Journal entries

I’d be working, or watching a video or writing or reading. I’d put it away and sit up and suddenly it would be as if I am looking straight into my mother’s  smiling face.

I can’t tell you what it is like to miss her.

Wasn’t she just here? I swear she was.

Some days I could rip my hair out wanting to tell her something. Wanting *only* to tell her. So I end up telling lots of people or no one at all, my thoughts and my sadness hidden deep in my heart for I can’t seem to find that comfort no matter where it is I look, no matter who it is I talk to.

Some days are harder than others aren’t they?

 

Loss.

It’s been five months since my mother’s passing.

Losing a loved one is hard. Too hard. The first three months I felt like I was having a constant high fever. Towards evening, my head would get heavy, my breathing shallow, I would have to fight wanting sleep. Losing the person who birthed you, it’s nothing like anything I had ever felt before. Being ripped apart from her, the sudden loss, the peek I got into the abyss of loneliness, I hope you never have to feel that way.

My heart remains broken.

While that is so, I enjoy all the little things a little bit more. I don’t do the things I don’t much like anymore. I relish the time I spend on the roof top with the dogs and the plants, watching the sunset, imagining my mother enjoying the same things. I babysit my nephew with my husband and hear him laugh and think of how his laughter always made my mother’s face light up.

I sit in front her picture in the mornings and send her good thoughts. I will only ever look at her through rainbows in my eyes and a smile on my lips. Not that it doesn’t break my heart,  yet it is what it is, and I am here and this is all I have.

 

 

32

I turned 32 yesterday.

Life goes on. On and on and on. I do an OK job of turning up at work, keeping my appointments, seeing (some) people, making conversation. heh.

Existence has always been a bit bothersome. I’ve always had a foot in melancholia.

So here we are. 32. And perfectly comfortable in a certain kind of sadness. A certain type of gloom. A depth defying sorrow. I get up and go about , looking at existing, and some days , I swear, it feels like an out of body experience.

Someone at work blow-dries my hair, I wear a new dress, put on eyeliner. I look at all of it and I know I am here. Here. Proof. I have pictures. I went somewhere yesterday, I had lunch with my darling nephew today. My father and I made sandwiches for dinner.

This is where I truly belong.

Being parentless is extremely hard. Being without my mother, the person she was, the person she was to me, the person who without fail stood up for me at every turn, the person who loved me endlessly, who always came forward to  wipe my tears, to look at me with nothing less than kindness and love; losing her has opened up an abyss of emptiness for me.

And so. Here we are. Another birthday come and gone. How strange is life. How strange is it that I should be here, feeling all this , living this life?

Sweety.

Sweety died she died so hard
She shook the ground in my back yard
We lowered her down with a golden chain
And every link we called her name

Bye bye Swee, You good dog you
Bye bye Swee
You good dog you.
-Adapted from an old folk song-

 

Sweety was a gentle dog, a good dog. But mostly, she was a friend. She dominated the second decade of my life. We loved her , but she loved us more. Who can tell if I could have made it through life without her. I certainly couldn’t.

I think fondly of all of my memories with her, the time we lived at the Summit Flats, when she would lounge by the window by the stairs. And I would read and drink tea, leaning on her tummy, sitting on a step or two below her. She would look at the butterflies and when the wind came up, she would sigh contently.

In the evenings, she would take herself to the nearby school playground, and play with a dozen other neighborhood dogs. When I walked back home from work, she would see me from afar, and jog along the fence from inside the playground. At the gate, she would swiftly climb under it and we’d go home , she jumping all over me , dancing around me, and me laughing and wondering if I seem a bit mad.

The neighborhood loved her. If I happen to come home early from work, I would find her playing with a soldier from the camp next door and she would look at me guiltily, but she wouldn’t come home until it was time for the soldier to go away. Hrrrmph. I would say when she finally made her appearance.

She would wake up with my father, go downstairs and wait with him  while he cooked. While she waited by the kitchen door, she learned to grow a grudge on some pretty weird effin crows , who took it their hearts to torment her by sitting on the trees behind the kitchen, then flying low over Sweety’s head and going back up to their posts. Sweety hated this. She would wait silently , until they came close enough and would snap snap snap but her sparkly eyes gave her away. She took this to be play.

