You know those old grumpy ladies who give you mean looks and appear as if they could eat children for breakfast? That could be me in another twenty to thirty years. The young mothers pity you, children fear you. Your face would be starring in all negative roles of old wives tales in the minds of children. You’ll be essentially the witch down the lane.

And on the outset, let me tell you this- I didn’t plan on it. I’m no spinster. I’m not barren. I’m just a mother who lost her only child. My son, my blood, my world. When you longed for a child oh so long and finally you have one, the happiness is beyond compare. If you saw me five years before, I was rather exuberant. A new mother, good wife and moreover a happy woman. 

Tragedy has poor timing. Just like all the other times. I’m not asking why me or what I did wrong. But I lost my son to the fate that came in the form of cancer. Leukemia. Such a beautiful name for something so disastrous. The worst part is that I had to see my little boy going through all that – the chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, those vile medications, loss of appetite, hair fall and the light in his eyes slowly faded. And I had to watch all that.

Now I know why them women who lost their children tell you that to see your child taken to grave is the worst thing a mother can ever witness. It breaks you unlike anything. When a woman becomes a mother, priorities shift to the child than her role as a wife. Now with the ailment in scene, my marriage was in shambles. I locked myself away. And I lost the one person who vowed to stay with me throughout. No. I don’t blame him. I was too much to handle and he didn’t deserve to be locked out of my heart. 

Even now when I see little children play around, I sense him, my boy. The womb that carried him for nine months pulsate every time I think of him. Its like a phantom limb but not exactly. I still feel him inside me, like a phantom foetus. I don’t even think the term is quite right, but that sums up how I feel. So I steel my face to stop tears falling down. My heart skips a beat when a child calls out to its mother. I’m shattered on the inside and stuck on this loop. Its like a broken record playing the same track again. 

I was just watching The Silence of Lambs again this Sunday. One question from Dr. Hannibal Lecter to Senator Ruth Martin just made me think. 

“Tell me, mum, when your little girl is on the slab, where will it tickle you?”
I think it will be deep in the lower abdomen. Just where they floated in your womb. And it will stab you through, not tickle, that phantom foetus….


Pascal Campion. His illustrations are amazing. Check them out!