Yesterday, I laid my Mother to rest.
Exactly 4 years, 10 months and 27 days after my Father found his peace.
My Father was a great man. Behind every great man, there’s an even greater woman. That would be my Mother. In their 46 years of marriage, they never for once doubted the love for each other and constantly were each other’s spine. Through the 18 or so years my Father struggled through heart conditioned, his source of will and strength was always my Mother. Every day she sat by him in the hospital. Growing up, she would wait for him till he came home from work — regardless if it was 7pm or 11pm, and only then would they eat dinner together. Every night.
My Mother herself found her strength and will in my Father. They were married at a very young age — she was 17. A love marriage — a rare sight in the 60’s in India and their story is Bollywood-worthy. They started very much from the bottom — My Father was an engineer trainee at Air India when the first got married and worked for US$4 a month at that time. My Father took my Mother everywhere. They travelled the world; I think New Zealand, South America and Antarctica are the only three places they never had a chance to visit.
My Mother was someone that was very resilient, loving and caring.
She was a strong advocate for women’s research and action. Formerly a social worker at AWARE; she wanted to help everyone. We never really grew close till the past 2 years in which she moved back to Singapore. The past 5 years have really hard on her. She became very much a recluse and very much sadden by losing my Father. Her drive everyday was that she promised my Father before he passed away that she would see me through till I settle down.
Throughout their lives, money and time never stopped them from helping anyone. In the last few days, and when my Father passed away, we had so many messages saying that without the help of my parents they wouldn’t have been able to make it. My parents co-supported a orphanage in India; an orphanage that took in 12 kids and grew them up. They were always ready to help; humbly.
Their life isn’t the only thing I celebrate. I celebrate their love for each other — and after a brief 4 years, 10 months and 27 days, they are finally reunited. That’s all they ever wanted.
Originally written October 2013.