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Last One Standing

When my paternal grandmother passed away in the early 90s, my father quietly said, "No one is left for me!" My mother, brother, and I were there for him, yet he felt alone, abandoned. I attributed it to the loss of the mother-son connection.


After wishing my mother adieu on Friday, I stand at the same threshold. Thirty odd years later.


I now understand what my father meant. After Sandeep's passing, my mother was my only connection to those who were present when I came into this world. With her departure that link to my childhood is lost forever. "No one is left for me" resonates.


Everyone dear is here for me - my husband, children, daughter-in-law, grandchild, sisters-in-law, cousins, nephews and nieces. I know I am not alone but the cord that severed with Ma's passing leaves me without a tether on one end. Like healing neurons, new connections will eventually form to center me.


Ma's departure is desperately-needed relief for her.


The agony of losing her firstborn followed by post-stroke misery was simply too much for her broken heart and frail body. She tried hard to put up a brave front. She told me to make new memories. She ate, hydrated and followed all the instructions from her physician-grandkids who took care of her like a parent cares for a newborn.


Yet, her body kept crumbling one bit at a time as neurologic deficit unraveled her constitution. With phenomenal care and surrounded by family, she slipped away peacefully.


We have cried till exhaustion - for her and all over again for Sandeep.


I have to believe that Baba, Ma and Sandeep have reunited and are raising hell up above - celebrating her 91st birthday today, talking over each other, eating sumptuously, and complaining about us. The other alternative is that it has all ended and they've disappeared forever - a thought I try not to indulge in.


Typical of mother-daughter duos, Ma and I had a relationship of admiration and eye rolls.


We were two stubborn Capricorns who doled heavy doses of "you are with me or against me". With pathological optimism at the core, we had much in common - waking up at the crack of dawn, always arriving before time to events, organizing things even when they were perfectly lined up, planning every detail, and staying in touch with friends and family even when they don't. We also frequently collided on her commentaries or when she called my BS. She could make me throw in the towel with her incisive words. Truth be told, I wasn't always patient with her either.


Through our shared history of six decades, the last memories of her will linger in my heart forever. She was a baby in a fetal position, crying for my brother while I held her. She reached for me, perhaps afraid that I might leave her too. I stayed up at night making sure she was breathing because her heart was so heavy and her soul was nearly crushed. She was definitely not going to leave under my watch!


As her condition worsened, we both found ways to get past our differences. She couldn't smile for me but I know she knew how much I loved her. In our last conversation, she didn't cry. With that incredible gesture she prepared me with the coping skills I would need after she passed.


I hope your million-watt smile is bringing cheer in heaven. Make sure Sandeep and Baba are doing well. Watch over me and help me stay in my lane. Now that I cannot call you, I will quietly talk to you twice a day and tell you about my day.


For the genes you and Baba blessed Sandeep and me with, for everything you taught us, for being our devoted cheerleader, for the voice in our head on spirituality, and for loving me unconditionally - thank you, I love you more than I can express.


Here's wishing you the happiest of birthdays and prayers that the light from you, Baba, and Sandeep will continue to shine on me as I remain the last one standing.









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2 commenti


naomiburgess1
09 gen 2023

Rumy, I wept. xoxoxo

Mi piace

ck4email
08 gen 2023

”Admiration and eye rolls…“ there are no words. Sending you prayers and light my friend.

Mi piace
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