Death is a harsh reality that never prepares you enough to be ready to accept it . How much ever we may think that we are ready to grieve the death of a loved one, the reality of the incident hits us hard way beyond what we were prepared for.
Last week, my 62 year old mother in law ( MIL) passed away after struggling with a very difficult battle against brain meningitis for the last 15 years.
She was barely 47 years old when she was suddenly diagnosed with this deadly illness that took away the golden years of her life . Until then she was leading an extremely busy and an active social life .
She taught Yoga at the neighborhood club and kept herself fit and happy doing what she enjoyed the most . She was exceptionally bold and daring for the conservative community she hailed from and while she had to conform to those societal norms, she didn’t want to impose that on her two sons and their spouses. She was raised and married into a conservative community that are devout vegetarians .But she ensured both her sons were introduced to non-vegetarian food at a young age and that they should not grow up to be fussy eaters. She was one of the few women of that generation who drove a car like a pro and was always keen to experiment new stuff and had the inquisitiveness of a child while tying out new things.
She was the youngest sibling with three older brothers and was clearly the backbone of her family. All the brothers doted on her and she too was extremely affectionate towards them and their family.
It’s very special that my MIL & I share the same wedding date. My in- laws celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on the same day as my husband and I were married .My MIL was very affectionate towards me and was also proud to flaunt me around in her coterie of friends and family. She had always wanted a daughter and now she was happy to be a mother ( in law) to me. While initially we shared a great rapport, we soon realized that we are both strong personalities and follow different ideologies. This did affect our relationship to some extent and unfortunately we couldn’t be the best of friends that we had hoped for. After a year of staying together in the same house, my husband and I relocated to Chennai for work purposes and since then distance and our relationship did drift us apart.
Within the next few months of our relocation, she got diagnosed with this severe illness that did take a toll on her physically but thankfully not as much, emotionally. And the entire credit for this goes to my father in law. He himself was battling with quite a few lifestyle diseases ,obesity being one of the major problem. But he worked tirelessly to ensure my MIL successfully conquered every health crisis and bounced back well to resume a normal life as much as possible. He eventually became her eyes & feet that she had gradually lost in her battle to meningitis and was her rock solid support throughout these 15 years. It indeed is a very long time and can break down anyone easily, but never once did I see fatigue or frustration in the eyes of my father in law. It seemed like he had built some exceptional strength and resilience to deal with this crisis and he tackled this every day, with a high sense of responsibility and a constant smile on his face.
Only due to his relentless efforts, she was always in the best of spirits and looked forward to leading a good life together with her beloved husband.Unfortunately, life had some other plans for them and while they stayed together as one solid unit for 41 years, the time had come for him to release her from this immense suffering and pain.It was an excruciatingly painful decision for my FIL to let her go and he held on to her as his most precious gift until he had no choice.
She would have celebrated her 62nd birthday on Aug 28th. But the previous day she suffered a massive attack of brain hemorrhage that instantly sunk her into coma.She stayed in that condition for the next 24 hours and while she fought bravely like always, right until her last breath , but this time it was meant to be her last battle and she could not fight any further. She passed away in the hands of her family members and the last few minutes before she breathed her last revealed her only desire – she always wanted the family to be together. And while she couldn’t see it happen in front of her eyes, her death has now made it happen effortlessly.
Though all of us had been always ready to hear the sad news at any point of time , yet the impact of the reality is extremely difficult to handle. My only regret – while I didn’t hold any grudges against her and wished her health and happiness always , I was unable to express this openly to her. By not saying what I felt, I have left behind a huge part of my feelings for her to silently understand through my actions and how I wish I could simply hug her and tell her what I have always felt. That’s the only thing I would like to undo and relive in the last few months of my time with her .
I understand she is in a happier place and free from all the suffering and anguish she didn’t deserve to go through in the first place .I wish her abundant peace & love and thank her immensely for giving me the love of my life and my best friend. She has given me the most precious gift and for that I shall always be grateful to her.Each of us grieve in our own way . Time does heal everything and I know Mummy will be happy to see us all together and lead life to the fullest . She always wanted to live life on her terms and it’s up to us now to keep that legacy going. We shall celebrate every moment of life and the pleasure of being together . Grief and sadness are also an important aspect of life and in remembrance of her feisty spirit, we shall now celebrate that too.
Rest in peace, Mummy!