My grandmother passed away on Saturday, 13th February. She was 86.
She was married when she was 13 and spent almost 70 years of her life with her husband, before he passed in 2011. She loved animals and was the most soft spoken person I knew. Simple and beautiful, with hardly a handful of grey hair, she never sweated the small stuff. She was very careful with things and used to recycle anything and everything possible. The exam papers my grandfather corrected would come covered in a cloth bag that she would recycle and make foot mats out of. The flowers we got would come with a string that she would re-use to tie stuff up.
My childhood memories involve her in a thousand different ways cooking for me when i fought with my mom, plaiting my sister's hair, watching the snake catcher cart away some 50 snakes from an empty plot nearby - it was a mixed bag.
When I wanted to get married to my husband, she never lost her cool and trusted my judgement. When we got Laika and Zoya to Madurai, she called them into the house and offered them biscuits and even sat with them when we went on a trip.
She had collapsed on 7th feb and woke up from a coma when my sister and I entered the hospital room after driving frantically from Bangalore. She called our names with difficulty, signaled to my sister's new specs and asked about our dogs. Even when she was in such deep pain, she was kind,loving and accepting.
I did know that someone in a coma - seldom wakes up and when the organs start failing, things can go only one way. Still, hope was my companion.
Driving to Madurai, I did not really feel depressed on Saturday. We decided to drive as both my sister and I had a lot to do at work, due to taking off the previous week to go see her. We reminisced about our childhood and how someone who had never left the house or worked, was an example of female empowerment. She knew what she wanted and lived life in her own terms.We were glad that we got those few moments with her before she passed.
We knew she was no more and that her physical body, was not going to be there with us anymore. She was in an ice box and when we kept her out to perform rituals, the clothes she was wearing moved in the wind. I thought she was alive. She looked so peaceful that I half expected her to get up and start asking about me.
How can I ever achieve her kind of peace? How do I let things slide without letting it affect me? February has been a tumultuous month for me with a lot of things burning me simultaneously. Her passing was like the one thing that was final. Everything else seemed minor in comparison. I have bid her a final goodbye but I know that like my grandpa, she will always be with us in spirit.
She will be missed and I am not really sure if I can ever go home again. It feels like there is nothing there without her.