Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why did you have to go?

The call came on a Friday morning. The usually chirpy voice was extremely weak, "I had a fever last week. For the past two days my back has been hurting like hell. We are going to Chetthipuzha hospital. Thought I'll just tell you" The pleas to get on to a taxi to come to Cochin where we were fell on to deaf ears. She was admitted on arrival. Her BP went low in the night and she was transferred to ICU. An ECG later, they asked to shift her to a hospital with better facilities.

Saturday evening, it was Pushpagiri and straight into ICU. M and I reached in the evening and she was her pleasant self, though visibly weak. My cousin who is a doctor there assured us there is nothing to worry, but her doctor gave us a different picture - myocariditis , possibly caused by the viral fever she had the previous week or sometime before that. Monday was M's first day in Bangalore office, so I insisted that he go back to Cochin. The first call from ICU came at 10.30 in the night.

"BP is going lower, she is in a critical state, we are injecting the medicine directly into the vein on her neck, please sign this form", and that was the beginning of a number of forms that I signed throughout the night. Sunday did not give us any hopes, except the usual umpteen opinions each one in the family has regarding the hospital, doctors, shifting to another hospital, getting expert opinions from all the doctors in the family and in turn whoever they knew as well. My poor brother who reached there not knowing the seriousness of the situation, my youngest sister who was crying over the phone and wanting to come down from Dubai, B who was already on her way, none of us knew what to do.

Sunday evening, the doctors said her kidneys had started getting affected. For this particular condition of heart, there is no treatment, it has to heal on its own, the only thing that we can do is give maximum support to the other systems. One of them suggested a rarely used machine, which when checked was available only in one hospital in Delhi.

Slight improvement on Monday, bad news again on Tuesday, we were desperattely waiting for the machine even though the doctors had warned us not to expect any miracles. My youngest sister also arrived by then. Wednesday morning, situation was the same and the machine was supposed to arrive by noon. Four o' clock, my brother and I were in the billing section to pay for the machine when my sister calls up and says the doctors have called us to the ICU.

"She had a cardiac arrest a few minutes back". That was it and a part of our life gone, just like that.

It has been seven months now, that heavy stone on my heart has not moved an inch, and it is as if someone is trying to choke me when I think of her. The questions still remain, would it have made a difference if she was in some other hospital, was there something we should have noticed earlier, the list is endless.

She had gone through a lot in her life, but no one had seen her without a smile on her face. She was the conscience keeper of her elder co-sisters, they left the keys to their homes and hearts to her and she guarded it with her life. For someone who came from a village, had not even graduated, had not travelled beyond Chennai, she thought ahead of her times. In a conservative town where her daughters were brought up, she welcomed their male friends home without the slightest of hesitation. In an orthodox Syrian Catholic family, where working women were the exception rather than the norm, she stood by her eldest daughter when she said she doesn't want to get married early and got her second daughter married off. One thing that she never recovered from was her youngest daughter's demise.

Without fail, almost everyone has told us, "It is not you, but I, who have lost. You don't know what she was to me." To her aging parents, she was their life line. To her brothers, she was the rock on which they leaned on. To her sisters, she was their dearest elder sister. To everyone who walked in and out of her home, she was the solution to all their problems.

To the four of us, she was our mother.


  1. Know exctly how u feel, having gone thru the same myself!

    time is a healer, but a slow one, i have found out.

    the answer to all those questions still nagging you: her time had come.

    may she rest in peace!

    PS.so u r from my part of the world?

  2. Made me cry and brought and back memories. I know its difficult. Just hold on and hang in there. Time, they say is a healer, can't vouch for it but it does help. I still find it difficult to bear, even though its been a few years. And I know how difficult it is to accept all the reason... Just hold on.

    For the wonderful women she was, may her soul rest in peace.

    Prayers for you and your loved ones. Take care.

  3. @kpj & Ashwadhy- thanks alot for your kind words. I know the intensity of the pain will come down with time- we went through the same thing when my sister passed away in 1996.

    @kpj - i am from Kavalam - a true kuttanadan at heart :-)

  4. I completely understand what you would have and are still going through! Been there, been through it all...

    All I can say is may her soul Rest in Peace and as everyone else has commented- "Time is the best healer" and all of us have to move on in life...

  5. left me with a a heavy heart...I can very well imagine..but i guess like all said here..time heals...my prayers...

    I know chettipuzha hospital..have checked in there myself once..my paternal grandmother passed away in that hospital...and my native place in like walking distance from the hospital...

  6. Hey,
    No nothing you could have done would have changed anything. It was meant to be. God has his own plans, though I would be the last one to say I understand the way He works!! But like everyone else before me said..... time heals.God bless.

  7. Hi....I hopped on to ur page all excited and intrigued about the duck rost u mentioned and was smiling more when i read ur latest post but when I read this one....I don't now know what to say......

    i don't even want to imagine the depth of the loss ....my prayers are with you and your family.... lets hope that time will heal everything....

  8. Thanks Rum, Mathew, Jeslyn and Mishmash. I know from experience that the pain will lessen but the loss is forever.
    Thanks again for your kind words

  9. reading it now. flowers, prayers, and smiles for you all and your mother.

  10. What shall I say except that I am sorry! Like you said I have never seen her without a smile on her face. She has truly lived her life and carried out her duties with dignity. I am sure her her soul rest in peace!

  11. Your mother sounds so special.....I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.....I'm in tears.

    May the Good Lord give u the strength!!!!!!

  12. Thanks rocksea and Jacob
    Thanks Nancy - She was indeed a very special person