It had been the longest day of her life. Riya was resting. But a mix of emotions running inside didn’t allow her to sleep, even though her eyes were shut. Instead, she found herself walking down the memory lane to a particular afternoon when she was five, to the last memory of her mother.
Riya could recall the moments vividly, as if they had occurred only yesterday. She remembered sitting next to her mother, looking at her, puzzled, trying to discern what she was saying. She remembered being confused, as she could not understand what her mother was telling her. “Be a strong and caring woman. And remember I will always love you,” her mother had whispered to her. She had gently stroked Riya’s forehead, kissed her, and had gone to sleep, never to wake up again.
The following years had been difficult for Riya to come to terms with reality. Little had she known that her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It had been an uphill battle for her mother to go through painful chemo sessions, take heavy medications, and suffer from chronic body aches. She had fought her prognosis for as long as she could, unwilling to give up without a fight.
While Riya was reliving her mother’s last moments, a familiar voice woke her up. The nurse had returned, and so had her father and husband. They stood by her bedside, looking happy and relieved. They had had a scare when the doctors told them Riya had a nuchal cord and she needed a C-section. But Riya had remained strong. Her mother’s strong will to live had taught her never to give up, no matter the circumstances.
Riya had been brave throughout the surgery, and her reward now awaited her in the nurse’s arms. The moment Riya took the little bundle of joy in her own arms, she knew what she wanted to name her baby. Avanti. After her own mother. As she cradled the little Avanti in her arms, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. Tears of joy rolled down Riya’s cheeks, as she gently stroked her baby’s head. She kissed her, and whispered, “I will always love you.”