The Echoes In Silence

The vacuum created by someone who once filled our lives isn’t sealable

Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

I often get nagged by my daughter when she repeatedly calls out Amma (mom) before every sentence. I pounce on her saying she doesn’t have to address me when it’s just the two of us around. Once when she was out on a playdate, the silence disturbed me.

When I was ten years old, I was traveling in a bus with my mom and younger brother. When we got off at our stop, people were rushing towards the bus station from all the directions. A pregnant woman was seated outside on a rock, crying out for help. There were two little kids (about my age and younger) sobbing with their hands over the woman’s shoulders. A beige Contessa car was in the bushes behind the bus station with its engine still running. I saw the driver at a glance with his head bent down onto the steering wheel. People from the crowd went into the bushes and found a young kid in a pool of blood. There were vague murmurs that the kid was no more.

The woman and the three kids reached the bus station moments before we arrived. Probably they were on the bus that was ahead of us. A drunken car driver missed a turn on the road and drove onto the family, taking the young life right before the eyes of his mother and siblings.

My mom stopped a rickshaw that passed by and we continued our journey.

The bus stop scene is still as clear as snow in my mind even after twenty four years. The incident trembled me though not evidently. I overcame the fear by narrating the whole incident to my father and grandmother back home.

The next day my grandmother showed me a newspaper report on the accident that confirmed the death of the child. She made a statement that always haunted me “The woman is pregnant and she already has two children”. She said in a self-consoling tone that sounded like, It’s Okay.

Years later, when I heard about a known child’s demise, this incident flashed through my mind. It hadn’t faded from my memory. The image of the pregnant lady sitting on the rock wailing and two helpless children besides. That was a death that I had seen in front of my eyes and haunted me forever.

My grandmother’s words always put me on contemplation. I found her to be insensitive and callous. Sixteen years later, my motherhood experience helped me to interpret her words.

Being a mother of eight children and losing two of them at infancy, there wouldn’t be a better person than my grandmother who could empathize with the mother at the bus stop. I have witnessed my grandmother’s eyes being welled up every time she spoke about her lost infants. May be, It’s Okay meant that the mother will overcome this trauma one day, like her.

Today, silence reminds me of the mother in the bus stop who might be yearning to hear her child’s voice once again and my grandmother who could probably still remember the baby babbles and cooing of her infants.

The vacuum created by someone who once filled our lives isn’t sealable.

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Sandra

Sandra

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An atypical Taurean || Storytelling enthusiast || Retrospective Daydreamer || Tried and tested HR Professional || Experimental mother