The letter written below is for my mama (maternal uncle, the youngest brother of my mom) whom we lost recently due to alcoholic cirrhosis.
How are you? I hope you’re in a better place. I’m so sorry that you had to go through a lot of pain. You had to start drinking to forget about your problems but it itself became your biggest problem at the end. You must had no idea that your best friend whom you loved the most, spent so much time together and hugged so tightly that nobody could separate you two would at last become your worst enemy and take your life in return, had you?
Mama, you were so talented and intelligent; how were you not able to recognize the face behind your best friend? How did you let it fool you? How were you not able to see the long term pain it could have given you as well as your family behind the short pleasure? It not only took your life but also gave you so much pain before taking it. You had to get admitted to the hospital for a month, that too in an ICU and had to undergo dialysis as well. How painful it might had been for you? And only you know how much pain you were going through silently before rushing to the hospital. Doctors told that it was too late, and even said that they felt like there was a plate full of varieties of food in front of them and they were in a dilemma about what to eat at first! They didn’t know from where to start treatment.
It breaks my heart to realise how you must had felt to see your wife crying and running here and there to make you feel better and save you. Maiju absolutely had no idea that you would leave her so soon. You didn’t even have a child together. I wonder from where she got strength when you were in the hospital. She really is so strong and brave. She took you to another renowned hospital when the doctors told her that they couldn’t do anything. But when they too told her the same thing (from where she was looking for a ray a hope) that all they could do is to make you feel better for some days but couldn’t save you, she took you to one of the best hospitals in India amidst the pandemic.
I still remember how excited maiju was to show me the house you both dreamed of that was still not completely built. It was about three years back. At that time, she had no idea that all these years back after so many struggles, she would be left alone in her dream house. You built her the house she dreamed of but you snatched a person from her she dreamed to live with. Yes, you distanced yourself from her. They say you wanted to die that’s why you didn’t tell anybody that you weren’t feeling well, but I know that it’s not because you wanted to die but because you were afraid of getting separated from your best friend. Mama, I wish you had loved yourself instead of loving your best friend. I wish you had thought about your wife, mom and all the people who loved you instead of thinking about your best friend. You let yourself die because of your love towards it? I can’t imagine how many people it’s making fool and planning to snatch everything from them too, the same way it snatched from you.
“Now even the face could be forgotten.”
“No maiju, I would come after this pandemic ends.”
I remember when I talked to maiju over the phone about three months ago, she scolded me for not coming to visit you both and told me that I would have to come to mamaghar and take you and maiju to the place where I study after this pandemic ends and I would have to take you both to the places around, to which I agreed. Who knew at that time that you won’t be with us to visit the places she wanted to explore with you? It was about three years ago when I saw you for the last time. I’m so sorry for not coming to visit you more often. I didn’t know that you would leave us so soon. I’m sorry that I was so stuck in my studies that I forgot life is full of uncertainty. But you’ve taught me a lesson, mama. I won’t wait for my holidays or the best time to visit anyone because nobody knows what happen next. Life is so uncertain. It didn’t wait for us to end this lockdown and curfew, so that we could see you for the last time. And nobody got to see you who were far from you.
Oh, my dearest mama, you were so lucky to have such a brave lady as your wife who loves you so much. She didn’t even care for her own life and about the inconvenience of having to pass the border during lockdown. And how can I forget how much courage she needed to gather when the doctors in India too told her to go back to her own country so that the family could see your face for the last time. Even after getting informed that you didn’t have more than five days and it would be hard for her to pass the border and come back to her own land if you took your last breathe there, she was still refusing to come back and was looking for a ray of hope. But what could she do other than believing the doctors after they told her so many times that anything could happen anytime? She had to take you back. You might had been waiting to see grandma and eldest mama before leaving us. That’s why you took your last breath when you came back to your own land and saw their face. I heard that you were continuously taking their name, and saying, “mommy mommy..dai dai..”
Grandma was crying over the phone when you were in the hospital. I can’t imagine what she must had felt to see you laid upon the pyre. The hands which held you when you took your first breath were not even able to touch you when you took your last breath (as nobody was allowed to touch you due to fear of covid-19). You left everybody with a void that couldn’t be filled, mama. I still have no guts to call grandma and maiju and ask them how they are. I have pictures of them (doing Kriya Karam) that I recently received, but have no guts to see it.
Mama, your photos and videos of being cremated were sent to us during your funeral and I couldn’t see it. I know that they were being sent so that we could see your funeral for not being able to attend it, but to receive your dead body pictures didn’t make me feel right. I still can’t forget those images of you being burned into ashes. But what I knew at that time is how we all are going to leave so alone. Our life is so full of uncertainty but still we forget to enjoy it. We are going to be so alone at last and leave people, money and everything behind but still we are chasing them with greed, unkindness and selfishness. I heard everyone saying how nice you were; how you used to spread love, make people laugh and enjoy life but nobody talked about how much money you earned or how successful you were. People took your good deeds as your success.
Your voice echoes in my ears these days, the same voice I used to hear on the radio when I was little and say not just to my friends but everyone around me to stay silent and listen carefully – “Hey, my mama is so funny and can talk in so many ways, did you listen to his voice?” But I wasn’t excited like that when I heard your voice in the tribute made by your friends (RJs) when you were gone. Who knew that the voice which used to make us laugh will make us cry someday? You were the apple of eyes and dearest to everyone who knew you. But sadly, you became the same for God as well. God took you with himself rather than protecting you. Life is so unfair, isn’t it?
The past few days have been really painful to us; your family as well as all the people who knew you. You left us so soon with a scar on all of us that don’t wanna leave us. It’s been 20 days since you left us but you will always be staying in our hearts and minds. You were so young to have gone too soon, mama. Dealing with shock and grief was not that easy, it’s still not. But we are really trying to get into the reality that you are no more with us. You will be remembered, always and forever. I hope grandpa is protecting you.
I saw you in my dream; cheerful and full of life, the same way you used to be.
We miss you, mama!
After reading this letter, I hope you’ve come to know that it’s not just a letter to my mama but a message to all of us; for not doing anything in a pleasure that could give us as well as our dear ones a long term pain, for not making anything our habit that could lead us towards addiction, for loving and making time for each other, for appreciating the people around us before it’s too late, for enjoying life as it’s full of uncertainty and for spreading love and kindness. If we have no idea what is waiting for us next, then why don’t we spread love, kindness and positivity? Why don’t we seek love rather than seeking money? Why don’t we do everything with a pure intention? After all, we all are going to be remembered for our good deeds when we are gone. Not all the people who earn name, fame and money are remembered. Only those with a pure soul are missed. Only few are able to leave a void on us when they are gone. Please be kind to everyone; we never know what they are going through. Stay safe and take care of yourself as well as the people around you. – Love, Arati.