Raisin Rapture 892

mum-make-up-bag-high-resDear Mom,

Sorry I haven’t written in awhile. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve been holding a lot of guilt again over things that I think I didn’t do for you. And I’m finding it hard to let go of that.

I still say my daily morning prayer for you, and my “What should we do today?” questions during the day. I haven’t missed a day yet. It has become such a habit, that I could probably say it in my sleep now. And actually, I often do. Definitely the prayer part as I say it as soon as I get up.

But I’m trying to find other ways to connect with you and what you went through and even what I missed of you when you were here.

One of those was your daily routine- especially of getting ready and you know, brushing your teeth, and your hair. I know you liked putting on some hairspray, and doing a little back comb in your hair to give it a little body. I still actually have that hairspray of yours. It has lasted this long because I rarely use it. But I like that it’s in front of me, and I can spray a little here or there from time to time.

And I know that you loved putting on lipstick, and that you loved it when I had it on.

I always feel like my lips are so thin, and lipstick rarely stays on my lips. And when it does, I don’t even know if it can really be seen. But guess what I kept of yours? And am using very often? The last lipstick that you were using.

It’s such a beautiful colour, and I can just imagine it on you. It’s called Raisin Rapture. It’s colour number 892 in the L’Oreal Colour Riche collection, I guess. That’s what it says on the bottom of the canister it’s it.

The first time I put it on, I was nervous. I didn’t know if it was going to make me sad, or make me feel guilty, or make we wish that I had treasured or made more lipstick type moments happen with you more. I think I went through all of those feelings, and still do when I wear this colour. But I also imagine what you were doing, where you were going, and what you may have been thinking about when you would put on the lipstick.

Were you heading to an event at Khane? Were you coming out to meet us for a family gathering? Would you look at your face and think about how time has changed it? I know I do that sometimes. Or were you just seeing if the colour matched your outfit? Or trying to find what top would best match the lipstick?

I miss your features like your lips, and nose, and smooth skin and deep eyes. I miss the softness of your hair and the baby powder scent that came off of you even in your 70’s.

I miss the voice and words that fell from your lips, and the way your words, and even your silences, could touch me like no one else’s could nor every will.

I’m sorry I didn’t take more time to sit and listen to the words, or sit in silence with you. I am sorry that I didn’t ask you more questions about you, and take more notice of your lipstick colours, or find out what colours you loved the most- not just in make up, but in the world around you.

My mom made my world the most colourful that it could ever be. I didn’t know just how much that was true until she was gone.

I am always searching for your colours somehow. Not to replace you because that could never happen. But in hopes that you are bringing me signs that you are still here with me, in another way, in other forms. And that you are doing well where you are. That you are in utter joy and peace.
That’s what I want the most for you. For you to be surrounded by colour and caring and compassion like the kind you showered us with for so long.

I guess I keep your lipstick, and put it across my lips, to feel some of my mother’s colour and kiss touch my face. It’s like wearing a bit of you when I go out into the world.

I felt a little like you the first time I put on your lipstick. I hope it was you giving me a smile, blowing me a kiss, or a wink of approval.

Dear India

Hi Mom,

So I am  a bit behind on this 21 Days of Abundance thing now, but how can you really be behind when it comes to abundance right?

I’m on Day 18 and the theme is Live in Unity.

The Assignment is to write a letter to your country of origin. In this letter, I am to express all my feelings about the country, remembering that all of my feelings are valid and approrpriate. I am to write everything that arises, it says.

