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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Mum shares experience of losing her children

One mother empathises with what M Indira Gandhi is going through after losing her youngest child eight years ago.
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sad-mumA cold shiver ran down my spine, my stomach was in knots and my knees weak. My heart was pounding, body sweating profusely, hands trembling.
I was gasping for air while my mind raced towards the countless memories I had with both my lovely daughters, Caitlin and Deandra.
As we travelled in the same car, an enormous fear overwhelmed me and I was speechless, realising that it would be the last time I would be with them.
I wanted the seconds to change into minutes and into hours so that I could hear their laughter and listen to them talk, draw them close to my chest, hug and never let them go.
But my body reacted otherwise, trembling violently as we got closer to the departure hall at the KL International Airport.
A deep sense of emptiness took over me, and I felt a sharp pain in my chest like a dagger had pierced it.
“Amma, both Caitlin and Deandra will always love you, ma. You will always be our amma”, they said with a big hug before exchanging kisses and dragging their bags, together with their father, to the immigration counter.
Hearing those words and seeing them walk away, my head started spinning. I felt helpless and I fell down to my knees, with my forehead on the floor, weeping profusely, wondering why this had happened to me.
I could hear the police officers asking me to move but my head and body felt so weak that I could barely stand. After a good three hours, I pulled myself together, gathering whatever strength remaining to walk to the car park. I sat for a while before I started driving back home.
That night, as I threw myself on my bed, my body seemed so heavy while my mind and heart was battling with each other. My brain was like an unmanned video that popped up images with sounds, from the time I had delivered my children to the very moment they bid their goodbyes to me at the airport.
The next eight months, I lay crippled on the kitchen floor or the washroom and sometimes on the bed with no recollection as to how and when I got there. It only left me weeping helplessly as the images and sounds of them both played over and over in my head.
At times, it would be of how I delivered my first daughter Caitlin or the second, when I had a C-section. Their first cry and their first word “ma”. Or how they used to help me bake a cake while sitting on the table, their mouths and napkins smothered with cake batter.
Or the times when I used to chase them around the hall with a towel wrapped around my neck, pretending to be their favourite Marvel comic character — Spiderman — as they giggled and ran around the house.
Or their cries in the middle of the night for milk or a nappy change. Then, when they were slightly grown up, I used to drag them out to the bookstores and buy them large-print books which we read at night.
Or how we used to enjoy an ice-cream or when I slowly started introducing animals and sea creatures to them by bringing them over to Aquaria at KLCC or the zoo.
They were definitely more than children to me. They were my life; the driving force behind anything that I did.
The flashes were endless. This only made me weep throughout the day. I didn’t feel like brushing my teeth or taking a bath or speaking to anyone. I isolated myself and drew the curtains together so that the house was as dark as I felt.
Even the simplest task of getting groceries from a mall petrified me. And whenever I was hungry, I ate whatever I saw, including raw meat. I ate but everything seemed tasteless.
All I wanted was my children to be back in my arms again.
In the ninth month, my condition worsened and I found myself on several occasions thinking of ending my life; making a greater attempt to end my life each time.
That was until one day when I ran up a high fever, cough and flu. I was forced to go out and get medical treatment.
The doctor, a long-time friend of mine, knew the very moment she saw me that something was amiss. After nearly two hours’ of consultation, she referred me to the psychology clinic at University Malaya Medical Centre.
Over there, I received the treatment I needed, with a heavy dose of Prozac and Lorazepam to calm my nerves and to give me a good night’s rest, without the audiovisual playback of my children that I had been experiencing since they left.
As I look back today, I’m grateful I was cured from the major depressive disorder I was suffering back then.
However, as a mother, I occasionally browse through my children’s Facebook accounts to see how far they’ve grown since 2008.
But I deeply sympathise with M Indira Gandhi who has been separated from her youngest child for the past eight years. For I too lost both my children when my marriage was dissolved at the civil court.
However, in my case, it only took a couple of months as both my children did not want to live with me any longer when I converted to Islam. They were stricken with fear from the untruths my other half had told them.
As for Indira, her husband, K Pathmanathan, converted to Islam on March 11, 2009, taking the name Muhammad Riduan Abdullah.
He converted their three children without her consent. Two of her children, a daughter, now aged 20, and a son, aged 19, chose to stay with their mother.
The father took away the youngest when she was just 11 months old. The location of the nine-year-old is still unknown.
Nurul Ain Huda is a journalist with FMT.

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