Hello and goodbye, mama…

There are five stages of mourning. Denial is one of them. I think I skipped that phase conveniently. It was either that or I had already worked through it unconsciously in the last few years. Be that as it may, I believed Christine (My Roots) directly on her word when she called me. It was the most implausible story I had ever heard. And yet I didn’t doubt for a moment if it was true.

My phone rang this afternoon, promptly at 3 pm. Exactly as Christine had announced in an e-mail earlier. ‘We’ve got news concerning your quest.’ A week earlier, on 25 February, My Roots had sent a local guide (Teguh) from Surabaya to Magelang to search for my family.

I knew My Roots had speeded up the search, but I didn’t expect to get breaking news this soon.

“Teguh has visited two addresses where a Marwiyah is registered,” Christine said. Marwiyah is the name of my mother. “The first Marwiyah he visited was a woman who claimed to never have given up a child for adoption.” And so Teguh had moved on to the second address. Incredible how much you can do with only a first name, I thought. There were only a few known facts. My place of birth and the name Marwiyah, who was said to be my mother. And yet this minimal piece of information appeared to be just enough. “Because,” as Christine continued, “the second Marwiyah… she was your mother.”

For a brief moment I had a mother. The woman who gave me life … There she was! She existed. Such a bizarre feeling. Did she wanna see me? How had she reacted? And … and …

I didn’t get a lot of time to immerse myself in this incredible feeling however. “I’m so sorry to have to tell you,” I heard Christine say, “but your mother had died, six days before Teguh came to Magelang. She died in a hospital.” High blood pressure, stroke, fallen in the bathroom … I registered Christine’s words, but my brain could not immediately indicate their meaning. The only thing running through my mind was ‘six days ‘. Six.

Then it everything went black.

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