I thought I would share this with you, Mom for a few reasons:

  1. We never really talked about India in particular, and I know you wanted to go see it. And I have never seen it.
  2. For me, India was partly what I saw of our Indian culture through you- the sarees, the bangles, the languages, the skin tones, the accents, the food, the family values, the celebrations. But another part for me was what I imagine India to be. What I dream it to be. And I wonder what you thought of India. If we had totally different views shared some. I’m sure we shared a lot of views, but it was a shame I never asked you about your thoughts on it. Maybe I can tap into your thoughts by writing mine down to you.
  3. To be honest, I’m running out of pens that work. It is still the time of the Corona Virus, and we are staying in as much as we can. So when I do go out, which is so rarely, it’s only for food, or a walk, or toiletries and that kind of thing, even though there seems to be no toilet paper available anywhere I go. And where there might be, the lines are so long. So then I forget that I need more pens. Oh well. This might be more fun and interesting.

holi-festival-of-colors-india-girlDear India,

You aren’t forgotten, I just want you to know that. I know that’s where I originated from. I know that my grandfather was born in India. I believe in a little town called Purbandar where Gandhi grew up, in Gujerat. But to be honest, I haven’t taken the time to really learn more about the different regions or history. I find that I learn more about a place when I get an authentic feel for it and that usually means going there myself. Being surrounded by it and the culture and the smells and the food and the voices, accents, and languages.

I imagine India to be so full of colour, and depth. Like the celebration of Holi, but not always so cheerful. In fact, I feel the heaviness of India when I think about it. Not because I think it is a poor country, or that the people are poor or have less than or are less than, but I imagine so many people there, and not enough rescources for them.

I know not everywhere in India is like that, but I think that it is true for some parts. And that I would feel overwhelmed by what I would see on the streets- beggars, kids, crippled bodies. Again, it’s not that I think that’s all that it’s about, but that’s what we hear about a lot, and not just from media. I read books by authors who were born and brough up in India, and they describe the conditions there. It is hard for me to even read, let alone imagine witnessing in person, and then to actually have lived that, I don’t know how people do that. The human spirit is amazing. I think India would be a testament to that.

And to be honest, I would feel ashamed in some ways if I was there. Not to be Indian. But ashamed to be living such a good life here in the west while the sons and daughters of my ancestors, the aunts and uncles of my culture of origin, could be living in such dire conditions. It humbles me. It makes me wonder how that gets chosen- where we live and grow up, what conditions we have surrounding us from a young age.

I think India must have such a depth of character and wisdom that is beyond most people here in the west. I imagine that like in Buenos Aires, the streets and walls ooze out secrets and stories of centuries ago. It is not something we could see, but sense in the air, and feel under our feet when we walk. I think we could breathe it in, without knowing what exactly it is, but knowing the taste is different. And swallowing that could change us inside forever, even though we might not be able to put a word to what it is exactly.

I know that visiting you India would be more than a visit. I know it would be a profound jounrey for me, even if I wasn’t there for a long time. I think it would be a mixture of feeling like coming back home, and also feeling so lost and out of place because of the kind of lifestyle I am not used to.

I feel we are spoiled here in the west That everything is so clean and proper and safe and cut and dry. I am not complaining. Not at all. I am so grateful for my life. But I think going to India would shake that normal life up for me a lot, probably in a good way, but it would still be overwhelming.

I imagine lots of flowing colours- silks and sarees, and bangles and gold and henna like artwork on bodies, on skin, on streets, and in the air and clouds. Like the country would be streaked of something deep and dark and red that would seep into our own skin whether we were getting a tattoo or not.

I think the different smells from the food- all the spices and curries – would mix together and confuse my nose at first, until maybe a few days in when I think I would be able to learn to decipher between different scents. I might not be able to name them all. But I would know that one is different from the other, or that I had spelled on yesterday in one market that I now smell on a completely different street corner or off of a person who walked by in a different amount than yesterday’s.

I think the foods would take some getting used to on my taste buds. I think I would want to try some, and want to stay away from others because the richness might seem too much for me or my stomach.

I would like to watch people eat with their families and speak in different languages, and laugh and love and hug and cry just as we would, knowing that we are all the same, even though we are so far from each other and call each other strangers at first.

