19th January 2011. I got a call from the doctor at Durgapur Hospital. My mother had been diagnosed with liver metastasis and two to three months was the maximum time we had. For the first time in my life, I cried in office, in front of my colleagues. I was at that time struggling to come to terms with my divorce but not once had I broken down publicly. This, I could not handle. The person I needed most then, was leaving me.
When it comes to the scary things in life, I have noticed, however much practical and smart we think we are, we are never prepared . That cancer, and subsequently death, would touch us, was beyond my comprehension. I always thought these are horrible things that happen all around but I am protected by a magical fireball and duly protected. Couldn’t believe my fears had crossed the boundary and was walking towards me.
As a single child, dealing with a terminally ill patient, the everyday torture of witnessing the suffering and waking up every morning with a fear that this could be that fateful day , coupled with the stress of handling an emotional father was tough no doubt but what was killing me inside was the fact that I was cheating my mother by not telling her that her time was limited. What if she had unfinished jobs or unfulfilled wishes ? What if she wanted to finish them, fulfill them ? I wanted to tell her.
My father was not okay with this. Understandably so. But I wanted to do it anyway. Selfish reasons maybe. I did not want to live the rest of my life with the regret that I had not given her a chance. I told her, trying my best to make it as easy for her as possible, her expression killing me inside. This one decision completely changed my perspective towards life.
We always take life for granted. Always thinking there’s so much time. Death is the only certainty in life. But an unknown certainty .What happens when that certainty becomes time bound? I realised my mom wanted to live. Not in terms of days or months or years, but in terms of traveling, eating, wearing beautiful sarees…so many unfulfilled wishes. Physically it was not possible to take her out because of her health conditions but I would get her everything she wanted to eat . Not particularly advisable at that stage but what more worse could happen, time was anyway limited.
I changed as a person. I learnt to take each day at a time. More compassionate. I stopped going to sleep angry or frustrated. You never know what tomorrow has in store for you. Make today beautiful. I started doing things that made me happy. I was a rebel child . I wanted to apologise to my mother but somehow could not. That regret I carry in my heart. So now I have made it a point to speak out to everyone who matters. I learnt it the hard way, but I guess it is the struggles and pain in life that actually shape you and I am proud of the person I am today. I appreciate life more now because I saw what life means when I saw my mother’s life become timebound . My mother was a fighter, she extended her time to eight months and left us on 1st September 2011.
Life is beautiful. If you’ve watched the 1997 movie by Roberto Benigni, you already know what I mean. If you haven’t, do watch it after reading my blog .