Amma Lives On – A Series (Part 2)

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Part 2

November  2017: My brother’s engagement

It was Amma’s dream to see my younger brother married. The bride search, which had begun 7 years ago, suddenly ended when they found the perfect girl for him. The engagement was solemnised for Nov 26, 2017 and the marriage for April 15, 2018. Amma looked radiant in the engagement with her new and chic “hairstyle” as she preferred to call the hair that had grown back after her chemo. She hugged her would-be daughter-in-law and said, “You will live like my daughter, not daughter-in-law. You will be given the life of a princess in my house”. And she stayed true to her word.

January 2018: The relapse

In the New Year, Amma was busy with my brother’s marriage arrangements when one day, she suddenly realised that she had begun to bleed. We rushed to her oncologist who recommended an immediate scan. The reports showed that the cancer had returned with a vengeance. We were devastated. Amma stayed calm and happily agreed to second-line chemotherapy. She began having trouble walking. Yet, she continued doing all her routine activities, albeit at a slower pace.

April 2018: The marriage and the scans after

Vishu, the Malayalee New Year, fell on April 15. But for us, the day entailed a dual celebration. My brother was about to bring home the woman of his dreams. The wedding was a fairytale affair. The reception was even grander. Amma almost single-handedly managed the entire show. After the reception, when we returned home, she said, “Now, I am very happy”. She had her mid-chemo scans three days after the wedding. The reports came in when the newly wedded couple was on honeymoon. The cancer was spreading. Second-line chemotherapy was not strong enough to contain the aggressive malignancy. Amma would need third line chemotherapy.

May 2018: Amma’s last month on earth

Her first session of third line chemotherapy happened on May 7. But the week after the session, Amma suddenly deteriorated. The left side of her body reduced in function. Her speech began to slur. We assumed it was the chemotherapy acting up. Little did we know that cancer was eating her up one cell at a time, one organ at a time. But Amma fought on. She continued to manage my kids with help from my father. Whenever I told her to rest a little, she always said that her grandkids were her life and the reason she was alive.

Finally, third week of May, we got her admitted to the hospital. There, for the first time I saw her cry uncontrollably. She held my hands and told me, “I have left my grandkids at home. They are my world. Promise me you would take care of them till I am back.” I promised…a promise for a lifetime. For coming back was not meant to be.

June 2018: Letting go

Amma had been hospitalised for close to 2 weeks by then. The radiation oncologist went ahead with brain radiation because the cancer had reached her brain. But, instead of recovering, Amma slowly began losing her sensory activity and became semi-comatose. Nothing that the doctors did could get her to respond. Everybody was flummoxed. Consultants were brought in. Soon she was moved from her room to the ICU and beyond that to the ventilator.

Spending the better part of my day within hospital and ICU rooms, living with the constant fear of losing a loved one, dying every moment Amma coughed or as much as took a deep breath… well… it was tough.

There were moments when I prayed to the Lord to take her away and ease her suffering, if she did feel any. I made it a point to go to her bedside and speak to her regularly. But then, the doctors said that in her condition she probably wasn’t hearing anything. But as a daughter, I knew she was. I knew that a mother will always listen to the sound of her daughter.


English Short Story To be contd…

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Vini as in morning I said, so well articulated.. I can recollect that time, when we used to be constantly in touch.. Ur feelings seems to be flowing by means of words.. Loving every bit of it..

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    • Pain and smiles went hand-in-hand during that period. I have tried to bring forth the fact that life keeps changing every moment and it is for us to savour it in entirety. Thanks for sharing your view. Part 3 uploads tomorrow.

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    • Thanks a ton. I am truly blessed to know such amazing people who can be rocks of support. Do catch Part 3 tomorrow.

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  2. Najma
    Vinee a beautiful and heart-rending story makes one feel as if it’s happening right now right here .Amaz Ama prose keep it up.

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  3. I have tears in my eyes while reading this part, especially when amma said “my grandchildren are my world” i can completely relate to it as i see my mom loving and doing things everyday selflessly for my son.

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  4. You have brought back every moment so alive….I felt as if I was going through your pain. Superb writing, may aunty bless you in abundance to continue this beautiful journey as a writer and reach new heights. Best of luck chechi

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