I don’t know if you would take me in as one of you, India. Maybe you would, I think you would. But I might not fit in there fully. But in Canada, I don’t just think of myself as Canadian. And it’s okay. I don’t want to fit in in either one spot exactly. I like being a part of both, and the rest of me just being me.

I don’t know if I will make it to see you this lifetime around. I have trouble traveling just to places that aren’t as exotic or hot, or “different” as you. Walking is sometimes tough for me, especially in the heat. And my health has been so up and down. Just really sensitive to foods and weather and change of anything really, even flying long distances. But you are at the top of my list of places to see. Actually, I don’t have many places left anymore on my list. I used to love traveling and want to do it so much before.

But nowadays, I am happy to be home and build my strength and self up here. I do want to see you though. Forgive me if I haven’t yet or if it is still up in the air if I ever will be able to. I want you to know that I am grateful for you. For giving me culture, for bringing up my ancestors, for giving me colour and dimension and intrigue and language and depth. I feel you. I might not know you in and out, not even close. I might not know your street or city names or maps, but I trust you to take me where I need to within you, to get a sense of the you you want me to know.

I am so grateful for you being my family tree, and leading to my grandma and grandpa getting together and having my mom come from your roots, even though she was born in another country. Thank you for letting her still be Indian in Africa, and for letting her be Indian in Canada. And for giving us roots and magic and natural healing and spices that take me back to a home that I have never been, but long to return to just to see and feel it again.

Thank you, India.

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Mama, Bapa, and all my ancestors especially from India.

I still feel you.

Love Tas

 

 

Like You…

family mother and child daughter hugs and warm on winter evening by fireplace

Dear Mom,

Today is Day 13 of the 21 Days of Abundance Challenge (as prescribed by Deepak Chopra0. The assignement asks for me to think about the description I wrote about you a few days ago (from Day 11 and 12) and then consider my own life and my own patterns of behaviour.

The questions I am asked to reflect on are:

  1. Do you see some similarities between you and your mom
  2. and What are they and how were they formed?

Whooh. I just took a shallow breath in but a deep exhale out. I might need to do that again, trying for a deeper breath in this time.

I would say that is one little thing we had in common. I think you also breathed in shallow, or that you didn’t take as many opportunities to breathe deep into yourself. I could be wrong, and perhaps you did do this many times in those mornings you spent hours in meditation in Khane.

I just remember almost hearing and feeling a shallowness in your breathing that often worried me. I don’t breathe deeply myself. But there are a few different reasons for that, I think, which I won’t go into right now.

Other things that are similar between you and me:

I like tea- because of you. I don’t like drinking cold water.  It feels like a jolt to my system. And I remember you telling me it isn’t good for our bodies. I agree. Thanks, Mom.

I like warmth or coziness in general- blankets, warm socks, slippers and comfy sweatshirts or leggings when I am at home. I also like warm voices, and warm energy from people I am around. I think were like that too in terms of your preference, though I think you preferred not to wear any thick socks on your feet.

Guess what, mom? I do so many things now that are like you that I didn’t even realize until the last few years. I pile my clean laundry in neat stacks on the futon that you had. The same futon you used to pile your granddaughters’ clothes just in case they might need an extra pair of underwear, socks, shirts or pants when they came over.

My pile is just my own clothes. Eventually, they make their way to my closet. But I think I keep them out on the futon a little longer these days to try to feel what you may have felt when you did the same.

I also got rid of my little garbage can in the kitchen a year or more ago. I realized that, like you, I was never using it. I didn’t like the idea of garbage piling up in it and smelling the underneath of my kitchen sink, the cabinet where I had put the garbage bin. So I always use a plastic bag hanging off one of the handles of a kitchen drawer, as my garbage bag. No bin needed. That is definitely a Laila move. 🙂

I am walking around my apartment with my slippers off of my heels. I do that with a lot of my shoes- getting lazy about putting the back of the shoe over my heels and getting my whole foot in. I think for you this was more of a convenience because you probably had a harder time reaching down to get your heel in. I do that too a lot of the times, and I have seen your eldest granddaughter do this often too. I will see if it trickles down to your youngest granddaughter as well. Now, when my shoes are laid out, you can see a dip or bend in the back top part of the heel where my foot crushed that part down instead of going into the shoe. Oops.

