Memories are like a handful of sand. You want to hold on to them but they slither away, fading gently but surely. In panic, we turn to props to refresh them. An old faded picture, a yellowing letter written in hand, an email, a video and sometimes even a possession or a smell.

mothers memories

When I look back at my childhood, I often wonder why I hardly have any photographs of us. I have no baby pictures of me or not too many of my siblings either. No pics of the handsome couple that mom and dad made or pics of them with their parents. Just a stray few here and there. Too few actually.

Were my parents the only people who never took pictures? There were no digital cameras back then but still. What added to the problem was that dad was in a transferable job and initially we moved from one place to another every 2-3 years. You can imagine how much stuff got thrown out in the moves. That must have compounded the problem. With no digital backups, some memories are lost forever.

As a result, I hardly have any pictures to show my kids. There are times when I want to see my mother’s pictures, to see her smile, her saris, how she looked, her joy when she was around us. Did we have any pictures of her cooking? It makes me sad that I just have a few blurry images in my head and nothing more.

Not even any letters from her. She never wrote to me. We were always phone people. Pick up the phone and call. My mum and granddad used to exchange some handwritten letters, I remember. Nana’s writing was a bit awkward in Hindi. As kids we used to laugh about it. He was way more fluent in English and Persian, I’ve heard. After my grandma (nani) passed away, I think he wrote to mum more. You know how dads try harder after the anchor in their lives, their kids’ lives leaves. They try but they really can’t plug the gap. Come to think of it I don’t remember my mum’s handwriting. I never got to see any of the letters she wrote to nana. Now all of them are gone. It’s like I’ve lost them in my memories. Like I have nothing to hold on to. It’s a truly sad thought.

mothers memories

So strange how material possessions keep your stronghold on emotional connections intact. How a loss of them makes you feel as if you have lost the person in them… again.

In a couple of days will be ma’s birthday. Had she lived, she would have been 69 this year. I look at her framed picture in my home and see that smile one more time. I close my eyes and try to remember her familiar hug, her perfume and her gentle voice. Her bright smile, beautiful flowing hair and the delight on her face when she saw me. I try to feel her touch when I wrap myself in her old saris.

mothers memories

Mothers, I tell you. They continue to nurture you from beyond their graves.

Pic courtesy: IVVIVVI and Stokkete on Shutterstock

72 Thoughts on “Of Mothers, Memories and Loss of Them

  1. Rickie Khosla on December 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm said:

    This is probably the most beautiful post of yours that I have ever read, Rachna.
    Thankfully, some memories are so etched on the mind, you might not even need photographs and letters to relive them. But yes, how do you transfer those moments to your children?

    • Thanks so much, Rickie. I shed a few tears when l wrote this one. The memories are strong but l do wish l could supplement them with something. Kids hear a lot about nani but see not many pictures of her, neither of mine, of my childhood. We all miss that.

  2. Straight from the heart Rachna. Now I know how Prashant, my husband feels. For some reason he doesn’t have many pics of his parents. Just one or two very old ones. And it will be my MILs bday soon too.

  3. Hugs, Rachna. A huge warm hug.
    I never thought of it this way but yes pictures, letters and material possessions sometimes are like bridges to those everlasting memories. Not that without them we don’t remember but they somehow pacify us.

    • Thanks, Naba. Hugs back. I know. We don’t give it much thought till we don’t have it. Yes, we remember but it would be nice to supplement those memories once in a while.

  4. Rachna, this is so beautifully written – mellow, poignant and straight from the heart.

    When memories is all we have, we hold on to them forever.

  5. Oh, Rachna, what a heartfelt post. We all have memories etched in heart and mind but to see pictures, to hold the material possession somehow makes us feel the other person is still around.
    Beautifully written !

  6. I could just picture you sitting there trying to remember your mom’s hugs, scent and smile. Hugs dear.

    Fortunately for me, one of my mamas was a photography buff and so we have many of her pictures of the times he visited us. We continued taking pictures of hers whenever any relative with a camera happened to come by 🙂 So we have her pictures almost up to the time she left us, when she used to look like a little child with her smile that lit up her face and eyes. We feel blessed.