She was also spoiled. My father made her meals seperately and she hated it if anyone else attempted to make her meals. She would starve herself for a couple of days , if he had to be away and someone else took care of her. She would also sleep in his bed , while he was gone.

For such a cutie, she had such ugly boyfriends. I would hear my father scolding her about it in the mornings. He would wonder outloud where she was all this time and that he was  not happy with her choice of boyfriends. So ugly. He would say. I would say she had a type. Missing ears, wobbly legs, patches of fur gone. The more run down looking, the better she loved them. She even kept this one boyfriend for a long many years before she dumped him for someone far less appealing.

She had a best friend next door who was  a big German Shepherd who was about three times bigger. They would play in the sand for hours on end, having such a ball ! When Sweety once tried to slip through a barbed wire fence to go to the camp side, she was badly scratched on her back and it was the German Shepherd’s owners who took her in and dressed her wounds.

Once at my mother’s house, which she loved for all the space it provided for her roam around in, she went sniffing through the woods behind the house and alarmed a porcupine. She came home with a few darts in her neck, passed out and my father cancelled his day to take care of her. He cancelled our christmas, for the first time in his life, when she was taken seriously ill a couple of years ago.

Long years ago, nursing a broken heart late at night, I would stay up and she stayed up with me nuzzling my neck and licking my face.

We trained her to travel long distance since we travelled back home quite a bit and she always travelled in my lap so that she wouldn’t get car sick. At the vet, she would hide her face in my shoulder and stay there till the good doctors were done with what they had to do.

She was a good dog and we loved her. From the first day, when she licked my face at first sight, to her very last, she loved us more. I miss her immensely, there is a Sweety shaped hole now in my heart. I don’t know if I could ever fill it.

Isn’t it strange how we are made up of the people we love, the pets who take away our loneliness, the gardens we walked in? Now some of the people we loved are gone and in their places are only these memories. And that’s ok. Grief and loneliness are not something we are meant to get over. They just reshape us , we morph into different creatures , we go on, our sadness now a permanent part of ourselves. I accept this.

I feel as if my soul had to stretch on to accomodate all the pain. If my mother, and then my bestest dog Swee, had to teach me one thing, it was to love and love anyway, despite how others may see you or treat you. I’ll try to remember this.

If there is such a thing as heaven, my mother must now have company. I imagine my mum and my dog walking on the golden shores together, smiling happily, while calm waters lap silently at their feet. I imagine locks of my mother’s soft curly hair , ruffled by the wind, she would pat them away the way she always did, while Sweety would squint her eyes at the wind and grin which she always did whenever the wind came up.

Rest in peace.img_20160703_101104.

 

 

 

The letter

My mother wrote me a letter last November , for my birthday.

The day it arrived, I was going to the mall with one of the very few friends I made in Jersey City. I grabbed my mail and exit the building from the back door while my friend watched me quizzically. Why did you use the backdoor?  He asked. The mailbox is at the back, I told him. I read the letter sitting in his car, then in the mall, sitting on a bench in the lobby. I watched as a young mother and her squealing toddler played hide and seek. My friend had a haircut. When he was done, we walked around in East Meets West and he bought incense. When he left , I went back to my bench and read the letter again.

She wrote beautifully. She ended the letter wishing me and Darling all the best in everything we do.

When we left Jersey City, I packed all my books and postcards and letters in the shipping boxes, the letter, in one of them.

We came back, a month later amma died and another month later, the boxes arrived and in it, the letter. Her voice echoed in my ears once more. It was as if I found her again, even though I can never have her back.

“No matter what happens in your life, do not lose courage.” she wrote.

Funny you should say that ma. I want to tell her. She would have grinned. I’d love to give into despair especially since you’ve been gone and life feels like a long nightmare. She would’ve crunched up her face before saying “oh but you can do this” .

Oh ma.

I wish she was here. But I have this letter and even though it could never be the same thing , I have her words and I hold onto them for dear life.

