Christmas was far from cheerful for me. Right before Christmas, on Sunday, December 21st, I was out shopping with my mom prepping for my upcoming trip to East London to spend quality time with my boyfriend and his family. My mom has a history of cardiac issues, her worst incident was four years ago, when she literally slipped away and had to be revived and sustained on a life support machine. On this day, she complained of being tired and flushed out, I assumed it was just the scorching Durban heat that was affecting all of us. I told her to sit down in the coffee shop area and cool down while I finished my shopping.
There was an announcement over the PA system for me to go to the coffee shop area urgently. I approached and saw a crowd of people swarmed around someone. My mom was lying on the floor, screaming in pain, clutching her chest and crying out for her mom (who died when she was just nine). For any child to experience their parent having a heart attack, it is devastating to say the least. They told me to phone the ambulance services; I could not make that call or dial numbers. I managed to call my dad, my eldest sister who was also in Durban, my boyfriend and my work colleague. My sister who was nearby, arrived there before the ambulance. While I sat trying to keep myself and my mom calm in the back seat, eldest sister had to do that dreaded drive to the hospital. How my sister managed to maintain her composure and drive to the hospital quickly while hearing our mom say that she is dying and doesn’t want to die is beyond me. A few days after this incident, my sister experienced a panic attack as the stark realisation of what transpired set in. The test results done at the hospital revealed that my mom had a massive heart attack.
My parents are Hindus but very liberal ones at that. As a child, they would decorate our house with Christmas decorations; we even had a Christmas tree. Every year, my mom would prepare a hearty meal on Christmas Day. To my parents, Christmas symbolised togetherness as a family. Last year, for the first time, my sisters and I had to prepare the annual Christmas lunch. The greatest gift that I ever received was my mom being discharged from hospital. She may have been weak but she wanted to be with us. She told me that I must still go to East London, my life cannot be on hold because of her. I went but with a heavy heart phoning her constantly to check on her.
My mother is a remarkable woman, who constantly displays what strength and tenacity is. Every single accomplishment and mile stone in my life is due to her love and support. She’s pushed me to study, to travel, to focus on my career and be independent. I can’t imagine life without her and I truly believe that without a mother, a home is incomplete.