I wish everyone could have a daughter like our Cathleen. This summer, she came home for three months and we were all so excited about the prospect of so much time with her.

One of her main reasons for coming was that she wanted to spend time with Moy Moy. After her illness in January, Cathleen had been feeling anxious about her little sister – when she got an opportunity for a fellowship to come here and teach Theology in our parish, she grabbed it, mostly as an excuse to be with Moy.

But beware what you wish for.

She had been here only a few weeks when I got the news that Mom was dying. I rushed off to the US, and Cathleen took over the house. A few days later, Moy’s babysitter stopped coming – HER mother was also very sick, and she needed to nurse her. So Cathleen swung into her new 24-hour-a-day job without missing a beat.

Normally when I go away, Moy Moy mopes a bit. She often develops mysterious small illnesses and generally keeps everyone alert and on their toes. This time, she basked in the lavish care Cathleen didi bestowed. When I got back, she was glowing.

Now, tomorrow, Cathleen is leaving. Oh, the dreadful rituals of departure! She has been packing for the last two days. The sight of the large suitcases on the living room floor is a constant reminder. Mummy and Masiji keep averting their eyes, as if pretending it isn’t happening will change the inevitable.

She has been wearing my clothes since hers are all packed now (I like that); and suddenly, she has remembered a dozen things she needs to do. Yesterday, she got her eyes examined and bought new contact lenses, shopped for last minute gifts, and picked up all the new sari blouses she has had stitched. Today, her last in Dehradun, she went to visit the nuns from her old school, tried to visit her friend Prashant Uncle (he was in Delhi), got her eyebrows done, crazy-glued the earrings she has been meaning to repair for weeks, printed out two long homework assignments, burned a few CDs for a friend, and still managed to make me my cup of tea in the morning, attend our Independence Day celebrations at Karuna Vihar and spend hours with Mummy and Masiji and Moy Moy.

The house comes to life when she is here. She brings order and joy wherever she goes. Everyone should have a daughter like this one.

Showing 3 comments
  • Lucy Cuseo

    I will settle for niece. I wish she was going to be there when we are!

  • Deepti

    I agree with you, Jo. I love you Cath…:)You are really special. I will try to orchestrate a chance meet up the airport on your way in:)

  • Alison

    Oh Jo, you capture love and loss so well. My throat thickens as I imagine what it will be like when my girls are packing to depart from me. Fortunately at this point I am still the center of their universe. Lots of little letting go’s.

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