almost three days on the ventilator, there still was no change in her sensory
activity. She continued to be semi-comatose. We were told that her lungs were
in a bad shape and so, even if she survived this, she might never be normal
again. All of us huddled together. My dad, refusing to accept that the lady who
he shared his life with for the last 43 years might just not make it. My
brother and sister-in-law, too shocked to react. My husband, worrying about how
I would take this news. I, however, had only one thing in mind.
Jun 6, 2018: The daughter’s
I went to my mother. Although she continued to be semi-conscious, she seemed
troubled by something. I reached close to her. Kissed her lightly on her hand.
spoke to her. “Amma, you have been our strength and I want you to continue
being so. If you want to fight this further, please give me some indication.
And I promise you, I shall fight it with you.
if you feel you have fought enough and would like to rest, so be it. If you are
holding off death worrying about what would happen to daddy after you, I
promise you I shall take care of him till my last breath. If you worry about
your grandkids, I give you my word I shall love them the way you did. If you
worry about your newly married son and daughter-in-law, I assure you I shall
help them set up home. If you worry about your mother and sister, I promise to
care for them as you used to. And if you worry about how I would manage without
you, don’t. For I belong to you. I was carved out of you. And I am you. I will
live with the power of you in me.”
saw one tiny tear roll from her left eye down her cheek. And I knew the
daughter had communicated with her mother. I knew the mother had heard.
08:00 pm: The ICU doctor
called us urgently inside. He told us that her breathing had begun to get laboured.
She was also gurgling and bringing out some froth from her mouth. He said he
expected her to pass within the next hour or two. As per Hindu tradition, we
immediately touched a few drops of water to her lips. I called home and
informed my brother to get dad and come over soon. As soon as they came, I was
told that dad was just about to have his dinner when they received my call.
Unable to eat even a morsel, he had left his food untouched and rushed to the
hospital. Outside the ICU, he refused to eat anything and soon began to feel
unwell. We were worried.
10:00 pm: The ICU doctor
and another visiting intensivist, who was also one of my mother’s ex-students
came out and told us that her breathing had suddenly and miraculously returned
to normal. Her BP and heart rate too were fine and she suddenly seemed comfortable.
My dad, unable to believe his ears, rushed inside, only to see his wife
sleeping serenely with no hint of any discomfort. He soon came out and said
that he was hungry and wanted to eat something. We took him home. He had a
heavy dinner and retired for the day.
even in her last moments on earth, ensured that her husband took his food.
June 7, 2019: The final call
05:30 am: My phone buzzed.
It was my cousin from the hospital calling to say that my worst fears had come
true. The strongest person I ever knew had left me forever. I had helped my mom
take her decision.
Later, we were to know from the ICU doctor that her end came peacefully. One moment she was breathing and the next moment she had gone. No hint of any trouble or discomfort. No pain. Just like that. The Lord had taken back the most precious flower of His garden.
As I bade adieu to my mother, I did not cry. I realised that she is now more happy and at peace than she has been. She has moved on to a place as close to Him as possible, where there exist no worries or pain. If that is not cause for celebration, what is?
Amma taught us to appreciate and respect every creation of the Lord. She taught us to be humble to the point of touching the ground. She taught us to give back as much if not more than what we take from the world. She taught us to love unconditionally. She taught us to smile under duress.
Among the last responses Amma gave in the hospital, in a semi conscious state but before she was ventilated was to the doctor’s question “How are you doing?” She said “I AM GOOD!”
June 7th 2018 The bravest woman of my life. Amma continues to live on. Forever