As I go through your clothes, I divide them in to piles to keep, to give away, to donate. There are so many people who have come forward to talk about little things you did for them which meant the world to them, things they remember you by. They ask if they could keep a certain dupatta or a shawl or a saree of yours to keep as part of you with them. And as much I want to hoard everything I give them what they ask for. I don’t know what is worse, going through your things or the thought that soon there will be none of your clothes left when I open the cupboard.
I walk to the bank locker and go through all the jewelry and realize how much of mine I have left behind with you as the years have gone by and so has Bhabhi. There are the earrings that I forced you to wear because I thought the ones you had on were too big. There is the necklace that I wore during my wedding. There is the chain you gave D. There is the necklace that Bhabhi wore for her wedding. But what breaks my heart are the bangles I remember you always wearing from as long as my memory serves. And I wonder what do I do with all the things in that locker. Keep it as is? For how long? Take what is mine back with me? Do what with it? And how do I define mine since there are so many memories of you attached to them? Sell what was yours? Keep it as keepsake?
Every time Bugz reaches a milestone I can’t stop my eyes from tearing up. I can’t help remember the time Buzz did the same and how excited you would get and how you cheered her on. Buzz had so many of her firsts with you. But I don’t even know as I cry now how I will feel and how many tears I will cry when these comparisons stop, when there will be no more memories of yours with Buzz either.
I was ready for the challenges I would face as I headed home but I never did think the impact a simple note written in your handwriting would have on me. I stopped breathing for a bit, I think. How long before there is no note to be found in your beautiful clear handwriting? I already can’t find anything with your signature on it. And to lose everything else as times goes on is not bearable.
I don’t want to remember you with tears in my eyes Maa. I want to remember you for all the good things you did. I want to remember how generous you were. I want to remember how much of yourself you gave to everyone around. I want to remember you with the way you lived your life, with joy, with laughs, with love.
But I am not strong enough just yet, Maa. I am working on it. I am trying. I fail but I will keep trying. I talk about the happy times spend with you. I force myself to smile through a lot of tears. I pray for strength.
Stay with me Maa. Just stay with me even if it is through memories.