February 2018 (written as an article for Asian Voice)
Mothers are in our hearts and minds from the day they hold us in their arms until we leave this world.
The comfort, support and succour she gives to her children is priceless. She is our leader, nurse, doctor, teacher, inspiration and spiritual guru.
She never seems to complain and gets on with life’s highs and lows.
She makes immense sacrifices and her faith in God keeps the family healthy and prosperous.
During my generation, mothers spent their final days at home and not in nursing homes as is the case nowadays.
I recently visited an ageing mum, very old and frail, who was over 90 years. She had a radiant smile and looked cheerful.
That was the first time I was meeting her and little did I know that it would be the last. She held my hand and said, “Son, I am very happy to see you, please visit me again.”
Her son and daughter-in-law never left her on her own and took turns to look after her. They never complained and edicated
their entire life to her. He gave up his teaching post at university to make sure that she was well looked after in the last stages of her life. Together with his wife he sacrificed everything one can think of to look after his mother. The thought of putting her in a nursing home never occurred to him.
I was sad to get a text message last week informing me that that she passed away. I too have learnt a lot from the brief time I knew his mum who we called “Baa.”
This is what he wrote to me, “With the grace of Lord Krishna, Baa passed away peacefully at some point during the night. She has been our lives, our work, our love and central pillar of our household for many years. She will be dearly missed in more ways than one, leaving an imaginable void which will be permanent. May Baa rest in peace. We pray for forgiveness for any failings and misgivings in our care, love and attention for her. Baa, you have been a lifelong learning and education for the family for generations to come. “
He is Dr Mahendra G Patel of University of Huddersfield. His wife Manisha supported him all the way till Baa passed away. To me this is how we must look after our parents in their old age