Saying Goodbye to Achamma
What is it worth…getting to say goodbye? I never really got to say any last words to two people i loved dearly; one who made love the only means to live through life and one who has given only love, for all the time with me. And yet, looking back, there were moments with both of them. Love was expressed, love was shared…love was all that was left…left with them and with me. They left; left, feeling loved…maybe in pain…maybe even in struggle and with a fight, but knowing they were loved…loved with passion, with longing, with innocence, with compassion and with all of my heart. All of it.
And today, I again find myself preparing to say goodbye to yet another person. Knowing now… Achamma (granny) is nearing…well, death….what does it mean to say good bye? Knowing. Waiting. The last time i was with her, i held her hand in mine and she held back for a second and let her palm fall in mine…not resisting, not holding on…slipping away. She looked frail…her eyes empty and moist..not seeing; her ears, not hearing; her palm, not holding; her lips, mumbling softly and gently…mumbling while taking a breath…while letting out a breath. She said, ‘take care of your papa…look after him…he has only you…‘, while her eyes wandered and attempted to focus on my face. i nod, i say, ‘i will‘, she smiles hoping she heard it right. The only thing holding her palm in mine, was my fingers tightly wrapped around it.
I wish for her to slip away, to be released from the body that is giving up on being a host to her; to be relieved from the itch that she can’t scratch, from the fly that sits on her foot that she can’t swat away, from the world that is only a blur now, from sounds that are only incomplete frequencies of scuttering voices, from time that she is detached from…from a body that has reduced itself to a food processor. Her existence, her everyday being a struggle, simply to breathe…this detached existence, it is for the people with her; for experiences for them, yet to be experienced; for me, to be able to have these thoughts…it seems to explain her…explain her struggle.
i was caught between wanting to go one more time, see her one more time…hear her one more time…say good bye. What does that mean though….even while one waits and knows it is coming, one never really knows…one never really knows that was the last time…what does it mean to say good bye then…what is it worth…being able to say good bye? Even as memories seem to give up on your person, what does it mean being said good bye to…?
For now…this is good bye. i will always remember playing ‘kaadi‘ with her…feeding the crows at breakfast while we sat on low stools in the fire-stove soothed kitchen…the mangoes she kept to ripen, saved from the squirrels and crows, summer after summer…her saying ‘i don’t know if i’ll be around for your next summer‘, every summer from when i can remember..these have been her parting words.
This be that summer. Love.
Months later now, she has found her release. The rains bring with it new life, the mud comes alive in hues of earthy browns and wild greens….and with that, she leaves… one last breath is let out, and she has gone.
– Ankita (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ankita enjoys working with children & is especially interested in the world of expression through writing & visual art.