Forty years ago, Ravi and I got married on Mother’s Day. It was a magical celebration, literally uniting East with West (I enacted it by changing from my white gown to a red sari and back into white – Ravi was in white all along).
We made all the usual promises (to love and respect each other, to stay true even in difficulties, to be honest, to care, to listen). And we promised – on Mother’s Day! – to welcome children.
We got to keep that promise three times over and we welcomed Anand, Cathleen and Moy Moy into the world and into our lives. They filled every waking moment with laughter, exasperation and amazement. Where would we be without them?
This year, we are finding out. With Moy Moy’s death this past July, each day has been a new challenge, a new journey. We have navigated each special event, each celebration warily, with a sense of anxiety: her first birthday away from us; our first Christmas without her. Anand’s birthday; Cathleen’s. Mine. Ravi’s.
And now it’s Mother’s Day and our Anniversary. Last year, they were on the same day, just like our real wedding day.
Last year we gave Moy Moy lunch and put her to sleep and then dashed out to celebrate 39 years of marriage over lunch in a restaurant while Bimla stayed home to look after her. We raced through our meal as if we were a young couple leaving their baby for the first time. Anxiety was our constant companion when she was alive. We always had a stop-time.
But we were happy. We made time for the waiter to take our picture at the table together. We had each other and we had our three amazing children and Lydia and Daniel, their two amazing spouses.
And now one of those children is gone and the fleeting nature of life is our constant, constant preoccupation. Moy Moy was with us last year and this year she is gone. We will celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow by visiting her in the cemetery. And so I leave you with this truth:
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind!
Henri Frederic Amiel