Sometimes, life has a way of surprising, or rather, shocking you out of your skin. Everything’s going fine, you’re making plans, and then…. wham!!!
I’m guessing that through Facebook, many of you already know about what I’m talking about – the sudden death of my Mother in law. She was in her late sixties, a diabetic and with arthritic knees, but otherwise okay with no life threatening disease. We spent Friday and Saturday at her place, leaving only after dinner on Saturday. She was perfectly fine, making big plans and sounding really excited about her U.S based elder son and family coming to visit in June. She was especially thrilled at meeting her grand kids after two and a half years. How big they must be!!
Sunday passed as usual, she saw a few patients (she’s a doctor), pottered about the house and then went to bed. She got up on Monday morning complaining about pain in her left arm, applied some balm, said she felt too tired to eat breakfast and went to lie down. My father in law had his breakfast and went to check on her, but she seemed fast asleep. Suddenly, she made this gasping sound and looked like she was choking. My FIL called a doctor from the nearby hospital, who came and said that things looked really bad and that she was unlikely to make it. Within 10 minutes, she was gone. Just like that.
I couldn’t believe it at first. But she was perfectly okay, how did this happen?? A thousand questions. Disbelief from everyone who was informed. Relatives, friends, family members - pouring in from all directions.
It was heart breaking to look at my father in law’s face. After their children flew the nest, it’s been just the two of them for the past twenty years. Their relatives and extended family live quite far away, and with age, visits dwindled down to once or twice a year. I can’t begin to imagine how he must have felt at that moment.
We debated about how to tell Cub. His paternal grandmother was the playmate grandparent, the one who didn’t mind the mess as long as he had fun. My mother eventually explained what happened and waited for questions. But he had none. Probably the only one who didn’t have any. He just nodded his head and walked away. He never asked for her after that, but he was in a bad mood all the time, throwing tantrums and acting out.
It has been a hard time, these past few weeks. The American brother arrived with his family two days later, and we’ve all been with my FIL. Everyone’s presence has offered him some comfort and he seems better. But they’ll leave this Sunday, and Cub’s school starts on Monday as well. Living arrangements are being discussed, since FIL can’t be left alone, but he’s reluctant to leave his old home and move in with us. Nothing’s the same anymore. Everything’s changed and we have no choice but to accept those changes and move forward.
In spite of everything, I think we’re doing okay. My FIL has restarted going for his morning walk and seems more interested in his food. Cub has settled down and is now looking forward to going back to school. I’ve restarted my writing, though the internet and electricity are quite shaky here. The rains have offered some respite from the heat and it somehow feels like it’s washing away the dust and clearing up a way to look ahead.
I am glad that my Mother in law was happy and content when she died, although she didn’t get to meet her other grandkids. I pray that she rests in peace. I pray that the family recovers soon and finds its way forward, accompanied by happy memories of a beloved mother and grandmother.