Amma Lives On – A Series (Part 1)

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The stark reality of life is seen beyond the doors of hospitals and walls of crematoriums. Most humans live within the ambit of one three letter word of the English language “EGO”. They fail to realise that death is the greatest leveller.

My mother, my Amma has always been my pillar of strength. She was a Maths teacher by profession and a very strong woman. The description “Maths teacher” conjures images of bespectacled, strict tutors who wait for a chance to gobble up their students. Amma was none of the sort. She radiated kindness from every pore. Kids used to run to her for anything and everything. And she used to sit patiently through their every need and help out.

Amma was also famous as “the teacher who paid fees”. She taught in a school that had many underprivileged students, who came from very poor or broken families. Amma ensured they got quality education by paying their fees, month on month, year on year.

December 2016: The ordeal begins

This was the month that will stay etched in my memory forever. Amma suddenly developed swelling on her left leg. Having enjoyed good health all her life, she ignored it till the day she realised that the swelling that had begun in her left foot had encompassed her entire left leg. Worse, it simply refused to go away with every possible treatment.

January 2017: Loads of investigations

Finally, the doctor recommended scans and there it was…a big mass on the endometrium, the wall lining the uterus. She was asked to go for a biopsy to eliminate any chances of a malignancy. Amma was still unperturbed. She had chronic fibroids and was relatively sure that the mass was nothing but the fibroids playing up. We went ahead with the biopsy and were told that results would be in 5 days.

February 2017: The verdict

The date was Feb 10, 2017. Amma and daddy were celebrating their 43rd marriage anniversary. We were planning for a surprise party in the evening when my mobile buzzed. It was my brother giving us the dreadful news that the biopsy had shown up extremely malignant cells. Yes, my beloved Amma had cancer. This came as a bolt from the blue.

But God had more in store. The hospital had graded her cancer and defined that she was already at a very advanced stage…Stage 3c to be precise. Most of us know that Stage 4 is the last stage ever defined in cancer. I went numb with fear. The thought of losing the person who meant the life to me was too overwhelming. And then there was the herculean task of breaking the news at home, to Amma herself.

The rest of the day went in a daze. I remember going through the motions of informing my dad and then Amma. I was not prepared for what happened next. Amma had tears in her eyes for exactly 5 minutes, after which she said, “This diagnosis is NOT going to be the end of my life. I am going to fight this and win. All I want to know is whether I will be supported by a weak family or a strong one”. We were speechless. Such strength at times like this only meant that we were going to bust the cancer in its own web.

March 2017: The oncologist visits

We found a brilliant oncologist who took her under his wings and shared our thoughts of winning this battle together. He put her on chemotherapy for about 4 months, with a session every week. Chemotherapy is known to drain the living life out of not just the cancer but the person as a whole. We prayed as family to every God we knew. We prayed for strength, health, complete recovery. Prayed and prayed, every day, every moment.

May to August 2017: Happiness

God heard our prayers. He was happy. He blessed Amma abundantly. Her mid-chemo scan showed an almost 50% reduction in the tumour. We were elated. The doctor was ecstatic. Amma’s post-chemo scans showed more than 80% reduction in the tumour. The doctor called it nothing short of a miracle. All through the treatment Amma continued to do all her tasks and managed the home completely. She continued to take care of her grandkids (my kids), feeding them, bathing them, teaching them and then monkeying around with them. There was no hint of fatigue or weakness in her. She was clearly living her life to the fullest. And we loved that.

English Short Story To be contd…

79 COMMENTS

  1. Very well written, Vinee! You have expressed so well. So very touching that the readers get so emotional. Stay strong dear, your guardian angel watches you n her blessings are always with you.

    • Wow…that was very sweet. Yes, I am sure it is my angel mom who is making my fingers fly on the keyboard. She probably wanted her story to be known by all.

    • Thanks for those words. If I have managed to make my reader feel the pain, I’m sure doing something right. Do read Part 2 that uploads today.

  2. Very well written. I could resonate this with my personal experience which is very very close to me. Neat work with no grammatical cosmetic work. Looks like writting is second nature. Keep up the good work. Looking dorwfor for the next one. All the very best.

    Ram Mohan Manda

    • I am glad I could touch your soul through this write up. Yes, I do enjoy writing but this was difficult. A lot of pent-up emotions came to the fore. Thanks for your encouragement. Do read parts 2 and 3. Part 2 has been uploaded, part 3 comes tomorrow.

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  3. Vinu, so beautifully written. Layers of love and lessons in it.
    Vasanthyammai surely wanted this story told – an iinspiring tale of strength and tenacity.
    More power to you.

    • It is our pleasure that you love reading our blog. Kindly subscribe our blog and get notification for every new post first, help us grow.

    • It is our pleasure that you love reading our blog. Kindly subscribe our blog and get notification for every new post first, help us grow.

  4. Didi you have expressed your emotions beautifully! However the sad part is the real story of my own beloved Aunty! I learnt more about her kindness today… keep this going

    • Thanks for liking the write-up, Tripti. Yes. It is indeed sad that Amma left us. But, like in the title, she lives on. In you, in me, in all of us…in every single soul she touched with her kindness…Amma lives on. Cheers!

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