Sunday, May 11, 2008

Farewell Amma

To be honest, this post ... would be the most hardest to complete, and might even be the most longest in my entire life. For it comes straight from my heart ... for someone very special, and she meant the whole world to me ... my dearest Amma (mother).

It has taken me a while to think over these last couple of months that has come to pass, with the recent loss of my Amma to cancer.

She was indeed the most loving mother any child could ask for - compassionate, sincere, kind hearted, forgiving, etc. Singled handedly my mom, Shirley, as all her close friends and acquaintances called her, brought up six children with pride and dignity. Never once, have I heard her complain or belittle her children to her friends. To her, we were her pride and joy ... children who would one day appreciate her for who we are today.

It was just about a year ago that I dedicated a post to honor my dearest mom on this very special day we all celebrate as "Mother's Day". Reading it once again, breaks me down to the point I wonder : "Did I do everything right, did I make her proud?"

I ask this same question over and over again, how long will this ripped out part of my heart last? I reckon, only God will have the actual answer to that. I've lost my Amma. She was cremated some two weeks ago, but I still can't get over of the fact of losing her, and cry every night silently in my room. I think about her all the time. In this life, she is gone, she is no more. I will never hear her voice again, or ever see her smile.

What I've learnt from this situation is that when a loved one dies, we experience various stages of grief. Basically there are four key stages : Shock, Denial/Anger, Sadness/Depression, and Acceptance. And trust me, there is no pre-set time limit on how long it might take a person to move through this stages, and the stages can recycle over and over again, throughout one's living life.

I found that spending every chance my family and I get to be with my dad (if there's an award for the most understanding and loving husband/father, my dad, will surely top that list, anytime!) over the weekends is important during this trying times. Friends tell me : "Nihal, you need time to adjust to a life without your mother, and this takes time. Allow yourself the time to experience the pain of losing your mom, and after awhile, you should be able to return to the things you enjoy doing." But believe you me, this is so damn hard to practice in real life.

I have learned a lot about the grieving process and have come to realize that eventually I will never get over the loss of my mom. I do not feel I will ever truly accept her loss, but have learned to acknowledge the loss of my Amma, and will try to move on with my life, and will make sure of keeping her a very part of it all.

I used to think that Mother's Day was just another simple holiday? The day where all the children were especially nice to one another so that our Mom could enjoy some "peace and quiet," and it's definitely a commodity which is in short supply in most of our mothers' lives nowadays. But I know that we treated our Mom as a "Queen for the Day" in those less-harried times.

Children — even when we've become adults — we need a way to express our love for our Mom. It was easy back then, when we were young and could easily fashion a statement out of some paper and glue. But sadly to some, It gets harder when their lives become filled with new duties and obligations. Being the youngest in the family like me, we're showered with all the examples and reasoning's the eldest always give. When we grow up, we need to find a new way to say "I love you", once you do this ... it is everlasting! Believe me ... I saw this in my Mom's face, every time I told her this.

Maybe it's just me, but Mother's Day will never be the same again. To me, this has to be THE day, if you're too busy chasing your financial freedom that other 364 days, a child needs to reflect on the sacrifices a Mom had put in raising them up, never once ever complaining, making sure there's food always on the table, and ultimately cherishing sweet memories and for that one day in your life ... if you could ... just say out loud, and raise your arm and give her that big warm hug that a Mom truly deserves, and you tell her with all your heart ... "Mom, I love you so much, you're the greatest. You have brought me up well!" This will surely send them a message that "I still remember all you did for me."

What I will miss though from my Mom's absence is : Her frequent calls to me, her regular stays at my house, her visiting my daughter at the hospital (take note, this is a lady who practically can't see anything beyond five feet away from her very clearly, and yet she's there after catching a cab, at the hospital ward, showing her support for her youngest grand-daughter), her charitable deeds (all her grand-children calls her 'Mother Mary' for this), her positive attitude towards life, and her missing the sight of seeing my daughter walk on her own, but mostly, ... I will miss her smile, her touch and seeing her enjoying her holidays, more so when she's always around her daughter, my only sister (she is indeed another Angel sent from heaven above).

Amma, thank you for who I am

Thank you for all the things I'm not

Forgive me for the words unsaid along the way
And for the times I forgot

Amma, remember all my life
You have showed me love, You sacrificed
How I've changed along the way

And I know you believed
And I know you had dreams
And I'm sorry it took all this time for me to see
That I am where I am, because of your truth
I miss you

Amma, forgive me for the times you've cried
Amma, forgive me for not making right
All of the storms I may have caused you
And I've been wrong

Amma, I hope this makes you smile
I hope you're happy with my life
At peace with every choice I've made
And I know you've believed in all of my dreams
And I owe it all to you ... Amma

And I will forever be your son (in this life and the next) ... this I promise!


Diane said...

That's a lovely tribute to your Amma, Nihal. I'm sure she knew how much you loved her and she must have been very proud of you - it's all part of a mom's job to know these things.

It's important to keep telling loved ones how much you appreciate them while they are around. I'm going to tell my boys again tomorrow...

Thank you for sharing at this very sad time. My thoughts are with you and your family.

aSiDa said...

Hey Nihal Bapa,

It is still a very hard time for us all and I don't think that it will only take me a couple of weeks to accept the fact that Aachie is no longer with us anymore... Just reading this and seeing that photo of Aachie had put me in tears because I am definately not over it...

I really do regret not being able to get a flight down to Malaysia in time... But I do hope she's watching over us now and guiding us to living a better life...

