Never even imagined that Feb 3, 2010 would be the last time Mom and I would talk to each other. Even though she complained of pain the previous night, and we called the ambulance, not wanting to take any chances, she laughed us off saying “aah ooh na – ambulance-ah?” and chased the guys away. We had no idea her lung was about to collapse.

The morning of Feb 3, 2010, however was seemingly normal – with Mom up in the morning. We even had coffee together. Our last coffee together. I got Vidur to school, although I was a bit worried about her color. After I got back, she agreed to have breakfast as usual. But she wanted to lie down for a while, which I assured her was fine – since it was still early Feb and the weather was cool in the mornings. Little did I suspect that she was beginning to sink. Still, I called Dr Pradeep right away to physically examine her – and he took me to the living room to tell me to rush her to hospital. I called the ambulance right away.

Then I told her we’re going to the hospital. She made a face at me. I got her medical reports file – we had a hospital bag which was always ready with her reports – and she said she’d visit the bathroom before leaving. I was still helping her, holding her whenever she moved since she wasn’t strong enough to move independently. Before we stepped out of the bathroom, she held the wall, and I turned her to me and hugged her, telling her “Here – I am the wall” She laughed, leaned her head on me – and said “Ipdiye mudinjudatha?” because she was in pain. And looking fatigued, even though she was trying to joke with me.  Then she got anxious – because those were the days of regular power cuts – and she wanted to take the lift downstairs and wait there – because – ever considerate – she didn’t want to inconvenience the ambulance guys – as they might have to carry her downstairs.

As it happened, the ambulance guys came right away, and we all got into the lift. By the time we reached downstairs, she was barely able to hold herself up and they rushed the stretcher to her, to make her lie down. She worried about her footwear. Just then, Sury returned from school with Vidur and we agreed to talk after we got Mom to the hospital. We even chatted in the ambulance as we made our way to the hospital – with the siren blaring. She said “Ayyo – why do they have this noise on?”. Well – after we reached the hospital, she was rushed to emergency – where the team found that her oxygen was at 60% – and we were losing her. They told me if we’d delayed by another half an hour, we may have lost her.

I was asked to wait outside, and I went crazy. I phoned Sury. He reassured me. Then the doctor came out and sat me down and told me Mom’s condition was critical – and that we’d better inform our family. I couldn’t believe it. Mom, critical? No way! Then the doc told me they’d have to connect her to the ventilator as she couldn’t breathe on her own. They told me I could talk to Mom after an hour. I went and saw her – and they had the tubes in. Mom gestured at me – and mouthed it wasn’t comfortable – and I reassured her it would all be okay.

After that – she was taken to ICU – and stayed unconscious, on full life support, until Feb 8 morning when her heart stopped. And only I spoke to her until Feb 7 evening during the visiting hours we were allowed.

I still chat with her. In my mind. She’s my best friend. Memories are all I have left. I love you, Mom!