Year 2008. Sultry afternoon in Mumbai. I was waiting for that phone call. That was the time when my daughter would call me every day.
Finally I heard the phone ring.
“Amma” said her voice. Her voice was heavy and hoarse. I knew why her voice was so.
“Didn’t you sleep yesterday night? I can guess from your voice” I asked.
“Yesterday night the telephone was continuously ringing. After every half an hour I have to lift the phone?”
“But why do you sleep beside that phone? You can sleep on the other side of the room”
“What if they call and I miss the call?”
The ‘room’ I was talking about was a waiting room out side an ICU in a very big corporate hospital in Mumbai.
Our son-in-law was in that ICU, surgery is done for brain tumor. Only one person for a patient is allowed in that waiting room. And she was the one staying in that waiting room since previous one month.
Eating there, having bath there in common wash room and sleeping there. She would not allow any others to stay there.
There is this land line(inter com) phone in one corner of the waiting room.
Sisters or doctors would call from inside the ICU if some thing urgent is required for the patient. Whoever is sleeping beside the phone would lift it and wake the concerned person by shouting the name.
And my daughter has taken up the job of lifting the phone every time it rings in the night.
She didn’t want to miss a single call. What if she misses a call and that particular call is about her husband? What if it was very urgent and if not attending it leads to serious consequences?.
She was very optimistic about our SIL’s survival. She used to celebrate if there is a very slight movement in his finger.
My heart would miss a beat whenever I thought “what will happen to this girl after his demise(doctors have already expressed that chances of survival are only 1%).
And finally, the doomsday arrived. Early in the morning, the phone rang in the house.
“Only a few hours are left” said my daughter.
We all rushed to the hospital.
“Let me sit beside his bed” she said.
“But what will you do?”
“I will pray that he should pass away in peace” she said.
She was just sitting quietly until he breathed his last breath.
After few hours she retained her composure. First thing she said after she stopped crying “let boys(our two grand sons) not know about their father’s death until tomorrow morning. Let them sleep in peace”(both the boys were at home looked after by one of the relatives).
Then she said “Do bring the body to the house tomorrow. The boys should have a last look of their father”
Within one month of our SIL’s demise, our younger grand son’s birth day came.
“Because his father is not there he should not forego his pleasures in life” she said. And celebrated his birthday.
“Even though my parent’s support is there, I should earn” she said and found a good job within two months.
Yes a woman can cope with the death of her husband if she decides to be her children’s father and mother both and if she decides to become empowered within herself.
Please see also this post of my daughter trying to rebuild her life.