And before I knew it, I had hit ‘Send’.

As if in slow motion, I saw the words “Your message has been sent. Undo. View Message“.

Before I snapped out of the shock, the “Undo” disappeared – fading right before my eyes. There was no reversing that action now. The message had gone and was probably being read this very minute…or not…even as my mind went through all sorts of misgivings at having sent the email. Part of me said I needn’t have bothered. After all, I would be fifty years in a week.

***

Let me explain. I’ll be brief. I am an only child. My Mother was a single parent. She was married at the age of 13, and abused by her in-laws. And what was my biological father doing, you might ask. He joined in, aiding and abetting in making her suffer for she knew not what, at the time. Too afraid to rebel for fear of hurting her father, my Mother put up with it. She did not speak out.

There were days when she was pushed down the stairs if he was annoyed. There were days when she moved around, wincing each time her clothes came in contact with her body, when they brushed against the cigarette burns.

There were days when she was not allowed to eat, even though she cooked for everyone.
There were days when she was so tired, her eyes would struggle to stay open and her mother-in-law placed her hand on the griddle on the stove to wake her up.

There were days she wished she did not exist.

Then, five years later, five years of abuse and inhumane treatment, she discovered she was pregnant. She wanted to live, no matter what. I was born. It was love at first sight.

Two months, maybe three, before I was born, he went to the US to pursue higher studies and settled there.

Some miracles and divine intervention later, we arrived at her mother’s place in another city.

She finished her SSLC exam, for she had to fend for herself from now on. We were not rich. We struggled. Life went on.

I grew up, enveloped in the love of my Grandmother, Mother, Uncles. When there’s affection, being broke doesn’t look so bad.

She gave me life, she gave me education, she taught me compassion and self-confidence. She  encouraged me in everything I did.

Then the day came when I decided to get married, and was out distributing wedding invitations with my then father-in-law to-be, now father-in-law. We were waiting to meet his friend to return after a class, when I saw “him” for the very first time. By some strange twist of Fate, my father-in-law recognized him. In shock, we let the moment pass.

I got married in 1997.

Life is amazing in the way it balances things out. My husband is a wonderful person who insisted Mom lived with us. A year later, my son was born. Joy took permanent residence in our home.

Then Facebook happened, and by another strange twist of Fate, I saw them – my Mother’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their children. One of them connected with me and then, her father. Two or three stilted email exchanges later, life became busy. Mom’s health got worse.

Then, one of her lungs collapsed and her days were numbered. Five days later, on Feb 8, 2010, she breathed her last.

My Uncle insisted I email my sperm donor.

Out of respect for him, I did.

Naturally, I edited it several times.

I didn’t want to sound friendly.

I didn’t want to sound belligerent.

I didn’t want to sound sad.

I just wanted to inform.

But it was hard.

He would never understand.

And before I knew it, I had hit ‘Send’.