3rd February 2012
Tonight my room is lit with a dim light; a hospital room in Indore, MP. This reminds me of the summer times spent in my mom’s home which was at a hilltop in a small village called Nelladu, Kerala. Back in those days electricity and water supply weren’t there and small gas lanterns which needed to be pumped (I don’t know what they call it) were used in the night. The yellowish dim light in my room right now is similar.
In that house in Kerala, near a blue colored door I can still remember clearly Appachan (grandfather) and Amma (grandmother) waiting eagerly to see us after a gap of a year on our school vacations. For us (me, my brother and cousins) who were living in Jhabua (another small town in MP) it was a time for thrill and fun to have open fields, hills and sparkling streams and fish in those streams to play with.
The earliest memory I had of Amma was she carrying me when I was some 5-6 years old. For me and my brothers and my cousins her room was the most comfortable place to crash in the night. Her room had a huge window facing towards the open field with fresh, gentle breeze flowing all through the night. I would still pay anything to have a nap like that. There was more. She would often tell us about many stories when we boys would crowd up her bed. She would tell about how our aunt visited Manipur years back, and how a herd of elephants attacked aunt’s home and similar stories. She would stroke our heads and we’ll be comfortably sleeping all night, right there. As kids we didn’t know what it would mean to us. Now after so many years, it mean a lot to me.
Later on she moved along with us to MP some 18 years back and since she had left her home (Kerala) she had even more stories to tell us.
Amma is special for me for one more reason. In childhood days it was in my nature that I would do something that would impress my dad. And I would often receive the appropriate reward. My dad would use ‘chooral’ (thin bamboostick) to mark my achievement on my body. And for a 10 year old, caught up in such a situation, nothing in the world seems to be more secure place than Amma’s room. I would run to her and she’ll save me from getting my reward. Amma was very kind hearted. So much that I convinced her, that if I don’t get a motorcycle I may not be able to concentrate on my studies and pass the high school. I got my first motorcycle at 16. Have so many such fond memories ..
Coming back to tonight, 3 February 2012, 92 years old she is lying somewhere in the floor down to mine in an ICU, almost lost her sanity, lost her hunger, refusing to drink water, thigh bone broken into two with an oxygen mask put on her face. Often she would break out in screams and at times she would be scared as if she has seen a ghost. She fears that people around her are going to hurt her. Doctors are refraining from fixing her bone with steel as they fear that she may not survive the surgery.
Right now, I don’t know what is going to happen to her next. But I thank God that we could have her in our lives. Yes it is painful to see her in so much of pain, with her voice failing now. But for me it is a great thing to see that today even though she can’t recognise any of us (family members), our names, for that matter hardly anything sane… she remembers her God and she is calling out to Christ in whom she put her trust years back.
Wish I could go down to the ICU and crawl into her bed and ask her to tell me another story. Or maybe I should not. The greatest story she ever told me is unfolding right now in front of my eyes. The story of her life.
6th February 2012
I lost Amma today. I saw them bringing her out of OT and she had considerable movements in her body. I had a glimpse of hope. Even doctors told me the same. Hope is a strange word. Hope is as good as the object on which your hope is based on. You can hope for anything and everything. But all things we hope don’t come true. I had a hope on the medical procedure. It failed. The change in her body was too much for her to handle. Seeing Amma go to her heavenly home wasn’t painful. Hope is the word again. She had a hope that after death she’ll be with her Creator. Death is a stepping stone to eternity with God. Everyone who is born again in Christ has that hope. Me too. And thank God it is far more reliable than a medical procedure. A Hope based on the person of Jesus Christ. Who told that, “I will be with you till the end of time”.
A person taking birth, growing up, toiling for living and dying is all strange without this Hope. Every enjoyment is temporary but we still strive for them repetitively. Nope, don’t tell me about making a difference in this world. Giants in their respective areas of work and life have come and gone. Today nobody cares about them on a Monday morning. As they say nothing we do will last forever.
I will miss Amma next time when I am home. But more than that, I am thankful and happy for Amma. For her love, our time together, our heated arguments, for our PJs. Above all, I was encouraged to see her complete dependence on Christ to see through her physically painful final days, reassuring everyone who knew her, that saving faith in Christ is a real deal. Because of that faith, death is not the end or an entry into unknown, but it is a new beginning. I am grateful to God that I could be with Amma in her final hours of earthly life.
Amma’s new story has started. And soon I will get to hear and see that too. Don’t know when.
I could not wish all this in any other way. It is late. I should sleep.