“Do my eyes look normal now?”

I looked into my mother’s yellow, jaundiced eyes, trying not to let the truth show on my face. It was the same question she’d been asking every day for the past month, and my answer was also the same: “They look better than before.”

That had answer had satisfied her earlier. But no more.

“They’re never going to be normal again.”

I stared at the window, not wanting to see the anger and disappointment on her face. Nothing would be normal again. Almost in an instant, the whole world had changed.

She looked over at the little restaurant on the road; it was more of a food shack, a common feature on the streets of Calcutta.

“What’s he doing now?”

Another typical conversation. From her hospital bed, my mother would watch the activity at the restaurant, asking me what was being made that day. Sometimes it was some sort of egg curry, sometimes vegetables. Every morning, fresh flatbread would be cooked on the griddle. And every day, my mother and I would discuss the meal service. It was a way to keep herself occupied, and it saved me from having to lie to her about her eyes again.

She would question me about what I had for dinner the previous night. My uncle had taken it upon himself to bring me food while I stayed in the apartment by myself; my dad spent his nights at the hospital and my brother couldn’t yet join us in India because of some issues at work.

My mother and I talked about mundane, ordinary things during that time. My dad was usually busy during the day, running errands and taking care of hospital bills. In the evenings, the three of us would sit together until it was time for me to go home. As always, my mother would tell me to leave before dark, so I’d be safe.

And so it continued, until the end, which came much too soon. There was so much left unsaid.

If I had known how little time we had, would I have done things differently? Could I have said anything, done anything to make those last days more bearable for her?

It’s the same question I find myself asking often, and the answer is also the same…there isn’t one.


12 thoughts on “Unspoken

  1. So many words unspoken – I know that feeling 😦 Although, I do believe that simply being in your Mum’s presence through those difficult times would have brought her more comfort than you probably realise…sometimes just having someone by your side is all it takes, and I am sure she was grateful of your company – of the normality you provided for her in an otherwise unbearable situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Hayley. I think it did make her feel better having me around instead of sitting around in a hospital room by herself all day.

      But there’s always the feeling I could have done something more….I hate the powerlessness that I dealt with then.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can only imagine how heart wrenching that must’ve been for you 😦 and you’re very welcome – opening up is certainly cathartic…I’m pleased you shared your painful experience because it paves the way for others to do the same. In fact, your post triggered a memory of my own, which I will hopefully post tomorrow, so thank you for allowing me to visit a place I may have avoided otherwise. As painful as these memories are – there is a sense of release once shared. I look forward to catching up on more of your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you again. I’m happy that my post has opened the door for you to share one of your own experiences.

        It’s a difficult tale to tell, but, as you said, it is very freeing. I’ll be sure to look out for your post. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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