This is a story of how I met, loved and lost my best friend.
I’m a North Indian girl but have been born and brought up in the South. I don’t think I have any traits that belong to anyone up North and to a stranger, I would definitely appear to be local. I fell in love with a South Indian boy who belongs to an orthodox Brahmin family.
At first, my in-laws refused to let us get married, so we went against them, and got married anyway.
We rented a house close to theirs so that we were around if needed. After a few months, family and friends started talking about this and convinced them to keep an open mind to this relationship. So, we got married again, in a temple and I started visiting them every weekend. They were wonderful!
My mom-in-law had a lot of patience and taught me the ways of her house, their culture and even age-old recipes from their ancestors. While my father-in-law and I spoke for hours about any topic that we fancied.
Eventually, we moved in together. For work, I had to keep traveling. During one of my trips, my father-in-law fell terribly ill and passed away. Within a year of this, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. My mother-in-law treated me like I was her own daughter; from the day, I found I was pregnant, to taking care of my baby when I was away for work.
We became closer than any mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, I’ve known.
She was the pillar of strength in our house and everyone looked to her for any and all kinds of advice. She’s always been supportive of my career and encouraged me to go on trips as required by my job.
I’ve never had to worry about leaving my husband and daughter for long periods because I knew she was there.
One day, she fell sick, it was a fungal infection in her foot. While it got better, she began complaining about severe stomach aches. She tried to self-medicate and believed it to be a small issue.
I’ll always blame myself for not taking this matter seriously enough, and insisting on seeing a doctor.
I was in the US when I found out that she was admitted to the hospital one night. She was diagnosed with Gallbladder Cancer, 4th stage. I immediately returned to be with her. When she was in the hospital, she got jaundice and the tumor had blocked her liver. While the doctors tried to remove the bile, she couldn’t withstand the surgery and went into a coma. She never woke up.
That day, I lost my best friend.
Today, it’s been six months, but I’m yet to come to terms with her death.
The only consolation to us is that she didn’t suffer. I miss her so much. All my success, our family’s good fortune, it all comes from her blessings and unconditional love.
I wish I could have spent more time with you, Amma.
I miss you so much.