What do you say to Geeta?
Never bend your head.
Always hold it high.
Look the world straight in the eye.
Geeta was unaware of what had happened when she arrived home from school, opened the door and walked apprehensively into her house. She’d heard wails from outside. Upon entering there were men on the right, a few women on the left. Turning slowly, there she was; her mother lying motionless on a cot with a long scarf draped over her face and body.
That day it happened, I visited Geeta. She was ten years old and an only child —very bright and very brave, but very sad. As I entered her house, it was evident that her personal needs were unmet. No one had held her close and let her cry. She sat alone in a room full of people. Women were scarce, those who were there were involved in wailing; her father and uncles sat silently.
The front door was locked from the inside, so her father had been summoned; upon breaking it open, he found Geeta’s mother hanging from the ceiling fan in their small house. Suicide. But why? Her father’s world was turned upside down and he had no idea what to do. How would he raise Geeta by himself?
Geeta’s life was dramatically altered in that instant; her childlike joy left, never to be the same. I understood. It happened to me when I was a child; my mother was murdered. I knew her confusion and grief. We both lost our mothers in a sudden, terrible death.
The enormous difference between Geeta and I was that in my loss, I had no lack of women who wanted to, decided to, and did, mother me. Mothers make all the difference to survival, even if they’re not your birth mother. Lack of love makes orphans. Children find it difficult to receive substitute love for the deep wounds that were inflicted. We all seek love; a human need.
Geeta regrets not knowing “why” her mother left her. She dealt with anger towards her mother for leaving her, she felt grief and bitterness, but finally, healing came as she began to realize her mother was a person with problems, and she wished she could have helped.
Me? I was stubborn and refused to be comforted, even though all my forgiving mothers never gave up on me. I decided the only one who could have stopped my mother’s death was God; I blamed him. I searched the world for love, for truth, for reasons, for answers, for healing balm that to me seemed not to exist. I flew from one side of the world to the other and found no answers, until I realized love is relationship, and that…
Sacrificial, relentless Forgivenes