My Mother’s Death Transformed Me

Today is my mother’s death anniversary.

She passed away when she was only forty-two. Had she not died of cancer at a very early age, she would have been eighty years of age today. Or, perhaps, eighty-one. We were not exactly sure of the year of her birth.

Well, life brings joys, and life brings sorrows. But my mother’s early, painful death has created a deep impression on me about women’s plight, injustice, and human rights in general. That one tragedy transformed me, and slowly made me what I am today.

My father, who is a lifelong, hardcore RSS (Hindu fundamentalist), is missing her all these years. He is now ninety-three. When my mother died, he was about fifty-three.

He has lived a very long, very lonely life ever since her death. And I know, a stoic man he is, he has kept a very deep sadness in his heart.

He did whatever he could to save her life. He was a loving husband and responsible head of the family. My mother’s cancer was a rare type that spread too rapidly.

Yet, it is undeniably true that my mother was a victim of the extreme, systemic patriarchy and gender inequality in India. Her life did not have the same value as ours — men. We did not pay attention to her well being the way we should have.

I have carried a deep trauma in my all my life too. But looking back, that one incident perhaps made me think differently about my life.

And our lives: lives of poor and powerless people like us — in India, and elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

4 thoughts on “My Mother’s Death Transformed Me

  1. Hey Partha,

    I read a quote the other day stating something like… don’t be sad that its over, but happy that it ever happened at all. I try to think about this as I’m facing the visible and deterioration of my mothers memory to frontal temporal dementia. These women made us strong but also ingrained compassion and a high emotional intelligence that don’t exist in many homes. I send you lots of love and peaceful energies.

    In Solidarity, Jaime Lopez

    >

  2. Thanks for sharing. My mother also died too young (she was 66,) It will be 32 years ago next Monday, April 10. It was only 4 days from when her cancer was diagnosed until she died.

    1. Very sad to know it. You and I share a common life’s experience, it seems. I didn’t know. It has been many years since my mother passed away, but it seems just the other day. The memory is so painful, and so vivid. I have written a lot about it, and it helped to heal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s