Remembering my Chuti Aththamma
Mage Chuti Atthamma — literal translation : My tiny/little grandmother and we called her Chuti Atthamma because she really was tiny.
Typically you feel grateful for your grandparents for giving wonderful parents. And for me I was also grateful for the fact that she was my grandmother, so I was also grateful for my mother for giving this lady as my grandmother. (I am not sure if that makes sense - but yeah that’s how I feel. Because as Buddhists there is a belief that we pick our parents when we enter into the lives of a family and that it also depends on karma.)
This lady is just one of a kind and she reached my heart like no one else had. She never hurt my feelings once or in other words I have never had felt any slightest negative feeling because of her. She was simply a ray of sunshine to me and to everyone around her. I did not know if that was even possible — because typically you do end up hurting the feelings of your loved ones intentionally or unintentionally, even just a bit.
This lady is one whom I thought would easily stay for 120+ years because she was such a healthy person. And one whom I wished would live long each time I visited her and each time I prayed. But no one could withstand the impermanency of life. She slowly withered from physical and emotional challenges during her last stages.
She was outgoing, smart, witty, funny, doesn’t take things too seriously, enjoyed life , innocent but also sassy, and did a lot of good deeds. She had this amazing personality and she didn’t lose it once, even when she had amnesia. She loved my father — her son in law, probably more than he loved her. She is one person who could come up with such great witty come-backs when he teases or jokes. I wish I had written in a diary about these interactions and her witty remarks — but unfortunately I have not.
There was no one like her, her qualities and her personality did not entirely pass to her seven children. I feel my mother and an uncle captured an essence but not all of it. Simply because she was extraordinary. Had she been in our generation she would have achieved so much and won so many hearts.
During last days, there was one time she lost her memory a bit that she did not remember us. Some aunt and my mother was asking
‘ amme, kawda meh kyala anduranawada?’ // Mom, do you know who this is?
pointing at me and nangi.. and she was looking at us and smiling.. and after that question she gave this helpless and desperate look. Our hearts sank. Both nangi (sis) and I were screaming at amma and aunt.
& not to ask a question like that. It sounds dramatic but that’s exactly what happened. Then that aunt explained that we are daughters of Manel (Manel means Lotus; Manel is my mom’s nickname) and then her face lit up and instantly she replied saying,
“Ahh.. eka thamai mama baluwe mokada meh manel mal pusumba kyala”// Ahh.. so that’s why I wondered why I felt the scent of lotus flowers.
such an amazing flattering reply. It was like she made sure she won’t hurt our feelings because she did not remember us (her grand daughters) — though she remembered her children very well.
She was amazing and caring even during times she lost her memory and couldn’t walk (because she had a fall). She was always like
“ aneh, meh daruwonta veralu tiakak ahindala denna yang” // Aww, let me find some Veralu( Jalpai/Ceylon Olives : fruit similar to olives) for these kids.
and she tries to get up. Because she always goes and gets us and any kid who visits them, bags of ‘Ceylon olives’ from their tree.
She is an amazing loving person who lit up everyone’s lives. Although some failed to see her value at the end.
She was one person who never failed to make me happy. Someone who makes great jokes but never hurts anyone from the jokes. With so much of patience and so so much of love to give. Her smile, her laugh, her kisses, her love.. all so genuine.
Her passing away was one time I felt that my heart broke in to pieces. I secretly cried for days. Felt depressed for months. I have been missing her for five years now, and I know I am not the only one. I was blessed to be her grand daughter, probably from really good karma I had done in a past life.
Even though the heart aches that we aren’t going to receive or show her the same love anymore, I wish that she would be in a better place now and that she would soon attain the supreme bliss of nibbana. Holding back my greed to see her in my next my life — if any.
Hug your favourite people a little tighter today (or whenever possible) for me…