I was supposed to be ready when my most loved and favorite person left us this past Sunday (October 15, 2017). We all knew she had been bravely battling cancer for three years. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye. After all, she was in her late seventies and had other medical conditions. I am not a child or even a young adult. At my age, I was supposed to be ready. The family and I knew the end was coming, so I was supposed to be ready. Her health was declining in the past few months, so I was supposed to be ready to say goodbye.
But I was not.
I’m not sure how to cope with the grief of forever physically losing Sudha Mehra, my second mother, my mother-in-law, my best friend, and my favorite person in the world. I don’t know who to talk to for endless hours about everything under the sun. I don’t know who to tell about everything that I feel and do each day.
Even though we can’t see her anymore, I know that she is there with me, with all of us in our hearts. We were lucky to have such a great mother, and even luckier that we were able to spend so much time with her throughout her life and especially so much near the end.
Grief does not end. Rather, grief comes and goes. And then it comes again. The process does not have to be hurried. I will not let anyone belittle this loss, make me feel guilty for grieving deeply, or hurry me through my grief. I am entitled to feel all of grief’s intricacies and all of grief’s intensity. I want to take my time and live with her memories.
I want to remember her as the lively and loving person that she was and celebrate her life. There are so many memories of her that come to mind so it would be next to impossible for me to pick a favorite.
She was so keen to enjoy life to the fullest while keeping up with, and often exceeding, the pace at which the world was changing. She had the courage and desire to do things that even some youngsters have not done so far. A little motivation and encouragement got her to take computer lessons in a foreign land in a classroom setting, take swimming lessons at the age of 65, experience river rafting, try out a canopy walk at 200 feet above ground, enjoy dog sledding in minus 35 degrees temperature, and much more. She was one of the most tech savvy people at her age, well ahead of her time in many ways in using a smartphone, laptop and iPad. She played video games on a Game Boy almost a decade ago, and continued to maintain a profile on Facebook and Instagram as a way to keep busy and stay connected. The best way that I can think of paying a tribute to her is to post her memories each day on social networks for 77 days, one day for each year of her vibrant life.
The void created by her sudden death is still hard to grasp. She was someone that we took for granted would be around for much longer.
A vibrant soul, one who literally lit up the room whenever she entered. She was full of joy, right up until the end.
She thrived on social interactions. Her glow, her smile, her gentle touch made her friends easily and people didn’t forget her. All one had to do was start a conversation with her and she became friends with many a stranger in no time. Mumma was a popular lady and would welcome company with open arms.
Her knowledge of Hindi, the proverbs or muhavaras was simply exemplary and so impressive. She was always quick to pull one out of her memory at the right time and make the conversations even more interesting. It pains me to think that all of that is gone with her. I learnt so much from her about our family traditions, religious rituals, cooking Indian delicacies, crafts like knitting, embroidery, shuttlework (which is almost extinct now) and much more. I will miss those festival times when we would all sit together, chat endlessly and prepare sweets and savories.
Thank you mumma for everything you’ve given us and the warmth we shared during your precious time on earth.
Mumma, I know you would surely have found a way in the heavens to check your Facebook account, let me say to you- I don’t know how I will cope without you and will miss you more than words can say.