Wednesday, 24 September 2014

White Tulips for my Mother in Law

My mother in law passed away over the Merdeka weekend. She was 80 years old and had been suffering from Parkinsons disease for the past four years. It  is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement related; these include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, as the disease became more advanced, she suffered from dementia and depression.

I was not very close to my mother in law. We were from different generations and backgrounds and so differed greatly in our  ways.  I found her difficult to relate with. The irony was that we were both women and  mothers. We shared the same concerns. Why we were unable to focus more on our similarities rather than differences? I guess we were too much alike. We were full of pride. And I was young and lacked the maturity to do it any differently.

It was in her later years, when she fell sick that I tried to reach out to her. She was more vulnerable and her defences were down. Once a very proud woman, she became a different person. I accompanied her on her first few visits to the hospital  when she was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and tried my best to be a source of help for her. Through it all, I learned that no matter the circumstances, what has transpired and what grievances we hold, treating another person  in a  human and dignified way actually comes very naturally to us. We are capable of putting every grudge aside to be of support to another person. To act otherwise, we have to really close our hearts and act very steely. And I am glad I was present for her when she needed it

To my dear mother in law, wherever you are, I want to say that you were a fashionista, a gutsy, determined lady. I pray that  love, peace  and happiness follow you wherever you are .