Can you ever out-love your mother?

It has been a hard two months and I haven’t written anything. Not even a really short post that I would normally have, just to break the silence. Sometimes, life happens to you so fast that you don’t really have the time or the will or the energy to pull back, even if to document it. In the last two months, I have been consumed with mommyhood in a sense, but in a different way. I was dealing with the one mommy I couldn’t go lightly with. Mine. She was in fragile health, her heart was fast giving up, her body slumping by the day. There was too much going on in my head and my fingers could not keep pace.  So thoughts and ideas learnt how to inhabit my head and get flushed out when I was done dealing with them.

It was time for us children to finally be parents to our mother.

Ironically, the last post I wrote was about how only our mothers know how to look after us when we are ill (which I was when I wrote it). And now it was my turn to be mommy to my mommy.

And so, there she was, on the hospital ICU bed. My mother, on the edge of life and death, punctured, torn open, stitched up, sedated, and in searing pain, despite her over-medicated state. But she had only one question to ask. “Have you eaten?”

Sometimes she asked me to make myself a cup of Horlicks kept by her bedside. Sometimes she just felt sorry that she kept me away from my child for such long hours.  Sometimes she wondered if the sleeping arrangement at the hospital was comfortable for us. Were there mosquitoes? Was it too cold? Was the pillow too hard? Sometimes she lamented that her cough didn’t let us sleep. But at all times, what she felt disempowered by was the fact that we had to play mommy to her. That she had to put the mother in her on hold.

But then, that is the irony of being a mother. To always put another person before you, no matter what state of mind or body you are in. Which made me wonder. Is motherhood about giving and not receiving? Would she not have done the same for me? Then why was she feeling what she was feeling?

And it is when it hit me. My mother will always love me more than I can ever love her. Just as I will always love Re more than he can ever love me in the years to come. It’s a hard truth to deal with, but I am learning to live with it. Slowly.


14 thoughts on “Can you ever out-love your mother?

  1. We never cease to be mothers. Will we always feel guilty for doing , on our own , what appeals most to our souls? What we love as women, may of course not be loved by our loved ones. And yet, when we try to find the time and space to be ‘us’, or ‘me’, we invariably end up justifying even wanting the ‘us’ and ‘me’.
    Putting our family first, over and above ourselves, in terms of time, emotion,becomes second nature to mothers.

  2. Such a beautiful post. Now i know what you mean when you say ‘i write from my heart’. It was so touching to read through this, I sincerely hope your mother is feeling much better now!

    I asked my 80 yr old mother to read your piece and she had tears in her eyes remembering her mother who had a hard life bringing her up!

  3. I can understand and relate to this so well… my mom was fighting cancer and she was in so much pain but all she could think of and ask is if we have eaten, if salaries to house help has been paid, if all the visitors coming to visit her were being taken care off… she always kept telling me in her last days if i had holidays from work…. i had my baby after a year of her passing and i only imagine that if she would have been here all she would have done is take care of my gal and me…

    I pray that ur mom gets well soon…. hugs

  4. You are right Lalita, you will always continue to love your child more than your child ever will. Perhaps nothing else can describe this better than this:
    The Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) said “Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” and it truly does. And as recorded once a man came to the Prophet and asked, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Ref : Al-Bukhari). Among several verses in Quran one is “And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship…” [al-Ahqaaf 46:15].
    I then realise they is no better pedestal for a woman than the status of ‘Motherhood’ (not necessarily a biological one)

  5. I had tears when reading this.. I think about my mom, who still take care of me like a little child, when I have a child of my own ! How she takes care of her grandson not as a duty but in pure love… How much patience and love do the mothers have …it’s unimagineable.
    I pray your Mom get’s well soon. Take care

  6. Hope your mom is better now. I have become emotional reading this and its so true .. our mothers love us way more than we can ever love them!

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