    • Thanks, dear Zephyr. I actually reach out to her so many times much more than when l was a child. She was around then and expected to be around.

      Such a blessing that your name took so many clicks. I am sure you cherish her pics.

  7. Moving post, Rachna! I am very sorry your Mom is not around, I am sorry you don’t have more photos of her…But you know how it goes, even the memories you have right now will fade, so sit down and write what you remember, ask your Dad to tell you about her. Who knows, may be in the process your mind will awake a few forgotten memories, or the warmth of remembering these nice times will offer come comfort…

    • Thanks, Iliana! I love your suggestion. You know my sister is a treasure trove of mum’s memories. She is 6 years elder to me and remembered much more, even my birth. It is so interesting to hear from her. And we talk about mum a lot. Perhaps l should write down more of her memories to document them. With dad too. Memories fade.

  8. This is so beautiful. Like Iliana said, you could write about her still with all that you can remember. You still have memories, and that is more valuable than any material possession. She lives in your heart and now she will live longer in your words. Hugs. <3

  9. A post which touched my soul. Having lost my mom few years back, I too regret not having enough pics to show my son when he grows up. Unlike now, those were not the days of capturing each and every moment, for getting films developed was a procedure in itself. I regret not having mom around when I had my child last year, for I wanted to share my experience of motherhood with her. My mom loved sarees. Maybe that’s y I find myself draping sarees so often, thinking she is happy and proud looking at me from somewhere…

    • Hugs, Shaivi. Your comment made me tear up. I feel exactly the same. Share your thoughts about not being able to share my pregnancies,my kids tales etc. with her. I have a few of her saris and l wear them to feel close to her.

  10. Hugs Rachna! I can understand how you may be feeling. It is indeed sad that we don’t value many of the little things in our life including memories.

  11. This post feels so much close to my heart Rachna…lots of hugs to you…

  12. You left us misty eyed Rachna. Material possessions are important to keep the memories alive but they help only as much. It’s the subconscious memories that stay forever.

    • Thanks, Prateek. I know but summer pictures would have helped. At least l have beautiful memories. No mean achievement that she offers me solace 15 years after she left.

  13. Very moving post, Rachna. It made me very emotional thinking of how attached we are to our moms and how they continue to nurture us in life and beyond.

  14. Girl, I never expected such an emotional post from you. You left me with a lump in throat. Hugs to you. Our family is also like yours..don’t have many pics of us when we were kids or of the parents. Now that we have all this technology in the world and yet we don’t take as many pics with mom. I think we should start clicking more often. We sisters take her way granted :(…should value her more…life is too short to regret. I cannot imagine life without her. I feel she is my only connection to this world.

  15. A heartfelt post, Rachna. I remember how I felt when I discovered a diary in which my mother has written some of the bhajans she used to sing in her kirtan group. It is such a treasure to cherish. The diary took on an even greater meaning when we discovered that on the last few pages she had noted down some of the bigger expenses incurred for my sister’s wedding. Such simple but precious memories. Though I am not really a keeper of too many mementos, somehow that diary became very special.

  16. So true Rachna. I realise that I have never written to my parents and they to me. We just talk on a phone. But I see my mother reading my nana’s letters every now and then. Maybe I should write to them. or send a greeting card. 🙂

  17. A very nice post… Thanks for sharing.

  18. So you are trying to hold on too! Sometimes we do need physical reminders of people we love. Come to think of it I haven’t written to my mother ever too. But we do have photographs – loads and loads since my father loved taking pictures. Your writing made me value my parents so much more. We do take them for granted.

