The blaring ambulance horn pierced through my ears. The entire day I lay on the hospital bed, unconscious. I was admitted and under observation with a serious case of Jaundice. Completely dehydrated, nauseated, and tired, every muscle in my body ached. As I opened my eyes, I caught a glimpse of few men; bringing in a man and a woman who were victims of an accident. Amidst the chaos, a baby was wailing loudly. The doctors and nurses sprung into action. As I was regaining my consciousness, the scene was a bit too much for me to register.
I heard the man crying, “Did anything happen to my daughter? Is she safe? Please check on her” The man was becoming paranoid. The nursing staff was settling him down on the bed next to mine. Amidst their reassurances that the baby was safe, he was weeping, “I cannot bear it, if anything happens to my daughter.” From the gap in the curtains, I saw a face, smeared in blood crying out for his baby. The pain, the injuries, the broken arm, nothing mattered as much as the child’s safety.
The baby must be his daughter, I thought. They brought a cute little baby, almost 6 months old, screaming in the arms of a man. She let out another shriek seeing her badly bruised father. From that moment, my heart went out to that child. Was she expressing her agony in the only form she knew which was, to cry? Did she have any idea about what was going on? Was it the unfamiliar circumstances, strange people, and scary scenes that made her cry? Was she hungry?
There was no news of the woman who was brought in. I began panicking. Hospital ER does give you the worst nightmares. The question of the Mother’s condition was troubling me.”What happened to the mother”? I asked mom. Even before she could reply, the Father let out a loud scream. The mother was pronounced dead, and the doctor was conveying the news to him. I really wonder how doctors manage to break the news of a patient’s death. It must have taken a lot of courage to do it.
I could feel the pain; the family was suffering at that moment. If fate hadn’t played this game on them, they would be enjoying the trip to their native place. The grandparents who were eagerly waiting to see their grandchild had to face the news of their daughter’s death. It was a tragic accident. A rash truck driver had rammed into their car. The mother and daughter were thrown out of the car, in the impact. When people rushed to the spot, they saw the child wailing in the protective embrace of the mother. The mother in her attempt to save the baby hit her head on the median. She died on the spot. Blood was oozing from her head and the baby was covered in blood. They retrieved the baby, held in a tight life-saving grip from the lifeless body of the mother. The child didn’t have a single bruise. She had a miraculous escape. It was God’s grace and the mother’s sacrifice, that she was alive.
When I heard the story, tears welled up in my eyes. This child, at a tender age of six months lost her mother due to an irresponsible drunken driver. Every scream of hers, felt like an arrow throbbing into my heart. The sight on the bed next to me, is still imprinted in my memory. The father was holding on to the child, motionless, tears running down his cheeks, wearing a woebegone expression. That silent protective embrace spoke millions. What would have been his state of mind at that time? …Thank God for saving his daughter’s life or question God after all, why did his wife die?
In those mournful moments, my heart and my mind were trying to reach out to the child. Was it the vulnerable state I was in coz of my physical weakness or the intensity of the melancholic situation I was in? This was the first time I was experiencing the bare truth of life and death, in such close proximity. I just couldn’t take this child off my mind. The baby, who I first saw just a few minutes ago, was forcing me to ask an array of questions to myself. Questions I had never thought of before.
How would she realize her mother had died? Was it when she missed the warmth of her mother’s embrace? Who would she cuddle unto? Who would feed her? In years to come, how would she know about her mother? What would she know about her mother? The woman who carried her in her womb for nine months? The woman who underwent all the pain to give birth to her? The mother who nurtured her for six months? The mother who gave that child a life, not once but twice? What would the child feel when she comes to know how her mother died? How would she adjust to the unfamiliar circumstances henceforth? How would she actually sense the death of her mother?
I drifted off to sleep as an effect of the sedation. Another loud cry woke me up. I saw a woman holding this baby and feeding her water in a feeding bottle. I presumed the woman to be some relative of the bereaved family. Mom told me that she was the mother of the patient lying on the bed to my right. The patient was a young woman, in an advanced stage of pregnancy. She was there, IV fluids and saline injected into her body. She’d had an attack of fits. The mother who was alarmed at the state of the daughter, was now looking after a baby, who was a complete stranger.
Almost 8 months have passed since this incident but it feels like yesterday. I was deeply moved by the act of humanity shown by people who were forced to come together by circumstances. Complete strangers, shed their inhibitions, and extended their help to a family, which was torn apart by the death of a close one. Every one in that hospital ER played their part, much more than what was demanded or expected. Humanity has not faded from the face of the earth. This incident made me believe so. Even now when I think of that baby, a mixture of emotions rise up. I hate to term, what I feel as sympathy. It’s truly beyond what words can describe. For once, I find myself unable to express what I feel.
This is not exactly a happy mother’s day post!
On this day, I pay my due respects to that 21-year-old Mother, who gave up her life, while protecting her daughter. The mother who became immortal in our minds, who with her deed fortified the power of a Mother’s love.