In Oct last year, a very dear friend connected with me over Whatsapp after nearly seven years. I was thrilled, not just happy !! She had simply dropped off the radar to just do things she always wanted to. We caught up on the goings on in our lives and brought each other upto date :).
Later that night, she sent me a message about a common friend who had passed away :(.
Padmini Misra was a legend in Taj and the hospitality industry. She had made the switch to the outsourcing industry around 2000. I met her for the first time in 2001. I heard that voice first and presumed it was someone who would have a commanding physical appearance. There she was, a wisp of a woman with a razor sharp brain supported by a razor sharp tongue and a strong voice.
For almost a month after that I would keep thinking of Padmini and feel really sad that I hadn’t heard :(. I kept in touch all these years, not regularly but we always knew what was happening with each other. I had several friends in common with her, not just the one who had re-connected with me in Oct. But I still missed knowing about her passing on.
Happy and Sad – Yesterday
I had a similar day yesterday when I was happy and sad at the same time !
Gopinath, my young weaver friend got married yesterday. I was so happy for him. We couldn’t go over in person but were there in spirit. He called in the evening and all of us got a chance to wish him over a call.
First thing in the morning though, Nachi gave us the news of his mother-in-law passing away. I had spoken to Kousalya the day before and I knew it was such a difficult time for them as a family. Her mother had been unwell for a few years and they were just praying that she doesn’t suffer too much.
Losing a parent is always difficult…. there is just no one else who can fill that vacuum.
Later in the day, my friend Viju forwarded this message by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk, who passed away on Jan 22nd, about losing one’s mother –
*“When my mother died…” by Thich Nhat Hanh*
“The day my mother died I wrote in my journal, “A serious misfortune of my life has arrived.” I suffered for more than one year after the passing away of my mother. But one night, in the highlands of Vietnam, I was sleeping in the hut in my hermitage. I dreamed of my mother. I saw myself sitting with her, and we were having a wonderful talk.
She looked young and beautiful, her hair flowing down. It was so pleasant to sit there and talk to her as if she had never died. When I woke up it was about two in the morning, and I felt very strongly that I had never lost my mother. The impression that my mother was still with me was very clear. I understood then that the idea of having lost my mother was just an idea. It was obvious in that moment that my mother is always alive in me.
I opened the door and went outside. The entire hillside was bathed in moonlight. It was a hill covered with tea plants, and my hut was set behind the temple halfway up. Walking slowly in the moonlight through the rows of tea plants, I noticed my mother was still with me. She was the moonlight caressing me as she had done so often, very tender, very sweet… wonderful! Each time my feet touched the earth I knew my mother was there with me.
I knew this body was not mine but a living continuation of my mother and my father and my grandparents and great-grandparents. Of all my ancestors. Those feet that I saw as “my” feet were actually “our” feet. Together my mother and I were leaving footprints in the damp soil.
From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was look at the palm of my hand, feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
What a profound message 🙏🏿. It helps one deal with the loss of a parent, especially a mother. I always say that a parent never really leaves, they are always around with their children. Do I miss my father ? Does Krishnan miss his mother? heck, yes. But we also feel their presence always and especially when we need support.