By: Barnali Bose, Editor-ICN Group
KOLKATA: Mother, as I stood watching you entangled in the web of masks and tubes, I was in a dilemma. What should I pray for – lingering of suffering or a closure to it, for life or for death? But could I, your daughter ask for the latter? How could I pray for the cessation of life for one who has given me life?
As Emotion and Reason battled within me, I prayed to the Almighty to make me strong, strong enough to ask for your release. I reasoned you had endured for long, too long.
Flashes of memory from my childhood when my life had revolved around you and yours around mine, began to unfold before me.The umpteen times when you had placed my needs before yours emerged from within layers of long forgotten memories.
Years passed. From being your little girl, I became a wife and then graduated to motherhood. Time and lack of physical proximity, however did not weaken the bond that was born the day I saw the light of the world.
It is because of you, my dear Mother, that I have been able to experience what it means to be a mother myself. It is because of your patient nurturing that I am what I have been able to become today.
Distance played the spoilsport preventing us from seeing each other often but the thought that you were there was in itself reassuring.
Mother, just a few days back,when my social media accounts were being flooded with birthday wishes and my ears resonated with the sound of wishes from those near and far, your wishes were conspicuous by their absence. You were there, yet not there.
Mother, although you had been confined to bed for so many years,you never failed to send your blessings. How eagerly I waited to hear the sound of your quivering, fatigued voice spelling birthday wishes over the phone!
The wishes, though more feeble, had not become less meaningful, with every passing year. On my birthday, in all these years, for the first time, you were silent. The silence was deafening, Mother.
Then, that day, when I saw you lying there dangling between life and death, I felt I had to reach out to you. How could I forget the times I had sought solace and your smiling reassuring words never failed to provide me the same?
When I was a child, death was an enigma to me. I remember, Mother, I had asked you where people went when they died. You quietly pointed to the star-studded sky.
In my childhood innocence, many a time, I had frantically searched for grandpa among the glittering stars. Every time, I asked you,you pointed to a different star. But my curiosity was satisfied. Mother, to me,today, you are indeed the brightest star in the sky.
Mother, in death too, you continue to live. Mother, we were hesitant to let you go, so you helped us find a way out to continue being in this world. We donated your eyes. For this, we shall be ever indebted to your doctor, who advised us to do the same.
Mother, although the absence of your physical self will continue to sadden us, that your eyes will see the world for many more years is indeed a great consolation to us.
Parting is always painful and more so when it is irreversible. Mother, the doctors stated that your condition had unquestioningly reached a point of no return. That day, Mother, I saw the shadow of your former self clinging on to dear life. I pleaded with you, “Mother, let go.”
I could almost hear the words that you tried to say but could not.“ I can bear the pain no longer ”, you seemed to whisper. Silence speaks volumes and it really did then. As tears blurred my vision and the imminent pathos of separation stifled my voice, I prayed, “ God, let my mother suffer no more.” God nodded his consent.