Salt water

I don’t recollect my mother crying. That is remarkable considering my overactive tear glands. But she used to say that as a child, and a sensitive one at that, she was prone to shedding tears at the drop of a hat. Perhaps it was the realisation that tears are mere salt water, they can’t resolve much that turned her into an angry outspoken woman instead. It is true that she achieved way more by shouting out loud than by showing her grief. She didn’t want pity, she said. She tried to make me in her mould but me being me, I still can’t bring myself to shout rather than cry.

Yet she did cry, on the morning of her death. And that broke my heart. The last few years had been bad for her, she was besieged by illness and the petty humiliations that accompany a loss of control over your body and dependence on others while being fully conscious of it. And yet, not a tear was shed, not even when doctors or nurses gave up hope in her recovery right in front of her. She was a brave heart, my mother. And I often wonder what all life must have heaped on her to make her that strong in the face of adversity.


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