Wish you were around to handle them. No one touches me, no change of clothes, just get rid of me. That’s what you had said. They wanted to give you a bath. They wanted to dress you up in your finest clothes. They wanted a hundred rituals.
Wish you were around to speak your mind to your mourners, mother. I didn’t know how to handle them. You had told me so many things, like how you wanted to die. You never warned me how they would behave after you died. As if they owned your body.
You didn’t speak. You just lay there, indifferent. The chatter rose and fell around you.
It is so difficult to think of you in the past tense, mother. You were so difficult at times when you were around. But, you were around.
Your son was a doctor when he read your vital signs. When the time came to decide if the tubes and machines should keep you alive, the doctor ran away. Just your son remained. Confused, afraid, desperately wanting to ask you what to do. You were beyond listening.
Maybe it was the doctor more than the son that denied you the sweets you craved for. For sure it was the son who broke down when he saw all the chocolates and the cream biscuits that you had stashed away in your cupboard.
How could I have been so cruel? Maybe I just wanted you to go on forever? When you went around telling your “young” friends how they should fight temptations to stay in good health, I never thought you would succumb.
Yet, you did not succumb to the urge to live on. You didn’t linger a moment more than it was necessary. You sent me off to the clinic to look after my patients. And you went away. No drama, no delay. Just as you wanted.
Mornings come relentlessly. Like those who come to condole. Our neighbor came at 6 a.m. He wanted to finish off the visit so that he did not have to take a second bath before going off to work. You must be laughing, I know.
I am trying to laugh, too. Doesn’t come out right. If you taught me how to cope, I think I forgot. Can you just come back for a minute and tell me again?