April 24, 2010

For Mumma


The past couple of days have been a bit of a drain on the ol' system.

On Friday, we got a sweet letter from my BH's grandmother. When he was growing up in India, both his parents worked full time, so he was basically raised by her. We stayed with her when we were in Mumbai a few years ago - she was a remarkable lady. Still teaching sewing at 94, feisty, polite, and always thinking of her family. She was also incredibly gracious to me, this strange white girl with tattoos, dangly earrings and bleached hair. She made me feel at home in a city that pretty much scared my pants off.

Anyway. The letter. It had her familiar handwriting on it. We were thrilled to her from her. We pledged to write her back as soon as we could.

Friday night I was at a gay dance party, working the door and getting sloshed off my ass. What else would one do at a gay dance party, I ask you? Exactly. Then my cell rang sometime after midnight, and my BH was calling to say that his grandmother had passed away in her sleep.

I spent the following hour stumbling home, drunk and sad, trying to make condolence calls that didn't give away how much booze I had in my system. I woke up hungover after sleeping only a few hours and dragged my butt to choir practice. We sang spirituals and I cried through them, miraculously without anyone noticing. It was a bad 12 hours for me. It was worse for my BH.

My BH's grandmother, or Mumma, as everyone called her, was very much the neighbourhood's mom. She raised so many kids on her own, whether or not they were blood relatives. Mumma helped put a lot of children through school. She was widowed at a young age, and spent the rest of her life giving back to the families in her community. A chunk of Mumbai is mourning today.

I remember a story she told me once: She and her husband planned a big party to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but he passed away right before the event. She said she didn't want to waste everyone's efforts to put together the party, so she decided to have it anyway. That made me so sad, but she said it very matter-of-factly. Why waste? She was strong, that woman. Seeing her interact with my BH was amazing. There was so much love between them. I feel honoured that I got to meet her... She taught me so much in one small trip.

We can't afford to go to India for the funeral. Her home will probably be sold, and her belongings will be split up among the family members there. It makes me sad for my BH, who may not get to see his childhood home again. I'm thankful that we went to India when we did, but I wish we could be there now.

Now I'm left wondering how to give my BH a great 30th birthday tomorrow with all this sadness floating around. He deserves a great day, you know?

Anyway. It's tough, but I keep reminding myself that she had a wonderful life, and loved us until the end.


Nat said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

If you need anything let me know.

skylark said...

She sounded like a wonderful woman who touched a lot of people. My condolences to you and BH.

Pauline said...

That is so sad, she sounded like a great woman! I am very sorry for you and BH's loss, and hope that he can have a good birthday, despite his pain. :)