When I got married and moved to Melbourne, I left behind a BIG family of parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles and 1 loved grand-mother. When you leave home, you don’t understand time doesn’t stand still. It doesn’t. I visited Bangalore 8 months after I moved to Melbourne and knew things haven’t changed in my absence. I came back satisfied it would remain so.
2 weeks back my mother called me up with news of my grandmother in the hospital. This time, things were much more serious and she stopped talking after a week. She responded to noise and voices but there was no spark of recognition in her eyes. My mother and her siblings were so unhappy with the turn of events. When I listened to all this over the phone, I couldn’t relate that to my determined-strong-strict-loving grandmother I know her as. Disoriented? No way, not her.
She was always firm and loving, wise and goofy with us. How could she become that way? I told myself this phase was temporary and it will end. In my mind, I was visualising walking into her room at my uncle’s place, her eyes bright and shiny with tears of happiness and her saying – “bandya, baa” (oh! you are here, come).
Last sunday, in my post valentine’s day bliss, I was cleaning up the dining table. My husband was vacuuming. The phone was on the kitchen counter. It rang and my husband answered. He said “Hi Sham (my sister)! Oh, okay. I will tell her” in a very solemn voice. And I knew. I knew she has departed from us. I knew and tears were running down my cheeks. My grandmother, my last surviving grand parent, who I always felt was invincible, wise and strong was no longer around.
That jolted me awake. In spite of constant updates on the hospitalisation, the grave news, I had it in my head that she would pull through and be as she was. As she has always been. No longer.
She’s gone to a better place, to be with the love of her life. But I miss her fiercely. Being this far away, having not seen the deterioration through my eyes, I can’t fathom my uncle’s house without her. I can imagine not seeing her. I can’t relate the news from my eyes to my ears.
The next visit is going to be so painful.
I miss you Ajji. You were my strength in some ways, my idol in many others. Don’t have much else to say, but the reality from a distance hurts. From closer quarters, it is unfathomable.