye dearest mom, till we meet again!

    “You lived your life thinking that no one cared.
    You thought you were all alone, your heart feeling tattered.
    I am here to tell you that you were wrong
    'Cause you see - Mom - to me you mattered.

    I loved you when you were angry and mean.
    I loved you when you were kind as could be.
    I loved you not just because I had to.
    I loved you because you mattered to me.” Ruth Moris
     
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  2. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Agatha,
    Amma...gap can never be filled by anyone else. But she is always with you in your memories.
    I too felt like this when my Amma passed away a few years back.
    Syamala
     
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  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dearest Agatha,

    I relate to each and every word you have written and after a long time I am crying over my mom, all over again. No matter how much we wish to, we can never come up to the level at which they loved and cared for us but finally we must console ourselves with the thought that we did our best and that they are now out of pain and in a beautiful place. We too shall go to be with them soon enough.

    Loads of love and hugs, Agatha. My sincerest condolences and hope you find the strength to face this tremendous loss. No matter how old we are, we still wish to have our parents with us, but life must go on.
     
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  4. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

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    Very sad to hear the news. May her soul rest in peace and may God give you strength to face the situation.

    It was very painful to read her story. She will be always with u guiding you from wherever she is
     
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  5. periamma

    periamma IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Agatha
    Very sad to hear your Amma's demise.May her soul Rest In Peace.Ammakku eedu inai Ethuvum illai Evarum illai.
     
    Thyagarajan likes this.
  6. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Agatha,Sorry to learn the sad news.Amma's memories will remain ever green in your mind.I was just reminded of my mother who was bed ridden for nine long years with paralysis. One of our sisters who was deserted by her husband remained with our parents for nearly 12 years. Actually my sister depended on my parents and they depended on her.My sister was busy from 5 A. M. to 11 P. M.taking care of Amma. But when other sisters visited parents, Amma had a constant complaint against the sister who took that much of care.Amma ,though studied only upto 3rd standard was really intelligent and her skills were unlimited. She could solve even the most difficult maths puzzles and problems.Yet in her last years she was so depressed about her dependence and this caused her shout at my sister every now and then. All of us had to say" Ye too Amma! just like Shakespeare's 'Ye to Brute'in Julius Caesar.

    May her soul rest in peace!
    jayasala 42
     
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Agatha,

    My heartfelt condolences for your loss. I know how much effort you put in to keep her in good state of health for many years. I hope that sense of fulfillment will help you recover sooner from your loss. Now, it is time to focus your attention to your health. My prayers are with you for her to remain in the best place there is. In a way, she is no longer suffering her pain. It is hard when she had been bad health for a prolonged period of time. In my view, you did everything you could to keep her in good health and keep your mind healthy.

    Viswa
     
  8. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Agatha, Please read the thread "amma, neeyumaa/' in Regional languages forum written by me today.
    Jayasala 42
     
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  9. messedup

    messedup Platinum IL'ite

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    Sorry for your loss. Many thoughts came to my mind while reading your post about my life. This is the biggest fear that everyone has to face one day but the pain cannot be felt otherwise. May we all get the patience to be patient for every wrong that we do to others so that we can lessen the amount of guilt after the loss. Being right is not always right sometimes accepting the wrong is important if it give satisfaction to our loved ones.
     
  10. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    No words would suffice to lessen your grief. To me the most important thing is you did everything when she was alive. Heartiest condolences.
     
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