To my beautiful Mom,
Where do I begin, Mom? I hope you can see me every day like you used to. Our deep and endless conversations . . . Will I be able to ever stop these thoughts? Who would ever have dreamed our times together would pass? The impermanence of life was disguised in your endless love. I cherish all those memories.
Every time I dropped you off at the airport, each hug felt like it was the last. Savor every moment, I would say to myself. Yet I always had this thought that we would grow old together. I yearned for one more hug before you left, but God knew that you were tired. You had lost a piece of yourself without Dad. Until now, I could not understand how much you were missing him. Your life was full of caring for us in your arms, even though my two brothers and I had moved away. Then, the world fell from under you. Each one of us grew to be solitary birds, leaving our nest. Still, every problem stood in your gentle hands, especially the burden of keeping our father alive, which weighed your innocent heart to the ground.
I try to smell your face in most of my thoughts. I struggle to hold on to the things that remind me of you. Your absence leaves me stranded; I overthink. It leaves me looking for a sign that you are still here with me, every time. I try to move on.
Tell God I said I love you. Can you hear me? Can you see me? Can you hold me tight and never let me go, for one more moment?
I can’t comprehend those days before you left. All those machines tied to your fragile body in that hospital bed in Dubai, where you suffered on your way home to Sri Lanka. In your final moments, with all your children there, I could only keep my head in your hands. I would cry to God; I pleaded for answers. I felt helpless and empty, not knowing how it would turn out to be. But His timing is mysterious. He knows our whole life before us.
I released you to His hands, with the knowledge that I won’t be able to see you again. My heart burned passionately with sorrow. I know you will never forget how much I love you. How could I predict what I would do without you beside me? I learned to bake when you were not here, and every Christmas now, I decorate my home without you.
So here I am. I think of you endlessly. I want to learn more about myself and the world I live in. I want to reach the sky, to reach the top. I know you’re there looking at me, watching my every move and cheering me on. Until I see you and Dad again, I love and miss you both so much. Your legacy sustains me. I am trying to raise your grandkids and teach them the values you left behind for us.
Eternity is only one life away.
Love you forever,
Your only daughter,
Shyama Desilva, originally from Sri Lanka, has lived in New York City with her husband and two children since 2001. She is currently employed by the New York City Department of Education, and now that her children have grown up, she is eager to pursue higher studies. She is a student of CommonPoint Queens–The HUB, where John Kefalas is her instructor, and Denia Tavarez is the site supervisor.