The Choice6 mins 196 6 mins 196
A month has gone by, since my husband passed away. He lived a good and long live. He was 76 when he died. All his relatives, friends and neighbours came and gave their condolences. Everyone was sad; sure, but all knew that he had a good live, had good children after him.
Today, we kept a gathering for all those who couldn’t make it the day it happened and those who wished to remember him for one last time before we all move on and get busy in our lives again. I am his wife and I must say it is not as hard as they said it would be. Maybe because we lived a full life together and we had nothing more in our to do list. Both of us were spending our remaining days looking forward to this very outcome. In a way it was a relief that he has reached the summit but there is also this fear that now I am left alone...
For a few days after his last day, I was busy in our memories, meeting people and talking about him and our live together. But then slowly I started thinking of what is to come. I had figured out that I would stay with my son. Take care of my grandchildren, occasionally visit my daughter and other relatives as per my wish. But I figured that mostly I will live with my son, maybe help him and my daughter-in-law. Most people want to be alone and enjoy this loneliness but I guess for me I was alone with my husband for almost four decades now. And that is how it works for a woman right, from father to husband to children. Always helping them achieve what they want. Same for me as well, sorted I thought.
Everyone went their ways by the evening. My son wrapped up everything that was remaining. He handled everything pretty good. No running here and there. No mis management, it was all good and proper. He was grown man now. He was independent.
After the dinner he came to my room, I was folding clothes. He roamed here and there for some time. Hesitantly he asked me, that he wants to speak something to me. I guess we both knew what the discussion would be. He would ask me to move in with him and then some other details. I took the lead here and let him ease into the situation. We both said it, that his father, my husband was no more and we need to move on. The hard part was over, I thought.
But then my son asked my where am I going to live after this, should he make arrangements here or at his place or any other thing. He would have to rent a new bigger house maybe with more facilities or make arrangements here. There would be a lot of work and arrangements (adjustments) needed. He almost sounded like he didn’t want me with him. I thought he would just come and ask me to pack my bags and tell me that he will be taking me in. But here he was asking me if I have any other options in my mind, that if I have somewhere else to go or do. Why would I?
Does my son feel that I would be an adjustment or what has he thought, that he will send me money every month and I would stay alone by myself away from their lives but accessible whenever needed? Doesn’t he want me to be with him or now does he feel that I am a burden. That they have a happy well settled live of their own without me and I am too big a change for them? All this was crossing my mind and maybe he sensed it too.
He paused for a while and tried to explain it to me, what he means is that he does not want to tell me what I should do or must do or this is only the way ahead in my life. He wanted me to tell him what I wanted. Confusing, right? It was for me too. What was he expecting, that I would go on to do work for some NGO or go on indefinite pilgrimage or just do nothing? I was a little angry. If you don’t want to take my responsibility, tell it directly, don’t suggest me what I can do else. I nearly shouted at him.
He told me that he was happy to have me with him and all he wants to take care of me in the best possible way, but he doesn’t want to impose his care on me. He wants to know what will make me happy and what I want from my life. So that he can help me with that. He wanted to know my choice first before making any assumptions or decisions. I was still angry, more rather. What choices does a sixty-year-old lady have any way? He was also confused and a little angry but he managed to be calm.
Then he told me very peacefully that His father has kept enough money to take care of the house and me for at least next twenty years. And he himself also has some of it. He also has an extra room for me setup in his house so that I can come whenever I want. But then do I want to live here with my neighbours I knew for three decades, in midst for nature or come to a new city environment. Or do I want to see some world and then maybe settle down later so that he arranges for something or if anything else. Anything I want but I must be my choice, He said.
My choice, what else would be or should me by choice? What if it was up to me to decide what I do if woke up tomorrow morning, I had not thought of this my entire life because before going to bed I already had a lot to-do things, which kept me awake every night for long.... It seemed like a never-ending cycle and I had adjusted to it without asking anything. Even after all my responsibilities were fulfilled, till yesterday. I never asked myself or told myself that I need to do something different. It has just been like this I thought. It never crossed my mind that I can deliberately decide and do something else or divert from the decided path as per my wish. Literally, never in my life, Since I have a memory of. It was all told to me that things have to be done in a certain way and I have been doing it like wise without any question. And I took pride in that thing. That I never diverged from my duties and responsibilities. That I did it all right, the way it was needed to be done. And I was happy, satisfied and in peace with life.
And here is my son asking me what I want to do? Wanting me to think and decide it by myself what I want? And I don’t know. It was my untold duty or fore told path to live at my son's house and help him with his life after this but do I want it or do I need to do something else? I didn’t understand the need of this question. The question was unnecessary for me. My choice does not matter for me, why should it? I kept thinking....