Those were trying times for me, my siblings and our family... as my mother lay dying...
we could only watch helplessly, and thoughts came teaming to my mind... thoughts of all kind...

Though I Knew You Were Going to Die...

Though I knew you were going to die-
As you lay there breathing
Heavily, sometimes unevenly-
But, you were there, alive!
And though you already seemed far away
Unreachable, unapproachable, semi-comatose

But, I knew, even through your haziness
Your subconscious could respond to my voice-
The voice you knew so well,
From the time I came in to this world
From your womb, in to your arms-
And, a twitch of your lips
A lifting of your brow,
A sudden opening of your eyes
Told me you heard me
This response was enough for me...

And I hung by every word
Uttered by your incoherent lips
Trying to interpret the meaning of it
As I kept close vigil by your side
Watching over you day and night
And though I felt helpless
At your inevitable plight
But, there was a sense of peace,
A kind of solace, in keeping you in my sight
Feeding you, cleaning you, looking after you...

You always smelled good
And I felt a certain security
In your fragrance that you gave me-
Your body odour was the same as mine
And I felt a kind of pride in inheriting
That scent of a woman, only
A woman can give another woman
And there must have been something
In those pheromones, to delight
The opposite sex in you and me alike...

And once when I sang
Your favourite Ghazal to you-
The one you always liked me to sing to you-
It was like magic: music therapy!
From your semi consciousness
You opened your eyes wide
Looked around, and finding me
Lifted your hand and clenched your fist tight
Around my fingers and gave me
Your characteristic kind smile
That made my day and my night...

From that day onward we knew
That tough the eyes could hardly see
The lips couldn't speak a word comprehensibly
But, the already hard of hearing, ears
Could hear astonishingly clear.
We played Mozart's 40th, Beethoven's 9th
Mallika Pukhraj's Lala-e-Serha
Nusrat's Ali Maulah, constantly by your side
This made you peaceful and told me
You were alive and retained in you
Your most exquisite senses, till the final flight...

And I imagined how you must have
Kept awake on those nights
When I was helpless and hungry
And must've cried constantly,
Demanding your attention day and night
And you fed me with your breast
That sweet milk purified with
your blood, and motherly love...

And I remembered those days
when my ear ached and you
got up in the middle of the night
made a concoction with beetle leaves,
which my grand mom chewed constantly,
and poured the magic potion in my ears
and waited anxiously, till I dosed off
in to a slumber of your security.
The lullaby you sang in your tuneless voice
still rings in my ears, even after your demise...
And I sang that sometimes to you
and now I was your mother
and you were my child...

And I remember the last day
I whispered to you:
"Don't hold on! just let it go!
The cancer has eaten deep into you
Melting your body and bones too
There is nothing left to clutch on to
No substance now remains in you...
Just stop fighting, and be at peace!"
With heavy heart and choking voice
I pronounced those words through tears to you.
You opened your eyes wide
That one last time, the terror of death
I saw in them rise, only to soon realise
There was nothing to fear, nothing to hide
And then I saw peace into them arise
Before they closed for the last time...

And the day you breathed your last,
Was the most torturous for you and for us,
As we sat by your side-
all your four children
And your grand children alike-
Slowly your blood pressure dipped
Your pulse became slower by the minute
Your breath came heavily at long intervals,
The breathing became feebler,
The intervals between becoming longer
Till we thought it was all over,
Nay, you were still alive!
Somebody said, there was breath in you all right
Till you clenched your eyes tight
Took that last long sigh
And than became quite...

Your soul had left your body
It was limp and still
We fell over your crying our hearts to bits...
And suddenly I felt all alone
The earth slipped under my feet as I groaned:
'You were my mother, my most loved one
The most precious part of my life's come undone!"
Now no one knows how I looked when I was one,
What were the first words I uttered?
When were the first steps I took?
When did I fall, and made you run
and pick me up and cajoled me-no one...

And so with you goes my childhood
The most precious period of my life, it's truth...
My love, my sorrow, my agony, my ecstasy
That I shared with you, as I grew up
And though we had our differences
When I grew taller then you
And thought I had grown all wise
And surer than you, along with my size
but you never kept any grudge in your heart
And always forgave me my unwise remarks...
Because you understood me with your mother's heart
Now, who will ever give me that unconditional love?
That understanding, that sympathy and that trust?
Whom will I pour my heart out to?
Who will listen to my gabber, my constant splurge?
Who will look upon me indulgently?
Give me courage to face life's vagaries
Who will guide me from darkness to light?
Who will teach me how to constantly fight,
All my battles of death and life...?

And though I knew, you were going to die
I swear, I was not prepared for your final flight!
I never realised how painful it will be
The hollow in my soul, will forever be
The void in my heart inconsolably
Will keep eating into me slowly
And untill my dying day, it will be with me...

Author: Zoya Zaidi
Aligarh (UP), India
Copyright : Zoya Zaidi
As the realisation of my mothers loss slowly dawns upon me...

Poetry by Zoya Zaidi
Read 1462 times
Written on 2012-04-01 at 13:17

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your mother is very beautiful just like you. She must have been a remarkable woman. I pray that her soul rest in heaven.

made me cry...made me remind me of my father...i was 14 and i still didn't know that he was dying...on the day i made him meal and found out something was wrong after i heard my sister's cry in the taxi on our way to the hospital...he gave me the smile and i nearly all my achievements are lying in the closet to receive the chocolates from my Baba...But he made me stronger...

The outpouring of your love and grief are entwined, there is such a sense of trying to hold on to the slipping away, nostalgia,trying to assimilate memories and finally realisation. Beautiful, it moved me to tears.

This made me sad, but not in a bad way.

She is beautiful and has wise, kind eyes. Surely well-worthy of your lovely tribute to her.


Zoya Zaidi
This photo is of my mother, in her early thirties, already a mother of four children.

Zoya Zaidi
I know it is longish!
But, this poem was written only three weeks after my mother's death...