I like birds, and watching them- more so because of you and Mama. But I do. I take my time with things too. I like moving slowly even though I envy people who can do things sharply and quickly. But it doesn’t feel comfortable for me. I know you were like that too. I found out that that is probably because we are both heavily governed by the Earth Element according to the Chinese Medicine system of personality types. I am sure you were more Earth than any of the other five elements, and suprisingly, from my scores on some quizzes I took to determine my dominant element, I am more Earth as well.

Earth’s are compassionate, caring, mothering, and love to bring people together. I would say that describes you more than me. I mean, I am caring and compassionate, and I worry about things and people like I am sure you did. But you were the ultimate mother figure. I am a giver, but nothing compared to you. I can be cute, but never as cute as you. And my worries sometimes led me to confusion and an inability to act. Whereas, your worrying made you act on things to make sure that everyone around you was safe and protected, included and loved.

You were definitely way more courageous than I am. Although you didn’t come across as an arguer or someone who got into people’s faces with your opinions, you definitely spoke up when it was needed. You stood your ground, you fought for what was right and good for your loved ones, and I am still trying to learn from that, to find that within me.

You gave more than you had most of the time. I would say that I am not that giving. I mean, when I have less, I panic, and hold onto what I have because of fear that I will lose it or fear from projecting ahead to the worst case scenario what-ifs. You didn’t do that. You actually demonstrated true abundance by letting things go- trinkets, money, love, energy, time- because somewhere deep down inside, you knew, or maybe your subconscious knew- that living and giving was more important. Even when you had very little, you didn’t complain about it or go into any panic mode or hoard what you did have. You still gave, which makes me again so humbled by your great example of abundance. You just had to believe it was there in order to give as much as you did without fear, without selfishness, without hesitancy.

I have only had moments of that, and then I stumble again and hang on to too much or worry too much or grieve what is lost rather than live what is in front of me.

I think we both feel a lot for others. But again, when you did, you were able to push through it and DO what was needed to help those people. I, on the otherhand, get tongued tied or scared or freeze in times of worry or emergency.

I would have really not made a good doctor, Mom. I know you were hoping your kids would maybe go in that direction in their careers, but it was definitely not something I should be doing. I hate hospitals (like you- haha), and blood and I can get absent minded which helps my creative side but would not be good for medical care.

But in all seriousness, another really important quality I think we share is our inability to ask for what we want, for fear of being a burden to others. I think part of it comes from us wanting to be self-sufficent, and independent, and being a little stubborn. We both try to pretend we can handle more than we can (Well, maybe you really could. But in your case, you shouldn’t have had to). I think burn out can be a real thing, and can manifest in our bodies and cause issues with our health.

But somewhere, somehow, we learned that we had to do it ourselves, that asking for help was somehow weak. Or maybe when we did ask for help, it wasn’t done in the way or with the values that we would have liked. So… we thought it was better done ourselves than to rely on others.

We also really love kids. I do, even though I don’t have any myself. But it is a big reason I became a teacher. I think you were more the nurturer of kids- you liked giving them a feeling of home and unconditional love. I am more a believer of kids’ incredible ability to be whoever and whatever they want. And I think I try to foster this in them as much as I can. Maybe because I appreciate all those in my life who instilled that faith in myself in me as well.

I think a big difference between us though is that I spend a lot of time self nurturing and getting back to myself because I need it and think it is important, and I wish that you had done more of that for yourself. But I also know that perhaps your Earth element was so strong in you that you got more energized and joyful and felt much more at peace when you were giving to others rather than yourself. I just still wish that I had given more to you to make up for all of your giving. I wish that you had someone in your life that was nurturing, supporting and loving you unconditionally as you did for us. That’s an area that I have not reached. You were the ultimate in that.

