A Letter to My Deceased Mother


(Picture credit: Annie Ludes)


Dear Amma,


It has been almost thirty months since I last saw you. And yet, I remember your smile as if you bid me goodbye yesterday. Funny, how the mind works. I can’t seem to recall what I studied today afternoon, but the moment my eyes close, all I see is you.

At night, when it becomes silent except for the steady patter of the rain and the mellow chirp of the grasshopper, my heart automatically aches for you, Ma. My arms itch to hug you and never let go. My eyes are desperate to behold your moon-like countenance and never set sight on anything else. If it were possible, I would become blind just to see you, once more. My tongue seeks to voice out, just for one more time, the greatest synonym of love, ‘Amma.’ How I long for all of this! I hold on to this intangible hope foolishly, for it is foolish indeed, to expect something that cannot be recalled.

Anyway, before you passed on, right in front of my eyes, I didn’t know what to do. All of seventeen and all alone in this world, in a strange vehicle with two complete strangers fighting for your life. When I knew that your last breath of what I continue to breathe was approaching, I wanted to do something for you. Telling you goodbye wasn’t an option. For someone who had lived their life just for me, a simple goodbye was surely not enough. So, I sang Ma, I sang to you. I sang to you, your favourite song. I sang to you that one song which you made me sing like a broken record player, because you enjoyed hearing me sing that. That song, of which I had grown so tired of, suddenly came flowing out of my mouth, along with my tears. My voice was choking and the brine from my eyes filled my mouth, but still, I continued to sing. “Hey Govinda! Hey Gopala! Raho Charan Hamari! Ab To Jeevan Haari!” (Oh Lord! Please protect us! My life is now approaching its end!)

At that time, I didn’t know the meaning of the song. Only later, did Aunt J tell me. That’s when I realised what a deep song it was. I think it must have been comforting to you, to be told it’s okay to let go of this pain and enjoy eternal peace. I only hope you were able to listen to it subconsciously, Amma. I want them to be the last words you would have heard.

Me, on the other hand, I don’t even recollect what you told me last. All of it was so sudden. Who expects to see the person with whom you had cookies ‘n’ cream ice-cream, with whom you fought over the laundry, with whom you discussed with passion the beautiful comparison between God and Mathematics – to die a few hours later? I am glad I don’t have to relive that day again.

But that day wasn’t the worst day of my life. Do you know which one was? It was my eighteenth birthday, which fate had cruelly placed ten days after your demise. That’s when I realised, you were truly gone, never to come back. The situation was ironical in many ways, as if fate was trying to test me. Firstly, it was the anniversary of my birth, the day you had brought me into this world, and we were performing the final death rites for you. Secondly, everybody was there for this birthday, for your death – uncles, aunts and cousins who hadn’t seen me after my first and yet, you were not there. I even had an exam (Chartered Accountants’ Foundation exam) that evening, but that isn’t the point. Remember when I had asked you a few weeks earlier, whether you would wake me up with ‘Best of Luck’ (for the exam) or with ‘Happy Birthday’ on this day? And you responded without missing a beat, “A Happy Birthday for a long, healthy and successful life, Chellam. What else could be more important?”  Those things, they hurt a lot now.

Anyway, as you might know, I did clear the exam with distinction. I did proceed to the next level of the course. I cleared the second-level (Chartered Accountants’ Intermediate) examinations as well. And now, I am on track to write the Final examinations in 2019.  And with your ever-lasting blessings, I hope to clear it as well.

Sometimes, I hope all this is just a dream. I hope that it is me who is suffering a coma and dreaming up all this nonsense and when I wake up, you will be there. Sometimes, I am so desperate, that I eagerly scan the heavy traffic on the road for a spotless white Maruti Suzuki 800. At times I am rewarded, only to find an old feathery man at the wheel. Sometimes, I also wait for the doorbell to ring at seven o’ clock, so that I can welcome you home from your evening walk. I am still waiting.

But you know something, Ma? Even after your death, you’ve been there for me, when I needed you. Every time I needed your words of advice, I received them. Call it my wild imagination, but when you appear in my dreams, I truly believe, you visit me. In them, just your very presence is oh, so very comforting. When I wake up, my problems seem very small and I am ready to take on them. And I am indeed, very thankful for that.

