We had always been a family of five from as as long as I could remember. I was the youngest with two older siblings and our parents.
Looking back on it, I think the bonds we shared were deep and intimate. How I only wish I could have seen it back then!
You know what they say, you can't estimate the true worth of something until you start to lose it.
Back then, I was rich in terms of family. I had endless love and care. The small happy moments that painted the majority of my childhood, I was luxurious with those. Most importantly, I had my Ammi.
Every morning I could see her face. The mere sight of which was a comfort to behold. I would tell her anecdotes from my class and hear her soft laugh, the sound was like wind chimes sweetly clinking in the light breeze.
I would lay my head on her lap, and she would pat it with a smile. Her hands were so full of warmth and life. But just like every ember burns itself out, that warmth was about to run out and her life was soon to be extinguished.
If I close my eyes, I can still picture her smile, bright and sunny, like a sunflower, and the dimple on her chin that accompanied it. It's wierd how it once was one of the most treasured things in life for me, and now it's mere memory is enough to flood my eyes, because I won't ever get to see it again.
Everything used to be perfect. Sure I had problems, but they were so mundane and innocuous.
The worst part about it, I cannot remember a single time when I wasn't complaining to my parents. Sometimes it was the chores, sometimes my grades, or their nagging interference in my life, or the fact that they favoured my sister over me. Focusing on these little inconsequential details, I never showed them the gratitude they deserved.
Until one day, it happened. It started with a little fever, which turned into pneumonia, and then eventually into cancer. The next four years of my life happened in a blur of continuously flipping images of hospitals and painful tears. And also the constant crippling fear of the worse, which in this case was inevitable, and we all knew it deep down but were too afraid to admit.
Then at last the day came. The doctors said that more than half of her lungs had stopped functioning. She didn't last even four hours after that. My father, the strongest of us, was a mess.
We could feel the vacancy of her presence for months to come. We specially didn't talk about her in front of our father. Eventually, when we couldn't bear to see him like an empty shell anymore, we urged him ourselves to find someone new.
Things began to change when Abba got married again. She had two kids of her own, who moved in with us. Unlike everyone else, I didn't welcome the change. I couldn't speak for my siblings, but I wasn't living, just surviving.
I had to share my room with strangers, and now I had people surrounding me whom I had to answer for my actions. The hardest part was to see someone else in my Ammi's place.
I would weep everytime the realisation hit me that there was no going back.
I would go to school, talk to my friends, and as soon I'd get home, I'll lose myself in a good book or TV show, but the moment I returned to my life, the lump in my throat would regrow.
Time is the best healer, they say. And in my case, it was the only way to heal. I began to realize things weren't as bad as I imagined them to be.
Two years flew by, and as the passage of time continues to flow, my mind is incapable of keeping store of the pain.
When once the thoughts of Ammi were enough to flare up the undisturbed corners of my heart with longing and frustration, now her image in my inner eye is just a memory.
Don't get me wrong, it still hurts. Occasionally, it would be unbearable too, but time has mostly healed the wounds in our hearts, and made us move on.
I've even started getting along with the my new members of my family, and their habits and flaws, which I had a problem with even grew on me. Pretty soon, I couldn't imagine living without them. It's almost like they were always a part of my life.
My entire life was disrupted when Ammi died. I thought I could never get normal again, but I soon learned that the past isn't necessary the only normal I could know. It was only a matter of acceptance.