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December 21, 2013

The Last Visit – The Great Mamey Rinchen

It was around 9:00 P.M when we reach at Mamey's house. I rang the doorbell, nobody opened  the door, I called my sister (Drayang Lhamo) at Nganglam to make a phone call to Aum Thungsi, (Since I didn’t have a phone number) and told her that I at the door. Aum Thungsi was in a deep sleep because she hasn't slept previous night as she was taking care of Mamey.
With The Great Mamey at Deothang
It's unusual, that our Mamey, sleeps at that early hour,  we knocked the  door of Mamey's room for several minutes and finally the caretaker opened it. Mamey too woke up, but didn't rise from bed. The strange thing he didn't utter a word like before. I was informed earlier by Aum Thungsi, Mamey has become so fragile that he is unable to recognize people and talk less.  And he was not eating any solid food, so they fed him thukpa and other juices. "Mamey", I said, "do you recognize us?" but in a low voice Mamey replied, "how is Sherab Dema's daughter?". At that moment tears flooded in my eyes. I got a feeling Mamey needs rest, so we went to bed.
There was a time, even before a call of roster and sound of alarm could be heard, Mamey used to wake early and chant his daily prayer. As far as I remember, he used to recite lungtaag. The prayer and the sound of his bell could be heard till the name of last family member were included. I can hardly remember the last prayer and bell I heard, because it's been a couple of years staying away from Mamey, in between we visited him. The time has passed so fast.
Next morning, neither the echo of prayer nor the sound of a bell is heard. I might have been in deep sleep, because it takes me tiresomely two to three hour drive to reach Mamey's house from where I reside now.  When I looked at a clock on the wall, it was past eight. Aum Thungsi and caregiver had prepared thukpa for him, my wife then fed. After breakfast was over, I peeled citrus (orange), the caregiver sliced the apple and we fed Mamey simultaneously.
In this instance, I realize, a father, once young and strong who raised three children of his own without a mother has grown so old and weak. A grandfather, whose hand had reached every grand child's mouth, now needs other to feed him. A mentor, who taught to do good, to sew, to work and to rise early from bed, now lies bedridden due to ailing age. I still remember how Mamey would take us to the river bank to pave and clear a footpath. If you clear pathway, no obstacle will befall on you way, is the assurance Mamey use to give us while clearing the footpath.
Ngagi Wangchuk, Self, Drayang Lhamo, Yangchen Tshomo, Sherab Dema, Mamey, Ana Pema yangchen
The time has come for us to leave, I went to Mamey's room to say that we are leaving. I handed few money to him, though weak and fragile, with some help Mamey rose and sat in bed, uttered few words. This time Mamey clearly recognize us. Then I said, “Mamey we will come back next week”. This was the last time we saw and talked to Mamey.
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