My dearest momma,
My thoughts are scattered all over and I want to put them in to words. But I am fidgeting in front of the keyboard unable to form a cohesive sentence.
We just witnessed possibly the most deadliest attack on civilian life of our life time. There is so much I want to say, but my mind is constantly haunted by heartbreaking sights and the distant sounds of desperation of helpless families in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings here in our beloved mother land. As the whole nation is coming to terms with what happened, we are coming out of the shock of it all and moving on to despair and venting our outrage at everything that transpired since then.
I glance over and see my three little munchkins argue with each other. Aiya and akki playing their version of monopoly while little malla tries to butt in. I watch them fight and make up, their little worlds pure and unblemished. Intent on their game without a care in the world. And I am once again awash with grief, remembering those death notices plastered in every available surface, from walls to lampposts. The beautiful smiling faces of the little ones making the most impact, stabbing hundreds of needles in to my already shattered heart. Now I understand what they mean when they say "the smallest coffins are the heaviest", because they are filled with all the hopes and dreams of bright futures ended too soon. I feel nauseous watching waves of pain engulf the parents.
I am sighing a lot. I know you are too. There is so much emptiness inside. Am I trying to dispel it with my sighs? I wonder. “Momma!” They scream at varying decibels, with a million thoughts they want to communicate all rolled in to one word. Momma. I give them the don't make me come there stare. And I continue to stare, unable to take my eyes off them. I am back with my thoughts and it makes me think, will you keep looking back every time you hear a child say momma, even after you lose your child? Knowing your little bundle of joy is an angel up in the heavens? When you give birth, a little piece of your heart leaves to live with your child. You go about your daily life with that piece of heart outside your body. When your babies are happy you feel that piece of your heart fill up with joy, when they are making achievements it inflates with pride, when they hurt themselves you feel that piece of heart shrink with sorrow. But when you lose your precious precious child, what happens to that little piece of your heart? Won't that leave you with a vacuum that nothing can ever fill? An endless blackhole that swallows all happiness. Will you not live the remainder of your life with an infinite string of I wish, what if and if only plaguing your mind. How do you get past the pain of burying your child and go through the motions of your life, wake, eat or sleep. Everyday mundane actions you took for granted weighing you down like anchors, mooring you to the past. Oh my heart!
I want to hug the sweet children who lost their mommies. And tell them I am there for you my little love, don’t lose heart. But that is so insignificant don't you think? Does it matter who is there for you, if the most important person in your little world just goes missing. One minute she is holding your little hand at the church or she is making fun of your food choices at brunch and the next minute; just like that, she is no more. How can you tell them that many wonderful people will one day walk in to their lives and color it with their love, knowing too well that none of them can replace the rainbow that was their beautiful momma. How do we tell them that they will miss her sorely at every milestone, every juncture and every turning point? How do you come to terms with that? Can anyone fill that void?
My husband keeps berating me. "Don't be so morbid" he says. But I can't help myself. Is it the same with you? God, I hope so. Deep inside I know so. I know that once you are a mother, you tend to sense the pain and fear of your species as if it's your own. I know just like me you are feeling desolate. You want to rewind life to a time when your biggest issue was putting on those extra few pounds after April vacations. I do. I so desperately want to rewind all our lives. 253 lives lost as I type this letter to you. But thousands of lives changed forever. How do you snap out of it? How do you get the image of a father crying for his beautiful wife and bubbly daughter gone too soon out of your mind’s eye? How do you get the sound of loved ones saying "I wish it was me" out of your ears?
I am no stranger to bombs going off. I am a child of the 80s. But why is this affecting me so much? Maybe because now, I am a mother. I know I am mourning for the dead. But I realized I am grieving for the living too. I know very well what it is like to live with limitations on your freedom, the constant surveillance, looking at everything and everyone with suspicion because " better to be careful no", keeping your kids back from school because you have a bad feeling about things, taking extra time to say goodbye as one of yours leaves home, that panic when you hear about a blast somewhere and scrambling to make sure your near and dear are accounted for. Sigh. Again. Life will never be the same. I grieve for the death of liberty and freedom.
I am glad I decided to write to you. It feels therapeutic to get it off my chest. I know you will understand me. What I am going through. What I am feeling. Because you are me and I am you. I know we will get through this one day at a time. But one thing I know as sure as day is that I will not let this dastardly act change me and make me in to someone my younger self will not recognize. I set out to change the world. To make it a better place for future generations. And that's what I will keep doing. To be honest after all we've been through as a nation I should say my resolve only got stronger. I know as citizens, we have to hold those in charge accountable. I know we have to fight to get the culprits punished to the highest extent of the law. I know we have to stand up for everything true and just. But, we are mothers first and anything else later. We should stand up like sentinels with beacons of love and hope in these troubled times. I will not let this inhuman act define my humanity. I am going to promise myself to be kinder, more tolerant, more empathetic and I sure as hell will reach out more, across boundaries and borders. I think the mere fact that we are mothers qualifies us to let anyone and everyone know that they better shut up and listen, it's a mother with a mission over here. And we mean business. So don't you dare dismiss us. Will you join me? Will you take that leap of faith with me? Will you reach out to that mother next to you? Will you encourage your kids to make friends across boundaries? Can we transcend petty ideals like religion, race, rich, poor, black, white or brown? Can we forget who did what? Can we forgive words spoken out of haste? Shall we make our children understand why we so proudly call our country mother Lanka? Oh there's so much we can do! We don't need to wait for the big wigs in the government to make a change. Those are a bunch of overgrown babies who will never listen. So I will not even go there. But we can begin. Us mothers. We can start with a nod and a smile as we meet each other while on our journey through life and the rest will be history. We can rewrite history! Do you realize how powerful that is? I am reminded of a poem by William Ross Wallace, " the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". Who wants to rule the world when you can change it? Change it for the better for generations to come. Imagine that!
I know this is a long letter but I am signing out with so much hope.
Happy Mother's Day darlings. Here's to Love and Peace.