“Will things get better Ma,” I often ask her with tears streaming down my eyes. “Look at me; I don’t have a job, I can’t handle finances, and we’re living off depleted resources.”
“Things will get better. Wait and see,” she replies with a faint smile, but I gaze into her eyes and see sorrow. She’s always remained tragically optimistic, though failure after failure has hit her hard.
A life with an abusive husband; watching a son give up in his twenties, and physical ailments haven’t crippled her will, or so I think. But what do I know? She carries on limping because of osteoporosis and wheezing because of asthma and living with numerous complications because of an early hysterectomy. She’s there for me, and when I ask her how she is, she smiles faintly saying, “I’m all right. You should start taking better care of yourself,” and it breaks my heart because I’ve never been the good son: The one who makes his mother proud. I’ve hurt her by just being me. My addictions, my mental illness, and my pessimism affect her, but I haven’t been able to anything about it.
In life, we meet so many people, but few are worth it. Most people use you and discard you like you are a piece of toilet paper, but some stick. And she stuck when all my friends abandoned me because they thought I’m a bipolar freak. She stayed despite my religious mania and my irrationality. She fought for me, and the least I can do now is fight for her now that she’s old and sick.
I know that I’m not going to live long. The side-effects of the medications I’m on are killing me slowly, but I want to try harder. I’m a fucking 31-year-old mess. I’m an emotional wreck. I can’t keep a single promise. Hell, I can’t even keep the promises I make to myself, but perhaps they’re the hardest ones to keep. I told myself I wouldn’t write anymore, but the grief in me is so substantial that I must pour everything out. I can’t burden people because nobody wants to listen to your ‘problems,’ and hence, I write. I write truth, and sometimes it drains me. I’m left wondering why I’m doing this: Laying my heart bare to strangers on the internet.
But this post isn’t me. I’ve written enough of those. My mother is ailing, and I’m at a loss. I can’t do the simplest things, but I’m going to try. I took her to the hospital yesterday, and even though she has high diabetes levels and an infection that needs surgery, she maintained that smile on her face. “Don’t worry. I’ll be there for you,” she said, and I wept.
You’ve been there more than enough Mom. It’s time I’m there for you. Things must get better. At least a little.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)