There was a lifetime of normal.
There was a lifetime of being independent.
There was a lifetime of being strong.
There was a lifetime of being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunty.
There were two children – one of each.
There was a lifetime a lifetime ago.
There were many hours at the mandir.
There were countless steps along the Broadway.
There were yards and yards of sarees.
There were never ending supply of shoes.
There were countless people fed, my cooking was in demand.
There were the strokes, they were drawn to me.
There was the dementia, when did it arrive ?
There were the months of being incomplete.
There were the piles of dosset boxes.
There were the glorious months back home in India.
There were the endless adaptations to make life easy for me.
There were the wheelchair walks to the park.
There were the attempts at frame walking, I was an unwilling participant.
There were the fun days with family.
There were the visits from the grandchildren;Nanimum and Daadiji.
There were the times I couldn’t stop talking.
There were the days I made life bleak for those around me – they didn’t seem to mind! They pretended…
There were the flowers that Guddi always bought.
There was the smile that Simon bought.
There was the love that Sam showered me with.
There were yet more ambulance rides.
There were the worried looks on faces.
There were many hospitals and many wards.
There was the garden where I soaked up the sun, the amazing tilt & space wheelchair.
There were the ups and downs of the hoist machine, some escape from the bed.
There was June who shouted all the time but she didn’t know why?
There was the lady who was beside me for many weeks and then wasn’t.
There was the young girl who lied and made lots of noise.
But she couldn’t help it, I saw the cuts.
There was the young woman who moaned all the time. She wanted a hotel experience.
There were the women who had no visitors, my heart breaks for them.
There were the nurses who called me Aunty.
There were the nurses who cared.
There were the young doctors who seemed too scared to speak.
There was the giving consultant.
There was the “get the bed emptied” consultant.
There were the relentless needles, hunt the vein.
There were the unforgivable hospital meals that Ramesh fed me.
There was the nasty thickener in everything, even the tea.
There is this room, with Sky TV no less
There is Zee, Sony and religious programmes, I want my soaps.
There is Gayatri Mantra every time Guddi is about.
There is the missing tea.
There are flowers, photos and a little temple – this is my new home.
There are the people standing over me, wanting me to acknowledge them.
This is Meadowhouse Hospice , this is my last stop.
There was my family.
There was the love.
There was the worry.
There were the tears.
There was hope.
There will be a future for all.
There will be someone watching closely.
There will be light again.
Shashi Bala Sharma
10th July 1946 – 11th October 2019