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Why I Refuse To Cry For The Loss Of My Mother

I’m not really the kind of person who loves to share her pain and stories, feels easy with sympathy flowing in or boasts about her strength and struggles. But today, I really felt an urge to write this because I want people to know what pain really looks like, how cruel life can be and what some people in this earth are still living with.

When I was 8, I lost my dad who was in the police force to some accident I don’t have many details about. I had never asked my mom anything more than what she wanted to say because I simply didn’t want to upset her even a little bit. Moreover, how did the details of the death matter then? I don’t even remember my father’s face. He was a drunkard who had crossed every limit of domestic violence. He and his family had never really wanted me to be born. My mom protected me from several attempts of foeticide. Dad had never really met me or mom when he was alive. However, he loved mom and didn’t divorce her or marry again. When dad died, it didn’t affect me even the slightest. I felt like people were talking about a stranger’s death. It wasn’t hatred, it was just my negligence.

My father was a government servant and mom, a teacher. After dad passed away, his pension and mom’s income were enough for both of us. Though I’ve not witnessed affluence of wealth, I must hereby admit that I’ve never ever felt poor or deprived of anything in my life. Not even now. I was always good at studies and aimed at making my mamma and dead papa proud of me. I was more well-behaved and courteous than most other children of my age group just because I didn’t want anyone to raise a finger at my mother’s upbringing as a single parent.

I’ve seen my mom’s struggles as a single parent. I’ve seen my maternal grandfather standing strong as a pillar of support upon whom mom and I could lean upon anytime. My maternal grandmother never held back her unconditional love for us.

I grew up to be a good student and had built up an image of ‘writer and poetess’ at a young age. I have always tried to do something that would make my teachers and relatives appreciate me and thus, my mom. All I’ve ever wanted is to keep her happy.

I gave my best and got into the course mom had always dreamt of seeing me join. I stood out in University too. I became famous as a writer. I had not one but two bright careers ahead of me. Mom and I had dreams of building our own house in future, of my wedding which she really wanted to be lavish and of course, she was way more excited for her grandchildren.

Ask me how it feels when thunder strikes your head and I can describe it. One day, she was diagnosed with an incurable disease. I knew her condition well. I knew her prognosis would be poor. And yes, gradually, I got to know that she had very little time to live. Then began the darkest period so my life. I was seeing the strongest person of my life lying feebly on a hospital bed, relying upon saline drips and sometimes asking me, “What do you think? Will I make through? Will I survive?”

“Of course Maa. What a stupid question are you asking? It’s a little illness, chill,” I’d fool her and my entire family with the same honey-coated lie. Because I didn’t want my mom’s spirit to die before her breaths stop. I was dishonest back then and I’m proud of the lies I’ve told. At least, I soothed her.

And one day, I was caught. The day she died, I’d no lies left to cover the truth. Probably no more reason to do so too. And guess what, exactly two months before my mom’s death, my grandpa died too. It was I who lit my mom’s pyre. Yes, girls don’t do that but my mom had given the exclusive right to me and I had to prove her right. I fought all to do so.

I’ve seen the ugliest faces of people ever since her demise but nothing affects me anymore. I’ve not shed even a single tear because I’ve to be strong for grandma who’s all alone now. I’ve to succeed in my both careers. I’ve to fulfil every dream we had seen together. I never get sad. I feel like she’s not dead. She’s still alive within me and being sad is equivalent to making her sad.

A part of me still believes it’s all a bad dream that would soon be over. A part of me wants to cry till I pass out. But the strongest part of me wants to fight and never quit, just like my mom. I feel so alone when I see others with their parents and jealous when my friends talk of their parents and particularly mother’s love. I’ll have to live with this void forever, I know.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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