I wrote this post on two days ago, on 8th May. It was an important day for me. This post is the reason why, and the story of how it became an important day for me. I did not plan to post this writing actually… but i thought i might as well put it out into the world. Be warned… it’s a LONG post… and it was rushed, so there might be grammatical mistakes.
Eight of May. What is the significance of that day? It used to be:
- Eight days after 1st May
- Four days before my birthday
- Three days after my ex aunt in law’s birthday
- Two days before children’s day (Here where I live)
… till it became the worst day of my life.
Early 2010, my mother started getting sick. She had pains radiating from her back to front abdomen. She couldn’t eat properly. She couldn’t sleep properly. We (my sisters, brother and I) showed her to specialists. No luck. Her scans showed everything was normal. Then, late May of that year, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was 55 years old at that time. Just 55 years old. Doctors here weren’t qualified to treat cancer of any form, and they couldn’t pinpoint which stage of cancer she was having. So, they took her abroad to get a formal diagnosis. I had to stay behind.
It was stage four pancreatic cancer metastasis to liver. Doctors predicted she could last 6 months without treatment, and around 8 months with treatment. I still remember the day I heard that news. I remember being frozen. I had just started college and I was having my first semester examinations. I don’t remember how I managed to pass any of those papers.
When Mum was brought back, I remember she was angry. She was not told what was going on. Oh! How stupid my sisters were. Mum is an evil genius. You try to hide something from her, she finds out. She wasn’t upset that she was having cancer. She was upset that they thought she couldn’t handle it. She was strong. I had no idea anyone can be told that they have this amount of months left… and still go about as if nothing happened.
The early months were bareable. She struggled to let us wait on her. She was so used to doing things on her own. She insisted on cooking and cleaning. We let her do minimal amount to make her feel wanted. I remember this one day, I was going to college. I was late and I was going to skip breakfast. I was almost out the door when she handed a box to me. It was packed breakfast, by her. I almost gave her a hug. (But I couldn’t… coz that was not our thing) I went to college, had breakfast between classes and cried. Cried knowing that this might be the last breakfast she might ever make for me… and it was.
Her condition got worse and worse. Chemotherapy made her weak. She required hospitalization every week. At one point, the doctors asked to keep her in hospital for longer to observe her. Luckily, my brother managed to get her a private room in the hospital. It had a bed for the caretaker to sleep in as well. And enough room for her to walk around when she gets bored of lying down.
The months spent in hospital felt so long. I remember how life was then. I woke up by 6, usually skipped breakfast and rushed to relieve my sister who spent the night at hospital. I had morning class at 830, so if my sister is going to be late or if mum just wanted to sleep, I took care of her morning routine. That was to give her a shower and make sure she had breakfast. One thing I loved was combing and plaiting her hair. She even loved it, and even though it was difficult for her to sit up for long, she let me. I had to realize that she was tired and make her lie down. We had stopped chemotherapy since there was no improvement.
Later on, her condition got worse as the cancer affected her digestive system. We took her to the hospital for the last time. She stayed hospitalized for months. She was no longer able to process food. She needed a feeding tube, which had to be aspirated to remove the fluid that was forming in her abdomen due to the cancer. Morphine had to be administered almost every three hours (I think) or so to manage her pain.
At this point the doctors suggested a surgery to remove the excess fluid and insert tubes directly to her stomach for feeding. The operation was done on 4th May. I remember that day. I skipped an exam and rushed to hospital to speak to Mum before her surgery. She had not been given morphine, so she was in a proper state of mind. She talked to all of us, separately and together. She told me to never knowingly do something I will regret, and to be a good girl. That was the last time (and possibly the first time in a long time) that I received a hug from her. I remember being in tears as she was taken in to the Operation Theatre. That was the last time I saw the real her.
After the operation, she was in so much pain. She had painkillers administered whenever she needed to manage her pain. She had her operation on Wednesday the 4th. That Saturday which was 7th May, I remember standing outside in the park of the hospital. I was watching the sunset. And I remember realizing that she will not make it past tomorrow. I remember just standing there frozen till my brother came to fetch me after I missed his calls. He and I talked about it for a bit. Apparently, the doctor’s did not realize her conditions were so bad. Had they known… they would not have operated on her. The worst part? The doctor who operated on her was my uncle. My mother’s brother. I don’t know what he might have gone through.
That night I refused to go home. But everyone insisted that I go home and come back in the morning as soon as I can. So I went home… to an empty home. I couldn’t sleep properly. I woke up every hour to check my phone to see if they called. Next morning, before going to hospital i quickly went through twitter ( i used to tweet back then). I found out that it was mother’s day. How ironic was it that she was about to die on Mother’s Day? I rushed to hospital… well I walked. It was less than half mile away. When I reached the hospital I saw so many people waiting outside. People I don’t even know properly, distant relatives. They patted my back and told me to stay strong. I felt like screaming at them to go away.
When I got to the room, I saw my family gathered around the bed. Mum was gasping for air, by now. She had oxygen mask on, and she was connected to a heart rate monitor. My brother was so silent that it worried me. My aunts and uncle (my mother had lots of sisters and brothers… all of them who loved her so much) were there too. My sisters were sobbing in a corner. My Antio (relative and my sister’s bestfriend) was also there, in tears. I was confused I think. I held my mother’s hand, put on a cheeky grin and started talking my little nephew. He also came near and talked to me and told me about his grandmother. A distant relative made a snide remark at me for being so okay with all of what’s happening. This is when my brother snapped, asked everyone to leave. Everyone. Just my brother, my sisters and I remained. It was almost 11 o clock by then.
Brother asked me to talk to her… despite her inability to possibly understand what’s going on. He gave me a minute to tell her that i loved her. I just stood there. Taking in the sight of her. Taking in the fact that this face is going to go away, and i will never see it again. And for everything that happened… i couldn’t tell her i loved her. I couldn’t speak a word. But i screamed in my head telling her not to go. If only she heard.
I don’t really wanna write the rest of it. She passed away around 12:07. I remember everything that happened at that moment, but nothing of what happened the rest of the day. My bestfriend came to see me a while later and was with me the whole day (even though she was 7 months pregnant). She said I was surprisingly calm, while others were weepy. I did cry at first. But I was stuck later on. I went home after her funeral later that day… and I just stayed in my room.
Mum and Me 🙂
8th May will forever be the day I lost the most important thing in my life. I did not just lose one parent. I lost both. When my Dad died long back when I was 7 years of age, I felt nothing. I didn’t even understand the concept of death. No one bothered to explain. I was playing under a table with my toys and I overheard people saying that he is no more. I felt nothing. My mother became both parents for me. She had her faults, but she was the best mother I could have ever asked for. To me… she is irreplaceable. I will never call anyone else mother, and I will never be anyone’s daughter again.