In my longest, darkest days, let them light the way.

The way she loved me.

I miss the way my mother used to smile. I haven’t been out all that often since of late, but whenever I met someone and their mother, I felt like I was searching for my own mother in them. Traces of kindness, friendship, love, empathy. So much empathy.

Do you think all mothers are created equal? I once asked her , after I had been snubbed for being an outsider, by a friend’s mum. People are vastly different from one another putha. She said. But all mothers love the same way. I remember not being particularly pacified , but her words managed to make an impression on me ; that she was able to look above someone’s meanness. This seems to have been a recurring theme in her life. I have been stung by the prejudices of other people just as many times as I have been stung by my own, and it was her words that helped me when I had to face people who didn’t seem to quite like me. I could take a deep breath and remind myself that these people deserved my kindness, if not for their attitude towards me but because maybe they were able to love other people the way my mother loved us.

If you have ever been kind to me, please know that I’ve thought of your kindness in likeness to some of the ways my mother was kind to me. Should I ever do anything for you, be it something as small and as simple as making you a cup of tea, please know that I am trying to pass on the light my mother gave me.

I miss her. I miss her presence, I miss the whole of her. This void is limitless. Her smile, her cool skin ( which was always a wonder to me as my own skin has been compared to a coal oven ) , the drops of water on her shoulders after a bath, her big belly laugh.. But I try not to miss her love.

Her love, is eternal.

Weeks 17, 18, 19

Must. Upload. Pics. So. Meh.

113/365 23/04/2014 Making of the practice kimono

113/365
23/04/2014
Making of the practice kimono

114/365 24/04/2014 Aaaand it's complete!

114/365
24/04/2014
Aaaand it’s complete!

115/365 25/04/2014 In the Matara rest house waiting .

115/365
25/04/2014
In the Matara rest house, waiting .

116/365 26/04/2014 Picking things from the garden always makes me feel grand!

116/365
26/04/2014
Picking things from the garden always makes me feel grand!

117/365 27/04/2014 On our way home from Makandura. I can never get enough.

117/365
27/04/2014
On our way home from Makandura. I can never get enough.

118/365 28/04/2014 Amma's pretty scrap fabrics

118/365
28/04/2014
Amma’s pretty scrap fabrics

119/365 29/04/2014 DIY shorts from scrap fabric. God knows I need more comfy shorts .

119/365
29/04/2014
DIY shorts from scrap fabric. God knows I need more comfy shorts .

120/365 30/04/2014 Four and a tradition.

120/365
30/04/2014
Four and a tradition.

121/365 01/05/2014 A birthday feast for husband!

121/365
01/05/2014
A birthday feast for husband!

122/365 02/05/2014 The boys are getting a bit obsessed.

122/365
02/05/2014
The boys are getting a bit obsessed.

123/365 03/05/2014 The Jedi at home needs a DIY.

123/365
03/05/2014
The Jedi at home needs a DIY.

124/365 04/05/2014 Mango season !

124/365
04/05/2014
Mango season !

125/365 05/05/2014 From dress to skirt ! One more DIY complete

125/365
05/05/2014
From dress to skirt ! One more DIY complete

126/365 06/05/2014 From trash to couture.

126/365
06/05/2014
From trash to couture.

127/365 07/05/2014 My father sends my favorite breakfast ! yay !!

127/365
07/05/2014
My father sends my favorite breakfast ! yay !!

128/365 08/05/2014 Rain oh beautiful rain !

128/365
08/05/2014
Rain oh beautiful rain !

129/365 09/05/2014 My semi charmed life.

129/365
09/05/2014
My semi charmed life.

130/365 10/05/2014 Long day , long day.

130/365
10/05/2014
Long day , good day. 

131/365 11/05/2014 The neighborhood boys are doing there thing for Wesak.

131/365
11/05/2014
The neighborhood boys are doing there thing for Wesak.

132/365 12/05/2014 Selfie time with Seth.

132/365
12/05/2014
Selfie time with Seth.

133/365 13/05/2014 Malli's version of Snakes and Ladders

133/365
13/05/2014
Malli’s version of Snakes and Ladders