  19. Hugs to you, my dear, lots of hugs!
    This post touched my heart, made my eyes well up and send a prayer for you, to help you hold on to those few faint memories you have and also to help you find some more memories of your mother that will stay with you always, always!
    Mothers…what would we ever do without these angels? I can’t imagine a day without talking to my mom. And, when I read stories like yours, my heart skips a beat.
    Rachna, our mothers are our guardian angels. And, I am sure your mom is there, somewhere near you, looking after you, guiding you in taking the right decisions, protecting you from pain and hurt in every way she can.
    A tight hug to you, sweetie!

  20. Really heart touching.

  21. I exactly feel this way when I wear my mother’s sarees. Such a beautifully written post. I can relate to the sentiments that you shared. You made me so emotional.

  22. I can feel your pain.It must be devastating to not have many pics of her as well as your childhood years.Older siblings are a lot of help there,but material posessions are in a different category.She left very early-so sad.
    My mother passed away a few years ago at 101 yrs,but i have her letters etc,it is so comforting.I feel for you Rachna.
    Love n hugs.

  23. I dont know what to comment on this. Its a year that i have lost my dad and the worst feelings are the pending conversations which I always planned to have but could never have. Hugs Rachna and peace and love to you

    • I can understand, Anindya. I also used to suffer from the guilt of not having had enough conversations with her or not treasuring her enough. It has become less over the years. It will for you as well. Loss of a parent just hits you in ways you can never imagine. Peace to you as well.

  24. Memories look like a distant dream that seems impossible as if we woke up to such beauty. I met my sister after 10 years. The Raakhi sister that I refer to my sister only and it felt like yesterday only when we were in college and she shouted at me for not taking an exam. I do remember pictures when Dad paid a photographer to click us on my budday, the time we never owned a camera. It felt so simple those days when things get so easy and in a way fake with phone shots.

    • They seem fake now, Vishal, but I am sure the kids will leave these same phone pics when they are older as a slice of their memories with parents. At least this is a gift I can leave for my children. Thanks for your warm words, Vishal.

  25. Hugs Rachna! That was so heart wrenching. You got me teary eyed :). At a loss of words right now to be honest. May you find peace in the memories that you’ve held on to. Take care.

  26. What a heartfelt post, Rachna. We hold on to memories and things that are etched in our hearts. Of trips and good old times and even I don’t have pictures of my childhood. For a different reason and miss that but looking at it differently, I know that the memories in my heart will never fade away. I won’t misplace them ever. Hugs! 🙂
    (DMing you for the reason)

    • Thank you, Parul. Thanks for sharing your post as well. I know the memories are there but she has been gone 15 years now. And so many things I missed not doing with her in my married life or when I became a mother and so many memories that feel that they are fading.

  27. The memories in your mind are permanent and nothing can ever damage them unlike a photo or a written note… Take care….

  28. Pingback: Life is but a memory… – Busy Creating…

  29. I couldn’t read this post without shedding a tear myself, Rachna. I have this constant worry these days as I find my parents growing older year after year. Also, at times, I have bad dreams concerning this matter. I know the phase shall pass and the cycle of life need to continue, but then, parents would be the most treasured gift anyone would be blessed with in their lifetime.

  30. As I read this post a lump formed in my throat while I fought back some tears!! This has truly tugged at my heart. A big tight hug to you, Rachna!

  31. That’s a beautifully emotional post Rachna. Yes, material possessions somehow seem to bring them closer, at least something to cling on to. I can understand that not having them would make you feel as if you have lost that tenuous link.

  32. I have always wondered too about the limited number of pics I have of my parents. I once infact discussed this with my mom. And all she had to say was that in comparison I was better as she has just a single pic of her parents. She treasures it the most.

    But yes, I still wish I had more pics of us as a family. THe good old years.. when parents were far younger.

  33. This post made me tear up, Rachna. Beautifully written! It’s great that your sister is there – together you can tell your kids some lovely stories about their grandmother. Lots of love to you.

  34. Such a moving tribute. Memories remain, and they will have to do in the absence of a dearly beloved. Yes, moms do nurture us, even when they’re gone.

  35. It brought tears in my eyes Rachna. So well penned. I am glad that we have lots and lots of photos to cherish.

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