Chapter 10

Written by: Jasmine Groves

Chetna was looking over the gardens, a slight breeze toying with the grass. She pondered as she stood there; life had a funny way of opening one door as another closed.

The last few days had been hard, she still had so many questions that had not been answered, the grief of losing her beloved mother felt like an extreme weight at times.

Arrangements for the funeral had seemed endless, so many decisions to make only intensifying her sense of loss.

Her son had tried to help but his job at the bank seemed to keep him busy - or maybe it was the closeness of death, which compelled him to stay away.

She could hear the cars driving over the asphalt as they entered the cemetery gates, slowly others started to walk to where she was standing. So much white it looked as if it floated towards her. 

Yes, death was the finale to life, but colour was what captures the essence of a person.

She smiled as she thought back to a picnic she had had with her mother, she had been about six years old. The day had been magical, starting early with them choosing special outfits, to look their best.

Always one for fun, Chetna’s mother had worn a dark purple sari and a long burnt orange sash that swished when she walked. She plopped a straw hat on and tied it with a red ribbon – she clashed terribly but looked so happy and free.

She had dressed Chetna in a similarly garish outfit, right down to some bright pink patent shoes. Finally dressed, they had taken a basket out of the closet and filled it with goodies – singing nursery rhymes the whole time. 

A hand touched her shoulder bringing her back to the present.

“It is time, Chetna” the deep melodic voice of Dr Batra said.

Chetna moved forward to stand beside the man who would be performing the last rites before her mother passed from this world to the next. She was almost completely unaware of the others around her; they all melded together in so much white.

As the service went on, she could hear others keening, she felt her own tears had dried up from so much grief. It was over quickly compared with how long all the decisions had taken to make.

Others started to walk up to her, murmuring words of kindness and love, reflecting on the woman that Chetna’s mother had been.

Chetna felt like she was standing at an abyss, she reached down and took earth into her hands and let it drift to the casket. Her breath caught in her throat as she said goodbye to her mother, the light that had been a safe guide.

Something warm captured her hand, raised it to lips and gently kissed her palm. “Chetna, this chapter is over, but like a book you can always re-read her stories. Memories are forever.”

Comments

This is a lovely final chapter. Well done Jasmine. There is a sense of other worldliness which has threaded through this story and the tenderness is beautifully captured and her son's reaction reveals his character and also is realistic.