Rest in Peace Aachie - Happy Mother's Day...

Nadisha said...

I love you Nihal mama and I love that you are reaching out to all of us in your grief. Thank You.

I know we all feel Aachi's loss like a new alien presense in itself. I am at a loss for words, all I feel is still hard to put down, or even to decipher.

I only know that the first thoughts to cross my mind the moment I opened my eyes was Bob Marley's Redemption Song and Aachi.

It probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense but, if I could quote Bob Marley, I'd say:

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds."

I hope Aachi, that you have found your freedom in death from pain, suffering and hardships.

I have found eternity and it was when I also told her that I loved her. She passed away knowing that so I am at peace, missing her always.

chanelwong said...

Nihal..this is a beautiful write up and it is soo touching.

I believe your mom will always be proud of you, looking at you from heaven smiling.

Dinesh De Silva said...

Well, Aachie was a wonderful grandmother who always had shown her love and appreaciation towards us.So Aachie we will never forget you and you will always be in our hearts forever.

A Tribute to my Grandma

J@n!ce said...

HI Nihal, its so hard to accept the loss of someone so dear. However, I believe your Mom wouldn't want to see you so sad. She is in a safe place now with no more suffering.

I can understand the pain cos I loss my brother to cancer too.

Do take care & my thoughts with you & your family :)

NIHAL said...

It is indeed very hard for me to accept the loss of someone so very dear to me.

Diane @ You're a great friend, and I must say a true one at that too. I'm sure you get an abundance of love from your kids. You've voted for my blog every single day for God knows how long, and I will never forget that!

Asitha, Nadisha & Dinesh @ My two nephews and niece, you guy's made Aachi (Grandma) so very happy whenever all of you had the chance to be around her. Asitha, don't worry too much about not being able to see Aachi ok, she knew you tried! Mimi, I will wait for the day you deliver your baby girl :) Dindi, make Aachi proud, and be that wonderful person that Aachi always said you would turn out to be one day.

NIHAL said...

Chanel @ Thank you so very much for your kind words. I am really sorry if I am so very late on helping you redesign your blog, will try and work on it a.s.a.p. And, on another note, I totally forgot to wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!

Janice @ It's friends like you that give me the will to carry on. I am so sorry to hear about your brother, and yes, it is hard to face the reality of life when someone in our own family passes away. And Janice, Happy Belated Mother's Day greetings to you too :)

Our only console to all this is that they will no longer suffer in pain, and are at peace.

On behalf of my family, I wanna thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.

Sharon said...

Nihal, I'm so sorry for your loss. I felt the same way too when my father passed away. Hold on to that feeling and never lose it because in that way you can still hold them close to you every day.

NIHAL said...

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for those words. I will surely take your advice, and hopefully will be able to hold on to her as she was, a beautiful character, for eternity.

Ruvini said...

Dear Nihal bapa,

What you have written is so beautiful. I think that the photo is excellent and aachi looks so cute. I wish I could hug her.

I miss aachi, I really do. I miss her puffy cheeks, and her folded lips, and her laugh.

I can't help but think of her everyday. I sit at work meetings, bored everyday with monotonous rubbish being babbled, and my mind can't help but wonder into a distance, thinking about aachi.

I remembered that time when she came to New Zeland, and she came to my highschool dance competition. I won runners up that year, and was so upset. But then aachi kept saying how impressed she was and how she thought we should have won first place.

She was there to suggest the need for me to wear a bra when I was 12. haha. I wanted a bra, but amma never got me one until aachi suggested it. Aachi called them my buttons. hmmm hehehe

I remember the time when she would sit us grandkids down in a circle and roll balls of rice into our mouths. Or the time after feeding us, wiping our mouth with a wet cloth so vigourously that it felt like exfoliation!

Beautiful aachi. We will all have a part of her within us. My extreme cleaning habit for one (I am so proud of this inheritance)! Can't say I wash my vegetables with soap like aachi does though. haha. That is so funny. She always wanted to please all of us. Making us coffee, tea, milo. The first one to wake up in the morning and organise this.

I love aachi, and I love thinking about her. I get sad at times, but my happy thoughts of her make grieving for her easier.

She was a strong and beautiful soul.

She is resting in peace. She is watching over us all.

Hope you, aunty Aida and the kids are well Nihal bapa

anildesilva said...

Very touching Nihal Bapah,

Aachi, what can we say about her that has not already been said by herself? she has showed all of us how a beautiful and blessed human being she is throughout the years in her life.

This loss is coming down hard on all of us and I can understand why, Its Aachi! I can't believe she's gone. I will never forget how loving Aachi was to all of us. She was always happy to have all of us together around the house, the whole big De Silva family. She will continue to be happy if we are there for Seeyah and the rest of the family.

Remember the tied bundle of sticks story Chand Nendah told on the 50th Anniversary night? Just because Aachi is gone, we have to step up and make sure that string will always keep the bundle of sticks tied together.

LOVE YOU AACHI, Happy Mother's Day!!

Mariuca said...

Hola Nihal, I'm very sorry for being late but I'm here now. Please accept my sincerest condolences and I hope you'll remain strong during this trying time.

And please don't worry, I am 100% sure you did your mom proud in every way possible and she was much loved during her time here.

Take care and loads of HUGS for you Nihal! :)

Mariuca said...

Hola Nihal! I have something for you at my blog, congrats! Hope this will cheer you up sikit! :):):)