In response to our writing prompt – Share a story of a caregiver who has nurtured and looked after your loved one, Sukanya Bora shares a very personal story. A story of her father selflessly fulfilling his role as a caregiver.
Just as in “Maya’s Journal“, this story reflects how trying it is for a caregiver but they are never bitter and they rarely give up.
I remember her screams. The sound of water filling up the steel bucket wasn’t enough to mute them. Then followed the sounds of her thumping him. She was thin, her arms bony. I am certain he felt the whacks but he kept on. The wails always continued through mid routine after which they became whimpers until they stopped altogether. Soon they would emerge from the bathroom, one looking fresh, clean in a new set of clothes, while the other, drenched, his face weary but relieved.
Mid morning was when this bath routine always took place. Like clock work. I suppose this was his attempt to bring in some semblance to an otherwise uncertain, chaotic situation.
Her bed was next to the window. It was thoughtfully placed there, away from the door directly leading to the exit. From her bed, she could see the tall betel trees that lined the backyard. She could look into the neighbor’s vast yard. Occasionally she would hear children playing. Those are my children, she would say with a toothless grin.
Her normal was her past. She was happier living in it.
Frequently, she tried opening the door. She couldn’t. It was bolted from outside. She went missing a couple of times. Only to return to the house escorted by a kind neighbor or a local rickshaw walla. Once the local cops got involved and thereafter they were put on alert. The upside of living in a small town.
Leaving her alone became increasingly risky. He kept close, became her primary care giver, regularly monitoring her movement, medication and meals. A role he slid into out of respect to the woman who birthed him. A woman, once active, a proud matriarch but over the years, ravaged by an unrelenting condition. He stood by her like a loyal sentry guarding his king, adequately taking care of her. He became the giver of love while helplessly watching her regress deeper into a dark, unreachable world.
How is she doing? I asked on long distance calls.
OK, he would respond. It is what it is and I will take care of her as long as she needs taking care of, he would add.
I ended the calls feeling a sense of pride for him. In his steadfastness and honor for his ailing mother, he perhaps did not realize that he taught me one of life’s key lessons: sense of duty.
Story By : Sukanya Bora. Read more of her posts here.