Sunday September 30, 2012
Rock solid support
Some things should never change, like the confidence and love to hold tight to another in stormy times.
EVERYONE talks about how their mothers have changed their lives for the better. Well, it’s not the case with me. Because of my mum, things have never changed for me.
I remember how mum used to wake up at odd hours in the morning to operate our food stall. It was definitely not a job you’d envy. But through sweat, pain, dedication and sheer hard work, Amma managed to put her children through university.
After my university and post-graduate days, getting a corporate job was fun as it allowed me to explore lots of things. Then wedding bells rang.
But marriage was not the easiest phase in my life. Why? Well, if you are blessed with a mentally-challenged wife and, worse, in-laws who live in denial, life is certainly no bed of roses.
I remember the early days when I used to find it so hard to come to terms with my wife’s erratic behaviour. “Erratic” can be as mild as waking up in the middle of the night and crying for no reason, to attempting suicide on several occasions.
I used to Google and read up on the various disorders, to try find out what the real problem was. Was it bipolar or paranoia? The fact that my wife’s family belongs to the “medical fraternity” is of no help. I remember telling them my concerns and they’d reply using the same clichéd line: “You are not a clinician, so don’t diagnose!”
Well, I sleep with this person and I think that is sufficient for me to know what’s wrong. To cut a long story short, I’ve been accused of wife-battering, scheming to sabotage my wife’s life, and marrying with a motive or just for the property. I heard all this from my “supportive” in-laws.
Friends who have stood by me told me to move on. “You’re battling a losing war,” they said. Their constant advice made a lot sense: I’m still young, it’s been a painful four years and things have not gotten any better. I’ve sought professional help and the advice is the same – move on!
What is holding me back? It’s the good values my Amma had inculcated in me.
Many a time, on the brink of giving up, I’d call mum and she would always tell me that my wife needs me the most. Amma said: “She behaves in that manner because she has no insight to her problem and does not have the ability to rationalise things.”
Amma saw me hit rock bottom when my wife was in the institution and gave me the confidence to accept her with open arms when she was discharged.
My wife had said negative things to my family, but mum always dismissed that and believes that if she is showered with lots of love, she will come out fine from the “cocoon” she is in.
Mum is not highly educated and many people may say my wife may not come out at all, but I believe in my Amma. It’s her unconditional love for me that makes me try hard every day to win this battle. I am used to people asking me at functions: “Why isn’t your wife here?” I know how the grapevine works, but it’s okay.
Amma is the best and she gives me the best. And it is this same best quality that I wish to give my wife so she will shower my little boy with the same love one day – the kind I had as a child from my mother.
Amma has opened my eyes in many ways. She made me realise that a relationship is not about just cherishing good things and moving on when hardship comes. I know my mother-in-law would beg to differ as she did a “great” job as a mother. When the storm came and it was too hard to handle, she disowned my wife – her child.
It didn’t help my wife to know her family had disowned her, but over time I’m sure she will realise there are good and bad people in the world.
Sometimes, I just wish people would stop caring about what society says. We don’t plan to have children for society’s sake, so it really doesn’t matter if the neighbour or your relatives think your child is different. As a family, we have roles to play, to be there to hold the ones with challenges by the hand and take them through it all.
I know it pains you to see your little baby suffer this way, Amma, but I want you to know that I could not have done it without your love and support. I want my boy to have the same love that you gave me.
On my worst days, you always tell me that God has put me in this situation for a reason, and I truly believe that. So it doesn’t matter what people think or say because this is my battle and I will have to fight it.
Some things don’t change, Amma – the values and principles you have taught me. And one thing will most definitely never change – you will always be the queen of my heart and every day, I pray that God will make you strong and healthy because you must be there to see me win this war!