As I said before, it has been nearly two-and-half years since I touched you. I am slowly moving on with life for though time heals, it waits not. I realise that in many ways, your death was a sacrifice to save my life and such a sacrifice should never go waste. I intend to make it worthy of it. Remember when I was smaller, you told me that you would be happiest when you watch me become successful? That you would be the happiest when you see me being saluted and respected? That you would be the happiest when you see me become powerful and I use that power to bring about peace and prosperity to everyone? And then you told me one more thing. You said, “Even if I’m not alive my love, I will be watching you from the skies and be so proud of you!” I hope I am making you proud, Amma. I sincerely hope.

Though I have tried to harden my heart, there are moments when your loss becomes too heavy. When I watch a mother and daughter chatting away cheerfully with tubs of ice-cream in front of them, I feel jealous. Or, when I go shopping to buy some clothes for my birthday or a festival, I remember, there’s no one to tell me whether I look like a baby elephant or an elegant peacock in that dress. And sometimes, there are no reasons at all – none whatsoever.

But you know what, Ma? When I miss you too much, I remind myself that you are in me. You live in my genes, my blood and my heart. I think like you, I talk like you and I write like you. I look at my fingers and realise they are just the same as yours. I look at my ears and realise they have the same ‘bitten look’, just as yours. I look at my handwriting and realise that the slants of the ‘t’s, the circular tittle of the ‘i’s and the thin curves of my ‘g’s are exactly the same as yours.

And then I realise, you were never truly gone. In some form or the other, you are always there for me, Amma. Though I may not be able to hug you again, I am content with knowing that you will always be there for me.

Just one more thing: if you are reading this Amma, please reply. It is very much awaited.

Until next time,


Your Daughter.


16 thoughts on “A Letter to My Deceased Mother

Add yours

  1. Hey Padmasandhya. We were in the same school. And Your mom even taught us for a few classes. Ma’am was one of the best math teachers (if not the best) our school had. I came across this blog recently and it instantaneously brought tears to my eyes. I have been reading this for a week continuously now. I am really sorry for the loss but more importantly you’re an inspiration to me and to a lot of others. Your continuous, monumental achievements must no doubt be making your mom proud of you. But I guess she must be prouder of how your words have managed to touch and bring a little change in a few of us. Thank you so much and all the best for your future. And Thank you for making me go and hug my Mom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ojas!
      Yes, of course I remember you. Thank you so much for your kind words. Your comment really made my day, because my final exams were really getting to me. All I needed was some form of encouragement and you provided that unknowingly.
      Glad to have met you again, Ojas! Please keep in touch.


  2. Am sorry for the incident, its really made me to long for my mom. Each and every passage shows that how much you loved your mom. It reminds me, my best friend who lost her mom at the age of 11. No one can show you much love in this world other than mom, You be strong and fulfill her dreams that she had about you. All the very best for your future and will pray to the almighty for the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently lost my angel mother. She was my light, my inspiration, my mentor and best friend. I would call her every morning on the phone and we would laugh. Now, I laugh and talk to her in heaven. I laugh because I say, “Now, I don’t have to pick up the phone and dial. I just talk to you directly.” It sounds like you had and still have a wonderful mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Padma! I want to hug you so tight right now. This is beautifully written and strikes my heart. I can’t stop the tears. Loss of a loved one (I lost my sister) is never something that dulls. Like you with mothers, Jealousy stabs deep every time someone mentions their sister. Even worse when I see sisters together. I’m sorry for your pain. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kutta really heart rendering. Your love for mother makes her immortal. Your aunt actually was remainded about your exams and we literally followed her reminder and wanted to be with you during exams. This of Yours is a tribute to her etarnal love .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know….your mom is someone I’ll never forget….remember when I told you? That I sometimes see a woman with the same build as her and think it’s her only to find out it’s not…that’s when I start crying too….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Heart wrenching! I read it around midnight and I was sobbing the whole night and trying to stifle the noise so as not to draw attention towards me. Morning again. Tears were flowing and even now in a pensive mood.Oh kutti !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tears flowed involuntarily as I read this..I was sitting in a public place..I hastily drew oot my handkerchief and acted as if I were wiping my nose..Truly touching..

    Liked by 2 people

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