I guess that the similarities and differences between us were partly formed in that despite us being mother and daughter, we were still individuals with different paths to lead and different personalities. Some of my own being independent probably came from me watching you do things on your own and being so independent that I thought that was just the way we were supposed to be. But on the flip side, seeing you do so much for others, and rarely taking as much care of yourself, may have made me go a little too far to other extreme of distancing myself from family sometimes so that I can make sure I do have “me” time and get back to me and take care of me.

Strangely enough, many of my motivations- as far as getting a job and having a career, and working hard and being serious with what I was doing and where I wanted to get to with it- came from me wanting to give you a good and better life. To take care of you and take the burden off of you of doing so much. But somewhere along the line, things didn’t go the way that I thought. And I am ashamed to say in the midst of all that, I somehow forgot the big picture of what I was trying to do, without even realizing that I let my focus get sidetracked.

Now, I am trying to do what will make you proud, what will make your life and your giving us life, worthy of you and all you stand for. But I guess I am also trying to do that recognizing that we are different people and I will need to do this in a way that is right for me as well, so that I can find and follow through with my life purpose.

I just know that will not ever be separate from you. I won’t let it be. Again, that is not to hang onto to you or hold you back from your soul’s journey. But just to say that you and I are connected, Mom. And I want to stay connected because, as the sign under my window sill says, “Just one lifetime won’t be enough for us.” At least I know it won’t be for me. I need you, Mom, and I thank you for all that you have given me- your lessons, your example, your caring and your strength.

Love always and forever,  Tas

 

 

 

Ask Mom…

mother and daughter2Dear Mom,

Today’s assignement in the 21 Days of Abundance program is for me to ask you, my mom, two questions:

  1. What has been your greatest pain or greatest disappoinment in your life? and
  2. What is your dream or greatest desire that remains unfulfilled?

Wow. I don’t know about you, but even thinking about asking you these questions feels really heavy for me. The assignment says that if my mother is no longer with me or if I can’t ask her personally, that I can go into a state of meditation and ask her personally.

Since I don’t really go into traditional states of meditation, I am going to use this writing to meditate on this. And ask you, Mom, what would be your answers to these questions.

I could be wrong, but I feel like one of your disappointments or pain would be that your family didn’t stay together the way that you may have wanted. I know family is so important to you. And you were really the glue to our family in my opinion. But even with all of your giving and understanding and patience and forgiveness, there were things that you might have been sad to see torn apart in your bigger family.

That makes me sad. I mean, to think that you could have any regrets or even think that any of it was your fault, it wasn’t. Mom, you did the best that you could. And you kept us all together. Really and truly you did.

I think you also wanted to spend more time with your grandchildren. I am sorry I didn’t help you out more with that. I tried, but sometimes, there were so many people involved, and they weren’t my kids, so it wasn’t easy for me to figure out. I know that wasn’t exactly my fault, but at the same time, I know how much every moment you had with those two girls meant the world to me. I wish I could have given you more of those moments. They love you though. And they know that you did the best that you could. You are an amazing grandmother.

I am scared that you feel that you weren’t there enough for me and your son. And I want you to know, Mom, that I never ever felt that way, nor will I ever. I am amazed at how much you did for us. I don’t know how you did it, in fact. I know that you had said to me on occasion that you wish you had spent more time with us when we were growing up. But I think that you are forgetting that you did. You really did. We understand that you had to go to work. I understand that you were handling so much on your own.

And when I hear about other families where the kids’ moms were just not treating their kids well, or just not putting them first, it shocks me. Because honestly, having you as a mom made me think that that is what moms were all like- giving, nurturing, understanding, sweet, soft, kind and caring. I couldn’t imagine moms being any different than that, or less than that. Sometimes, I heard you under your breath say things that sounded like you thought you didn’t do enough. But mom, I wish you could see and feel how much gratitude I have for you. Your intentions were so heart felt and always so compassionate. I am so honoured to have you as a mom.

