The pandemic has taken away the lives of many and grieving for those lost has never been as difficult. Family members of deceased frontline workers share memories of their loved ones and the experience of mourning during the shutdown.
What I love about my wife? Her smile, for sure. Ours was a love marriage. I met her when we were in school together. It was very difficult for us because her family did not approve of me.
My wife was a fighter. She was so very brave and so determined. She’ll fight anyone. She would scold me for not doing my work. But if anyone turned around and said bad things about me, she would let them have it. She told me that either we get married with her family’s blessings or we leave the world together. We were married for around 25 years.
Now she’s gone, and I’m alone, and I miss her. During the day, I’ll go about my duties, and it feels as though she’s right next to me. But I turn to look for her and she’s not there. When I lay my head on the pillow to go to sleep, I can remember her smile.
Three days after she passed, I tried to kill myself. I was only saved because my daughters were there. I never imagined a life without her. She was the best cook. Our neighbours used to ask her to prepare food for them.
I tried making food for our children but am no good. They’re all I have now. My wife was so happy when our eldest got married. She always smiled, she was never sad. Even when we were in financial debt, she smiled like it was nothing.
Swetha S, daughter of Shankar J, conservancy worker
My father was like a friend to me. He would speak to us very openly about everything. He loved to tell stories – of his childhood, of all the jobs he’s done, of his friends. His stories were always fun to listen to.
My grandfather – that is, my father’s father – was poor, so my father could not study. He used to sell food his mother made to earn money. He’s worked in all kinds of industries as a kid. He used to tell us these stories and tell us that that’s why he wanted us to study hard.
He cracked a lot of jokes. More than the jokes though, we used to laugh at his accent. My father was raised in Royapuram, and so he says some words in a very funny way. Just listening to him talk used to make us smile.
My father taught us one thing – that we need to help others as much as we can. I still remember his words clearly, “We must help others in every way we can because that is our duty.”
But he never worried. He used to focus on the problem, solve it, and then never dwell on it. While I know I can never imitate his personality, I know I can try to be as patient and as caring as him when I grow up.