Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
67 years old Martha came back from her husband's funeral. Though she was a strong woman and he was as good as they come. Yet togetherness of 45 years is more like an addiction, hard to break. He had everything sorted, the house, finance, their son's. But couldn't help her reiterate her loss after him.
Everyone who came for condolences would add in the end,' wish you had a daughter, you could have talked your mind with her. Shared your feelings'. Weeks turned into years, she was happy for most of the times, but his absence irked every second. And in those moments she would hear it again,'wish you had a daughter, she would have taken care that you don't feel this pang of loneliness'.
Martha had seen her daughters in-laws trying to do their best. Job, kids, home, husbands. They had a life of their own too. They couldn't be there all the time.
But was it true, that without a daughter she should feel that god has been unkind. She always wanted one, but while raising her sons, she and husband never seemed to miss something.
6 years later she was found, peacefully lying in that same bed where her husband breathed his last breath. Just a smile on her face. As if she knew it was a union with her beloved.
They cremated her right next to her life partner, now her partner post death.
When her cupboard was being sorted out, her children found two letters. One for her son's. Which was no surprise. They read it loud.
Every minute I see you both, I thank your dad. For he gave me the gift of life. Together we brought life in this world, in the form of you two. And I am proud of the way you both have grown up to become. And I am sure your dad is smiling every minute seeing what wonderful fathers you two are. Thankyou for being what you are. May God give you enough. Enough to be happy. Enough to be content. Enough to give away enough to those in need.
Love you forever
She never taught them that boys don't cry. Rather she used to say only strong men have the courage to experience and express emotion's. And crying if it comes as naturally as laughing, should never be stopped. Let your tears flow. And they were flowing, for her absence. Now.
The second letter was for her daughter in law's. Martha was a woman of few words. And just the presence of this letter meant a lot.
"My dear daughter in law's,
I hope the kids didn't trouble you much asking where is grand ma. I know I have never said much to you both. Not much love, not much anger. I have never mentioned how much I like the chicken curry you made. And how I wish you added more sugar to that custard. Maybe because that was how things were between me and my mother in law. Society always fed me with the knowledge that the more distance you keep with your daughter in laws, the better it is. And when there are two. God bless you.
I had conditioned myself. Sadly. To maintain that distance.
After my husband passed away, I was constantly pitied for not having a daughter. I know you both knew about this. But what you both don't know is, I never felt the need. I couldn't confront those people with the fact that you two are my assets. One of the best decisions my son's had ever made. And I can die peacefully knowing you are there after me to take care of my legacy. I don't know how things would have been if I had a daughter. But I do know, that many a times you told your mother's that you can't come over because I was unwell. I also know the times you chose this family over your family. When you peeped in my room just to check how I was doing. When the sugar in the tea decreased significantly after my diabetes was detected. When you left for office,but never forgot to neately pack my breakfast and lunch in a hot case. When a hot cup of tea waited by my bed side every morning. And I also know for a fact that while you could definitely have found a better mother in law, no one could better you both in my life. I wonder if my daughter would have done the same for me. I want to say, Thankyou. Thankyou for being a mother to me, when I couldn't be one to you.
Anyone can be a mother to her children, but being a mother to your daughter in laws, only a woman of substance can do that. I failed at it. Sorry.
Just another mother in law."
There was silence. Tears made there way out of those hazy eyes. And silent promises were made in that room, to be a mother to the future daughter in laws.