She lives on in us …

April 1, 2021 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

I woke up this morning after a very restless night feeling extremely lost. alone and out of sync. This is a day each year that I dread to relive. Eighteen years ago on this day, the person whom we loved and adored most, was taken from us and the world has never been the same again.

Ammi was unique, she was the glue that held us together. She was the cornerstone of our existence, the person who was always there to love us, to care for us, to celebrate with us and to unruffle our feathers and soothe us whenever anything went wrong. She was our guardian angel, our best friend, our confidante, our cheerleader- the person who loved us unconditionally and in whose eyes we could do no wrong. We were the most important people in her life and she always made us feel special and important.

That day 18 years ago is still so vivid in my memory. We were in a hospital as we had often been over the years. Ammi had multiple health problems – systemic lupus, hypertension, pulmonary embolism, rheumatoid arthritis etc and so she sometimes had to spend days and weeks in hospital. But she would always come home. Except this time! We had been in hospital more than a week. That day she had undergone multiple more tests because of some new symptoms. The doctor had just come in and told us the result of those tests. Apparently Ammi had Hepatitis C and she had 5 tumours in her liver which were malignant. A few minutes following this diagnosis, as I sat by her bedside holding her hand, Ammi breathed her last. Just like that she was gone.

The next few days were spent in a blur. First there was disbelief, then a slow realization of what had happened. Ammi was gone. The woman who had been there for us all our lives had gone to heaven. She had left a vacuum that no-one else would ever be able to fill.

Ammi had been married while still in her teens so she grew up along with us. She was self-educated – a voracious reader of everything – fiction, literature, poetry, newspapers – you name it. She watched films, documentaries and listened to discussions on television. Most people who met her assumed that she had a Masters’ degree or a PhD. She could carry on a conversation on any topic. She was passionate about so many things, had a strong belief in the goodness of people and our ability to make things better.

Despite being so ill for almost 20 years, Ammi enjoyed life. She was always happy and whenever anyone enquired about her welfare, she would smile and say “I’m fine”. No complaints. No whining. That smile was warm and affectionate and lit up her face and eyes and drew you to her. She was a very loving, thoughtful and sensitive person – empathetic to others’ needs, ever watchful and available to give advice, to offer help or just be there when someone needed her. Totally selfless to the core. She was so very generous and forgave people instinctively. Sometimes we wondered how she could forgive someone who had been nasty but that was who she was. She would say maybe they had their reasons, maybe it was in a moment of weakness that they had done or said what they had, that it was okay.

Ammi’s sense of humour was really infectious. She would find something funny in almost everything. We would be in fits of laughter after sharing stories or experiences of days gone by. All harmless. Just a reason to smile and enjoy the fact that we were together.

The past year has been rough on many of us – seeing so much suffering, losing friends and colleagues, having to distance ourselves from people we care about, restricting our social contact, struggling economically – it has all been difficult and continues to challenge each one of us. The uncertainty is hard but we have to put up with it and somehow support each other through it. This is when I miss Ammi even more. She was so good at being there for everyone, for consoling people during their worst crises. Her mellow, gentle and warm nature somehow made everything seem much easier to deal with.

As we commemorate the 18th anniversary of her transition to a better place, I would like to honour her memory by showing kindness to another human being, by alleviating someone’s hunger or suffering and by committing to being the best version of myself that I can be.

Ammi was a wonderful and exceptional human being. She gave so much of herself to those she came in contact with and certainly contributed to making this a better world. I hope that we – her children – are a small reflection of who she was. That is the least that we owe her.

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An adventure and a half Time to move on

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