27 February, 2021

Farewell Notes

Calcutta sang a dirge like no other when Mother passed away

Mother Teresa’s funeral procession in Calcutta
Photograph by Getty Images
Farewell Notes

I was all of sixteen and a fresh entrant into St. Xavier’s College when the news of Mother Ter­esa’s death began to spread through the streets of Calcutta like wildfire. I clearly remember running the one-and-a-half kilometres that separate my house from Mother House to verify if the news was true. A crowd that was growing by the minute was outside Mother House and someone had hung a framed picture of Mother Teresa and had put a garland around it. That image of Mother’s picture, with a garland draping it, was the only verification that I probably needed. “That’s it, she is no more!” my mind and heart mourned. I took a rather meandering path home to cope with this enormous feeling of grief that was bubbling inside.

Since my earliest memories, Mother Teresa was a ‘constant’—an anchor figure held by my family and eventually me as the gold standard of compassion and care. And now, suddenly, she was no more! Reaching home, I found my mother waiting anxiously for me. I thought I would be reprimanded for being away from...

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