2. As far as your dream or greatest desire that remains unfulfilled… I don’t know if I can find an answer to that, an answer from you. Would it be an answer from the past- something you feel like you didn’t fulfill in this lifetime that just passed, or something that you still want to have fulfilled while you are in spirit form now? We didn’t really talk about your dreams. I wish we had. I think you were always trying to support other people’s dreams around you.

I think during your lifetime, you secretly wanted all that love back- all the love that you gave. And that is totally understandable. I wonder if you wanted a house with a husband in it that you loved and who loved you and your kids coming by with everyone more connected and happy. You never showed it or acted like it, but I think you wanted your own real love story. I think you wanted someone to take the burden off of you of doing everything yourself. Not that you ever made us feel like a burden. I know you loved doing things for everyone, but I wonder if looking back, you wanted to also be given to. And that you could feel safe and protected and taken cared of enough to receive all of that. That you could let go of so much responsibility and worry. I don’t know. Perhaps these are my own dreams and desires for you. Or maybe I could feel some of these coming through you when you were here physically with us, and when you are here around us in another form.

I cannot speak for you. But sometimes they say that what we give the most of, is actually what we crave the most. And you were the biggest giver of love and caring and kindness that I knew and will ever know. So I wonder if that is what you wanted back in all honesty- protection, love, giving, kindness.  I know you had so many giving people in your life, but it probably didn’t compare to your giving. But I hope that you are getting that desire met with the utmost power where you are now. Afterall, you are with one of the other most giving, loving mamas that I will ever know- your mom. My Mama.

I love you, Mom. I am sorry I couldn’t help you make all of your dreams come true, and I am sorry that I couldn’t protect you from a life of no regret. But I will try to continue to live out my dreams and desires with the utmost intent for both you and me.

And now I am curious how your Mom would answer these questions. Could you ask her and get back to me on that? I don’t even know if that is possible, but hey, on this Day 12 Assignment and meditation, Deepak Chopra reminds us that there is a “field of all possibilities” that we can throw seeds of intention into for whatever we want or need. And I need to hear from my mom. I need to know that she is okay and at peace and that her mom is taking care of her. And together, they are having a blast. Can’t wait to hear back fro you, Mom, however you decide to reach me.

Love Tas

 

 

 

Born into Abundance

IMG_20200321_183950_977

Dear Mom,

I have been wanting to tell you so much lately. The world is crazy right now- with a virus that is making so many people sick everywhere- the Corona Virus. I don’t even know where it got its name. But people are in fear, people are sad, people have lost their jobs, people are isolating themselves to help make sure this virus doesn’t spread more than it has to, and there aren’t many peope at all on the streets. Everyone has been sent home, asked to stay home, and people are connecting more to what is important, I think.

During this time, when this first all started, I had received a message from a friend of mine – an invitation to join a 21 Days of Abundance group over Whatsapp. It’s based on Deepak Chopra’s teachings and his meditations. Yeah, I guess I meditate. Not very well, but it seems to creep more and more into my life. Anyway, I accepted,  thinking it would just be a series of inspiring exercises. Turns out that the exercises led to me forming my own group, as this was one of the tasks on day 5, and boy has that been quite a great lesson for me. To learn how to lead, to make some decisions that I might not otherwise put myself in charge of. And to connect with friends from all over who I haven’t been in touch with for awhile.

Some people dropped out of my group, some people enthusiastically joined and are really inspiring me.

And I am still in the group that is led by the friend who started me on this journey in the first place. Today is Day 11 for me in that group, and it is all about the Law of Least Effort. That we don’t need to work as hard or struggle as much as we were maybe programmed to believe in order to achieve our dreams. That abundance is more about getting aligned with the flow of things so that we can achieve our desires with ease.

