“Your mother’s sickness shows no signs of improvement. The physician cannot do any more for her. I will go to pray for her passage to the afterlife.”
A faint film of tears covers my father’s gemstone eyes, but he was quick to look away from me as he left the house with his prized copy of The Book of the Dead in hand.
Had he been saying goodbye?
I leap to my feet and find my way on shaky feet to the far alcove in our mud-baked home. Laid beneath some of the finest linen and silk sheets in the land, was my mother, chalk white against the honey coloured covers.
“M-Mother.” I choke and rush to her side, kneeling there and grasping for her hand. She was ice cold in spite of the scorching heat in the hut. She looks up at me, her deep brown eyes somewhat glassy in appearance as she struggles to focus on my face. When she manages to do so, a strained smile forms on her lips as she grasps onto my hand in return.
“N-Nenet.” She wheezed, a feeble cough escaping her lips shortly afterwards. “My sweet girl. It is lovely to see you one more time in this life.”
My bottom lip trembles as I hear these words. So mother believed this too? That she would reunite with us in the immortal lands when father and I also perished? Something about this had a very awful sense of finality about it, and I could not bear to think that this was the last time that-…
“Do not say such things, mother. Come now, where is Pentu? Father said that he called for the physician. He will mix a concoction for you and by morning, you will be back to full health.” I frantically start looking around, at the windows with their linen drapes drawn, at the doorway with its bead curtain quivering. My attention forcibly returned to my mother when she laughed feebly and squeezed my hand.
“This is my end, my child. But do not fret. I have been good in this life, and my heart will weigh lightly on the scales.” Her words were meant to reassure me, I was sure of it, but all they did was concern me further. She was slipping away; her words had been trailing, and her breathing was shallow.
“Mother! Stop this!” I cry at her, shaking her shoulder with one hand while keeping a tight grip on her hand with the other. She smiles weakly, and through her barely parted lips, she whispers one last thing before her heart stopped beating.
“Mr i Tn…”
I love you.
There is nothing magical about death at all.
It is a greedy, malicious force that only takes, and we are expected to find solace in the fact that we shall meet again in the immortal plane.
That is not enough comfort for me.