All that she hoped for……


As the sun’s golden fingers tickled her eyes open, she stretched awake. As usual, she lingered on in bed, hesitant to start the day. After all, she had all the time in the world. There was no one waiting, expecting her services or attention. Her life was the same every day, without the pressures and pleasure of change. It usually started in the mornings with coffee and tasteless breakfast. She had stopped complaining about the hard idlis long ago when she realised that it fell on deaf ears. If only she had the energy and youthfulness to cook her own breakfast, she could have shown them how soft idlis were made. Now, however, she was totally dependent on the meals they provided and aged care homes were not famous for catering to the gourmet.

This morning she was surprised to find a piece of sweet semolina halwa with her idlis and she received greetings and a smile from the woman who served it. It was then that she realised the speciality of the day. After a warm shower, she got dressed in a silk sari that she had reserved for special occasions. Her fingers played with the folds as she fondly remembered the day some long time ago, when her husband had bought it for her on an occasion like this. He had said she looked very beautiful in it with her long, shiny hair braided and her eyes blackened with kaajal. Maybe he is watching her now, waiting anxiously for her to join him. “I haven’t got my passport yet, my dear. I am hoping it will be soon. Please be patient my dear” she muttered to herself. She smiled as she remembered how he used to laugh at her tongue-in-cheek comments.

Pulling open the drawer of her bedside table, the only other furniture in the room, she lifted out her hand mirror and the kaajal from her little treasure box. With her unsteady hand, she adorned her eyes with the kaajal. She was not very happy with the way the black colour spread unevenly around her eyes but she knew she could not achieve anything better because of her frail, shaky hands. She shrugged and brought out the tiny bottle of perfume from the treasure box and dabbed it on her wrists, and dress. She wanted to look and smell really nice when they kissed and hugged her. Suddenly, the world looked brighter. The sun-speckled leaves on the hibiscus tree outside her window danced in the breeze and rays of hope added glint to her tired eyes.

Those eyes kept looking at the telephone, expecting it to ring any time. Those eyes kept looking out through the window into the drive way expecting the cars to come driving in any time. As the day wore on, she still kept her hope alive, finding reasons for the delay. May be the car broke down….. May be they had to stop over somewhere urgently…. May be they got delayed trying to choose the right presents….

That night she went to bed wearily, still clad in her sari. She was worried. She prayed that they had not met with any accidents or anything untoward had happened. She prayed that none of them were sick and that they were all healthy. It did not matter that they forgot her eightieth birthday… as long as her children and their families were happy and safe… That was all what she really hoped for…


6 thoughts on “All that she hoped for……

  1. Your story is beautiful. It touched on memories of when my mother-in-law lived in an assisted-living facility. When my family and I went to visit her, we often saw the other residents sitting in the front lobby, dressed beautifully, chatting happily, and waiting for the arrival of family, or friends. They shared such great excitement – today they were going to places where they would not be able to go by themselves – and they were going to be with family.
    Even though it took an extra 10 minutes to take the elevator and walk to her room, my mother-in-law preferred to wait for us upstairs. Then, as we were leaving with my mother-in-law, after about an hour’s visit, we noticed that a sweet friend of hers was sitting alone, still waiting for her family to come get her for their special outing.
    At the end of your story, I wanted to cry. I had not been able to invite the elderly woman to come out with us, and I imagined how my mother-in-law might have feared that the same thing could happen to her. I also remember being frightened that this might happen to me someday. I hope that none of us will ever experience the loneliness of being left behind, or forgotten.
    Perhaps there is something I can do today, that would make a beautiful difference in someone’s life.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you Millie for sharing your experience. I am sorry that my post made you feel sad.
      The cold clutches of loneliness and the hurt of being left behind and forgotten are painful. Nobody should be experiencing this agony. If individuals took the effort to spend time and care for the elderly in their family, their fading lives could be made so happy.,… ,

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