I am not sure how it relates yet, but the assignment for this Day asks us to describe our mom. There are a few questions or guidelines, to follow. I thought instead of just writing this down on a piece of paper, I would write it to you here:

20200321_164747The positive aspects of my mom- everything about my mom was and is positive. She is kind, sweet, thoughtful, the most generous person I know. She is cute, soft, funny, has the smoothest skin, values simplicity and the little things, liked watching TV, especially her Hindi movies, and is the best mother I could have ever asked for.

She is nurturing, knows how to make everything better, is strong, a fighter, a giver, and so so loyal. She inspires me to never give up, she inspires me to always listen, to be generous, to be humble, to be grateful, to love unconditionally, to notice when people are feeling left out or sad, to not follow the crowd. She inspires me to be the best that I can, to make her proud, to support family, to be honest, to smile, to laugh, to let some things roll off of my shoulders. She inspires me to be strong and to fight for what I believe in. She inspires me to remember family values, to have faith, to enjoy silences, to take my time, to love myself, to not overcomplicate things, to nap, and give thanks. To bless God, to pray, to believe, to move mountains, and also stay in place without having to do something to be. She inspires me to just be. To not judge myself. To help others, and to let go of things that might otherwise bring me down, frighten me or cause me pain.

Her limitations- she honestly doesn’t and didn’t have any. Anything that my mother did or said that in that moment might not have made sense to me or confused me or frustrated me for awhile, I now get. I now understand why she reacted the way she did. She was right about everything. I am not saying this to be kind or to cover up her flaws. It just is what it is. She was right. She was hurting sometimes, and hadn’t let it out. So I might not have understood some of her behaviours that resulted from that. But they were not limitations. She was trying to be strong and not burden us with her pain or fear or sorrow. That takes courage, and will power and so much strength. It is not a limitation. But I wish my mother cut herself more slack. I wish she was as kind and generous and giving and unconditionally loving to herself as she was to us. I wish I had been that way to her. She didn’t have limitations. But she gave to everyone more than herself. I feel like I was the one who was displaying limitations in my inability to to give to her the way I feel I should have. I guess I wish she had practising receiving more. But maybe she just wasn’t given to enough to do that. Maybe I also wish she had made more use of the things given to her instead of keeping them aside for another day.

IMG_20200321_183950_975What did I learn from her?- Everything. Compassion, courage, humility, the beauty of simplicity, how to give and give and give. I learned strength, loyalty, nurturing and the power of a mother’s touch from her. I learned how short life is from my mother. And I learned the power of grief from her passing. I also am learning the power love to cross any boundaries, including death.

What brings us or brought us together?- an ambilical cord. Haha. Her mother. Tea. Definitely tea. Her granddaughters. My brother. Birds. Songs. Music. Simplicity. Food. Especially the sweet kind. Samosas. Chocolate. Kit Kat. Love. Lots and Lots of Love. Fear, sometimes. But then again, maybe fear kept me further from her on some days. Fear of losing her, fear of seeing her age. Fear of her worrying about me when I was not feeling well. Her stories about Khane brought us together. Faith brought us together. Our tenderness brought us together. Our earth element personalities brought us together. Clothes, especially tbe bright or silky ones, brought us together. Our femininity brought us together. Shopping, the mall and our petite size brought us together. Our hearts and soul connections brought us and keep us together. Pain and loss brought us together but also at first seemed to tear us apart.

What separates/separated or distances/distanced us? Misunderstandings, death, holding in emotions, fear, sadness, love, society, cultural expectations or pressures, prejudice, my not setting my priorities straight, my lack of physical strength, my lack of courage, my lack of self confidence, my fears of others, my fear of myself. My guilt, my shame, my sorrow, my regret, my anger (never towards her but towards situations and other people around our lives).

My mother taught me what a sense of home is. It is with her, and in her presence, in her energy that I feel at home. We are all being sent home during this time of the Corona Virus pandemic. So I am just trying to connect back to where and what my mom is.

