“Mom, I wish I had made your end easier by having more knowledge about palliative care.”
Shevata Rai Talwar, a social worker and human rights activist from Dehradun, writes:
The joy of becoming a grandmother to my daughter’s new baby had hardly sunk in when I realised I was locked down alone in my late mother’s home. The vagrancies of nature hit me hard as I mused on the passing of generations.
When Covid 19 shook the world, and left us disillusioned and scared, what really struck me was how the so called super powers, with their nuclear weaponry, bowed to the disease without a fight.
As the world sat glued to television and social media glumly following the patterns of misery and death Corona virus was leaving in its wake, memories of my mother’s calm yet confident nature engulfed me. Her love embraced me when I sat all alone sleeplessly looking at the stars. Her courage even while fighting the dreaded cancer as always evoked respect in me whenever I recalled those days. Her kindness and concern which did not even allow her to show her pain, and her fears for me was the purest form of selfless love.
Her skills, whether in needlework or cooking, were exceptional. Her empathy for the needy and love for animals inspired me to help those in despair, the homeless and destitute, the poor who were stranded in big cities due to the lockdown, desperately waiting to return to their little world, their homes in villages.
In lighter moments I cooked, studied spirituality, listened to devotional music, or her favourite ghazals. The lockdown cleared the environment with lesser pollution. I could see the sunset and the mountain ranges from my maternal home. I felt positive with news that wild animals were being sighted along with a variety of birds and butterflies. Rivers were pure again, and holy Ganga water was consumable for the first time in a decade.
This rejuvenation of nature was like the sweet smell of a mother’s bosom which reminded me that even a grown woman like me could find strength and solace from a great personality like my mom. My mom was my role model. She taught me values, righteousness, supreme sacrifice, empathy, fairness and great faith in the Almighty. All these held me in good stead during the lockdown time, when despair and solitude could have made me panic.
I will miss you always, mom. I wish I had made your end easier by having more knowledge about palliative care. I regret not being there with you so that you could have breathed your last in my arms, surrounded by love, as you so much wanted instead of a cold hospital bed, with your hands tied up and body badly mutilated in a battle to prolong your life span instead of some quality life with us in your last days. Love you always, mom.
(Our gratitude to Sindhu S. for her help with editing the article.)