December 10, 2006

Human Nature, Love and Relationships

“Such a feeling is coming over me, there is wonder in everything I see, not a cloud in the sky …” As I danced tonight to the old song with my friends, in the cold wintry air I could feel the surge of happiness after a very long time. It was like the beginning of a flickering flame which slowly spread into my very being - banishing the numbness which had threatened to become a part of me. And the glowing charcoal in the thick iron stoves placed all around the big tent added to the warmth. I was so blessed to be with the ones who understood me and who cared about me I thought as I looked at my friends. It felt so good - just being happy.

The past few months were spent away from home. And in October I had to go to Kerala. It started with a phone call from my father who was bed bound for so many months. He had broken his leg which was operated twice and had still not healed. He said that my mother couldn’t move her right arm and legs. I urged him to ask someone to take her to the hospital as soon as possible. There was no one he said. Was he too weary to ask his nephews or his friends? I still do not know. It took me four days to reach my parents. My mother was very ill by then and later in 'Critical Care' for several weeks. While my brother and I sat outside waiting, I thought of how my mother had taken care of my brother and me when we were young. What a creative woman she had been. There was not much money but she made sure that there was plenty of delicious food on the table for us. The warmth she had brought in her home. The dresses she sew, the delicate embroidery, the beautiful garden she tended, sweaters and socks she knitted for many soldiers who fought for India in the 1962 war. What a woman she had been – pioneering work in welfare for Refugees and Airmen’s families after the 1971 war. And later ... how relationships had changed after mental illness had entered our lives. How expectation, anger and sorrow had clouded my love for her.

When she came out of the coma she spoke my name and my brother’s looking at us both with such intense adoration. I understood then the complexity of human nature, love and relationships. She was completely paralysed and I wanted to run away from it all - to the Himalayas away from all the pain and suffering of the ones I love. Her brain had been traumatized by stroke and low sodium levels. She was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I prayed with desperation for the strength to help her in the struggle. I was able to be by her side while she slowly became better. While recovering she spoke so often about her love for my daughter. It was so comforting to be with my mother. My anger towards her has gone - forever. Watching her suffering has been so very difficult.

Meanwhile my daughter was able to cook meals for her father, take care of our home, the cat, the plants - and so well. She spoke to me every day wanting to know everything. And she said -“Mama it is Grandmother’s brain that has been affected. We all know how it is. Take care of her and help her. Do not worry about us.” I will always remember these words and am grateful to God that she could do what she wanted to do in a difficult time.

Posted by survivor at December 10, 2006 03:43 AM


Dear Indian Mother,
glad to see that you are able to write inspite of a very difficult situation in your family....both your father and mother bedridden...and your daughter managing a difficult shd be very difficult for are really very courageous and able to manage the situation.
it is true that all our relationships with our relatives,friends&neighbours have changed after mental illness entered our fact I have not revealed the illness of my son to any of my relatives eventhough I have a very big family,four brothers and four sisters all of them married and settled in different places,Whenever they visit us,we somehow managed them and wd send them out as early as possible....they wd ask abt my son..why he is like that...or why he has not completed his Degree,why he has not married etc;but we wd not tell the truth...because no use in telling them truth...they cannot understand the the nature of illnesss.Similarly I have almost slowly discontinued our contacts with our friends and neighbours after this illness had entered our lives.
I am also glad to see that your daughter is able to manage a difficult situation,in your absense.Actually thats all we want from them,,"to look after themselves and look after our family in our absense".
Best wishes to all of you

Posted by gsivakkumar on20th Dec 2006

Posted by: gsivakkumar at December 20, 2006 11:58 PM

My thoughts and well wishes are with you as you go through this diffiuclt time of illness in both of your parents.

Posted by: HeartArt at December 27, 2006 09:37 AM

just read Feb & March 2004 part as yet... my nephew suffers from same the ailment... am goin' to pass on to me niece, a convent educted girl and a topper in CBSE and she in turn translate it to her mother, who is barely literate... i think it wud be a gr8 help... I also realized that 4000 psychiatrist 4 over a billion people is a shame... beside lack of support groups. Am gonna take up some kinda activism 2 seek it so that many more people like us benifits from it... thank u so much putting it all so articulately... U r one gr8 Mom... much love and hugs...

Posted by: tathagat at February 13, 2007 12:59 AM

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