When 11-year-old Vyga nursed her mother back to life

Sonia with Vyga. Photo: Special arrangement

It is normal for a mother to take care of her children and inspire them to dream big. However, when a daughter looks after her mother and convinces her to face life positively, it creates an unusual situation. Sonia (35) and Vyga (11) from Thiruvananthapuram share such a unique mother-daughter relationship.

It was following Vyga’s compulsion that Sonia reluctantly fixed her artificial leg and started walking again. Sonia shed tears; but Vyga did not. “Why are you crying? Will your amputated leg grow back? I will never grieve over a leg that you will never get back. You too should not cry. We will be brave and live on,” Vyga told her mother.
The 11-year-old’s words of wisdom struck Sonia. She never expected such thoughts from a child. It was for the first time that Vyga was speaking in this manner.

Sonia was amputated below the right knee and half of her left foot at the age of 35 owing to a rare disease. Initially, Sonia lost all hope about her future after losing mobility of both her legs. She regularly broke down, pondering over her plight.

However, Vyga did not cry. She felt there was no use shedding tears. Instead of grieving over something that was irrevocably lost, we should try to rebuild our lives, she thought.

“I was suffering from extreme pain. I wondered how I would live. Many people advised me to remain confident and lead a normal life. However, it was Vyga’s words that made me think. She told me with a confidence that I had never witnessed earlier, ‘Mother, you have an artificial leg. You have to walk with it, venture outdoors and start working,’’’ said Sonia.

Sonia had a temporary job with the National Health Mission before amputation. When the artificial limb was fixed, Sonia experienced acute pain and could not take even a single step. But, Vyga came to her help and offered support during each step.

At present, the family comprising Sonia, her husband and their two children has overcome all the grief caused by the amputation. Sonia’s husband Sanal Kumar is a carpenter, Vyga studies at Holy Angels’ School in Thiruvananthapuram and her brother Adithyan is a polytechnic student. Happiness returned to the family when Sonia was convinced that her legs, even though artificial, would help support the family. Soon, she received an appointment from the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) as a junior public health nurse. When she submitted her application to PSC, the amputation had not taken place.

Sonia now works in Kannur, where she lives alone and often travels to Thiruvananthapuram to spend time with her loved ones. “My job involves interacting with a lot of people and I have to move around a lot. I can now carry out my duties without much trouble. Whenever I receive leave, I travel by train from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram. I also learnt to ride a scooter and travel short distances on it,” she said.
“At one stage in my life, I felt worthless. But it was Vyga who changed everything,” said Sonia.

Sonia was diagnosed with ‘systemic sclerosis’ a rare disease where the body acts against itself. Initially, she felt a pain in her leg. Subsequently, she couldn’t even move her leg as the blood supply to the limb was blocked. Sonia’s condition soon worsened and she could not walk. She consulted many doctors, but her disease was identified only eight months later.

During the following days, Sonia faced several surgical procedures. Her right toes were amputated, but the pain on her leg only became worse. Meanwhile, she developed severe diabetes. A wound also formed on her leg and doctors said that another amputation was inevitable. Sonia’s right leg was amputated three centimetres below the knee. The front portion of her left foot also was amputated.

Having lost both her feet, Sonia was depressed. Her health too declined. Sonia needed the help of others even to carry out basic requirements. In such a condition, it was Vyga who nursed her mother back to health.

“Everyone says that it is a person's duty to look after their parents. But, when the daughter is just a child, how can you compel her to take care of her mother? But, Vyga nursed me like a mother cares for her daughter. For some days after the surgery, my mother stayed with us. However, when she had to leave over some urgent matters, Vyga said that she would take over,” said Sonia.

“Vyga displayed no reluctance to change my bed pan, clean my wounds and cook food. She did everything that I did earlier in the house,” said Sonia.
“Vyga’s words also inspired me to get back my life,” she added.

Vyga maintained her composure in front of her mother. She never cried or maintained a sad face. But, in school, all her bottled up emotions erupted before her teacher Sheeba Biju. Vyga immersed her face on the shoulders of her teacher and wept.

During a meeting at the school, Vyga stood with all the teachers, who told the other students, “we have a super mom and a daughter who nursed her mother back to life in our school. You should be proud of your friend.”

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