Friday, February 24, 2017

things I figured out when my mother died – how to get paperwork organised if the death occurred at home

While you and your family/friends may be able to easily TELL that your loved one is dead, remember that we live in a world highly affected by documentitis and it is therefore prudent to organise a document declaring death.
I recommend calling a doctor as soon as possible – try to do this within the first 15 minutes. Request him/her to come over to your house along with their letterhead and seal to write out a statement of death.

I say first 15 minutes because bodies tend to decompose pretty steadily and you may want to begin preserving your loved one’s body in a refrigeration unit as soon as possible. I also say first 15 minutes because when you realise a person is dead, emotions run high and /or a complete numb shock may take over and you just sometimes need a few minutes to grieve.

When the doctor arrives, he/she will need to check the person before pronouncing them as dead. Once the person is declared dead, the doctor will proceed to write out a statement on the letterhead. You may be required to supply details such as name of the dead person, their date of birth, name of parents and/or spouse, house address,  approximate time of death and nature of illness (if any). You may not necessarily know all these details - that's fine, just do your best to give as much correct information as possible.

In India, this statement of death given by the doctor is one of the things you will be required to submit when applying for a formal death certificate, which is issued by municipal authorities. Note that if your loved one passes away in a hospital, the hospital will issue a death summary that you should submit.   I will write a separate post explaining the procedure for obtaining a formal death certificate.

I hope this has helped you. I would be happy to edit and update this post - let me know in the comments section if I have missed out any crucial information. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The day my mother died, there was a moment in which she was lying on her bed, connected to the ventilator and my dad and I were with her. My dad was undergoing dialysis, I was administrating it for him. It was just the three of us in the bedroom. Like it used to be, several years ago.

The same three people.

So much change.

It felt surreal.

Friday, February 10, 2017


A few weeks before my mother died, I lent her a pair of socks, which she wore until she went to the hospital for the very last time. I found them the other day and put them in the wash. I’m wearing them today and I feel like somehow the more I wear them, the less of her will remain inside them.


But I’m now greedy about these socks, I feel like they are the pair my mother and I share. I want to wear them and yet I don't. I don't want them to tear. But they're just socks, and they were a gift from a man who is now .... well.

Sigh. They're just socks. In all likelihood, one of them is going to disappear into the black hole of our washing machine. The end is predictable.  

Sometimes I wish emotional associations were just as straightforward.