My beloved Pishi, Ma to Tarun, passed away two years ago today. The anniversary is tough. Wrapped up in the frenetic last days and hours is a lot of sadness. Saying goodbye even when it is time (or is it ever?) is tough no matter how prepared you are.
Pishi was equal parts adoring, adorable, and aggravating. My AAA mother could be all three in the same moment!
Taking showers was very troublesome. She hated the process.
I used to trick her by saying, "Come I will show you something." She was too evolved for profanity but she came close to spewing it when I nudged her into the shower stall. When you go to the heavens and see your husband, don’t you want to be clean and look good, I would ask. She’d pretend to slap my head in return. Once in the shower, she wouldn’t want to come out as if to punish me. On the morning of her final illness, she wanted to shower. I think she knew it was time to reunite with Tarun's dad. Now I miss our banter.
She was extremely proud of her long tresses.
Her hair remained jet black until the very end except for a stylish crop of gray in the front. When her braid got near her waist line, I’d quietly snip it. She never gave me permission, nor did she ever forgive me for these haircuts. When I was really mad at her, I’d threaten to cut her hair super short. It always made her laugh indignantly.
She loved answering the phone!! Oh boy, did she love the phone.
She defied age and gravity by leaping out of bed to answer every junk call. It was a thing to marvel. She loved long chats with telemarketers - neither party understanding the other - and then she’d holler at us to talk to them. No, no don’t answer those calls, don’t tell them you are alone at home, don’t call us - we would implore, to absolutely zero effect.
She knew how to fill up our voice mailboxes.
Our phones would buzz in meetings. If we didn’t answer she would call repeatedly and leave long messages. With one message a minute, she had mastered the art of filling our mailboxes. We have a few saved messages that we love to replay from time to time. In some she asks where we are, in some she tells us she is all alone at home, and in others she just calls out for us. I wish we had answered more often.
She said we kept her poor.
We allegedly never gave her cash like she was the victim of a global conspiracy. Whenever she said this, we would replenish her wallet and then she'd hand us money to buy "sweets". We saved what she gave us until her next I-am-so-poor meltdown and the same notes recycled for years. Josh loved getting cash from her. He used to call it "drug money" from his nonagenarian grandma!
She was used to my work travels but if Tarun ever came home late, she would become a sentry.
She'd sit in a chair in the loft from where she could hear the garage door open. She would keep watch for hours and repeatedly ask me why he's out so late. I'd moan and groan. I'd lead her to her bed, tuck her in, and five minutes later she'd be back on guard duty all worried about her 60-odd year old baby boy. At the time I would pull my hair out, but now nobody waits for us to come home.
Along with this came unconditional love.
Love for everyone she knew and didn’t know. She was the epitome of immense kindness and gave her attention and advice like you were the only one that mattered. She teased us endlessly as an older sibling does to a younger one - not out of spite but because she knew she would get away with it. And then she would sweetly say, “I mean well!”. She always did.
Losing her is hard but the memories are priceless.
I know she is radiantly regaling her family and friends in the heavens, she's making new friends every second, and complaining about us between sending blessings and love.
Pishi, we miss you, we think of you, we love you and you will always be the light of our lives and make us smile even in the darkest of moments.
I hope you have found peace.