It has taken me a lifetime to understand that mother is a concept. My mother passed away seven years ago. My brother and I cried our hearts out for a woman who had been the epitome of love, care and discipline, all mingled into one form. In fact, I couldn’t even have made it past my 15th year without my mother.
Mother is a Healer
When I was ten years old, I began a prolonged journey with childhood epilepsy. But it was my mom who suffered the most. She would rush from her office to tend to me every time she received that dreaded call from school. It was only much later, that I realised that she always went to work praying fervently that it would be a day when she wouldn’t receive “that” call from school.
Anyway, I fell sick, and then daddy fell very sick. While she was in constant agony, my mother overcame it all through sheer willpower. She was a care-giver, after all, and the healer of the family. That was my mother.
Mother is a Gender-Bender
My mother was not alone in carrying a mental and physical burden. I have seen daddy cry publicly when I was at the highest point of my illness. He would often feed me and hug me tightly when I felt physically and emotionally drained after a seizure. Daddy’s eyes held a sadness that would transform into humour whenever he tried to talk me into laughter. Sadly, it was only long after his death that I understood that daddy too had been my mother.
Mother is a Child
In her late fifties, my mother fell very ill. Her physical and mental overload had caught up with her and she was succumbing to it. She was in and out of hospitals, and her legs were so weak that she spent most nights tossing and turning over in pain. For almost a year, until the day she passed away, my newly-married brother slept on the floor in her room, rushing to comfort her pain the moment she started moaning. He would clean the home, cook the food, help her to the toilet, and kept a constant vigil over her. My brother had become her mother.
Mother is a Concept
The point that I am trying to make with all my teary tales is that Mother is a concept. Mother is a concept of a care-giver, a concept of a teacher, a concept of kindness, a concept of discipline and much more.
Take your mind into a flash back mode and think of all those people who have cared for you. When you time-travel this way, you will start noticing those strangers who have helped you pick up something you have dropped; moved back in the queue so you could move forward ahead of them; or just given you a kind look. Isn’t this all something that a mother would do? Mothers can live in our memories for a lifetime, but can also pass by at a moment’s notice. Mother, is a concept that envelops our entire value system, striking the very core of our personality.
Scientists say that our intelligence is inherited from the mother’s genetics. That makes our intelligence, our mother, and when we respect it, it stays with us for a lifetime. Intelligence is also something that is learnt and understood. So, our teachers too become our mothers. Come to think of it, our birth mothers are our first teachers, and the teachers that we meet in school are extensions of this mother.
We all have that mother within us. If someone is a mother to you, you will also become the mother to someone else. With my parents physically away from me, my husband has attained that honoured position of being my mother. He is my provider, my body-guard, my healer and the only person I trust completely. Both of us, though, are well aware that there will come the day when it is our son’s turn to become our mother.
Mother is God
Many Indians respect land and water as mothers. My soul-sister, Indira talks about how Earth is the greatest mother we can ever have. According to my son, Vignesh, the Mother Goddess is everyone’s original mother, while his close friend, Shakthi believes his own mother (Indira) is God herself. Mother is our birth mother – the creator. Mother is our value-system – the preserver and enhancer of life. Mother is our intelligence – the destroyer of ignorance. Mother is God.
Mother is a concept, and the greatest concept that the universe has given birth to.
Kanika Kumar is a poet-writer who is trying to make sense of, and organize the great chaos that exists both within and outside her.
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