Mom, I won’t believe that I have lost you. And if I have temporarily, I will find you. I know it can’t be the physical you. But I am being sent home to find the values and lessons and love that you taught me, and instilled in me. And I am going to reach them so deeply and embody them with all that I can. I was already blessed with the ultimate abundance in having you as a mom. I will just keep sitting in that more, and sharing it with others.

This is not truly my 11th day of abundance, nor have there only be or will there only be 21. There have been all those days since I had you as a mom. The day you first gave birth to me, or even nine months before then when I was first in your belly. Abundance started then. I was born into it, and by it, literally. And I am not going to waste it.

“I expect and accept abundance to flow easily to me.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Thanks for teaching me about Abundance, Mom, whether you knew it or not, right from Day 1 of my time here on earth.

Love Tas

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Mommy

Happy-Birthday-Mom-Quotes

Dear Mom,

I feel silly or sad or unsure whether to use the word happy when wishing you a birthday. Can I even wish you a birthday if you are now in the spirit world? I guess it’s just a way for me to honour your birth. To tell you and the universe how blessed I am to have been your daughter. To tell your mother and father how grateful I am that they came together and had you, and especially that your mother gave birth to you.

I was at the cemetery on the date of your five years of passing- February 20th of this year. There were birds – big huge geese- all over, especially around that little stream that lies under the willow tree near where your gravestone is. It was a beautiful scene. It seemed more like you in terms of how much you liked ducks and geese and birds. How much both you and Mama liked them. They seemed to have just made that little area their home. And turned it into more of a peaceful, sanctuary type of feeling as they relaxed and bathed in the sun.

I left you ten red roses. I took the other two to Mama’s grave. It was easier for me to find hers this time. I counted around 11 by 11 gravestones from one corner of her area and it worked. It was maybe something like 13 by 11 spots in the end, but still. Easy to remember since I believein 11:11’s so much more now since you have passed away. I have to. It’s one of those magic moments I feel blessed to experience “by surprise” throughout my day- either on the clock, on an apartment building, or even on taxi cabs. I heard that in India, the taxi drivers count on a picture of Ganesh for good luck, and helpin removing obstacles, along their drives.

I guess in Vancouver, although there are many Indian taxi drivers, they don’t need any extra god figures. They have 1111’s written all over them- because that’s the digit that fills up the end of the taxi phone numbers. Who knows if they notice, but I do.

I took more note of the numbers on Mama’s gravestone. 1918. I don’t know why I never noticed it before. Well, actually, it took me long enough to find her gravestone after so many years, so that could be partly why. But I guess I was focusing more on the date when she actually passed away- 1987- rather than the date she was born in my previous visits.

20200220_133902

1918. Wow! Mama was only 20 years old when she had you? I just wrote a message to Nargis Aunty about that, just needing someone to confirm. I also told Nargis Aunty that it is amazing to me how much the women and mothers did and went through in our family. You are all like Superwoman. I don’t know how you did it. How Mama did all she did. I could barely figure out one day at a time when I was 20, and even that was going terriby wrong on some days. I can barely figure myself now at this age more than 20 years later.

Superwomen, I tell you. But you are the most super of super women that I have ever know and will ever know. Remember when your eldest grandaughter learned the word “saro” (as in nice or good) from you? And then one day, you gave her some food- was it a samosa or some seero from Khane? And you asked her, “Saro ai?” (is it good?) And she replied “Super saro!!!” with so much enthusiasm.

You couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. I could feel your heart and soul smiling at that moment and any other times you thought of that. I am going off on tangents here. Maybe this could be a topic for a whole other blog/letter to you.

But my point is that there was one superwoman who had you. And I am forever grateful to her. And you, my mother, my angel my favorite superwoman, supermother, super being that ever existed, I don’t know what I did to ever get to be your daughter. But I am super, super grateful for it.

I love you, Mommy. Happy Birthday.

I will see if I can find some cake to have for you today, and a good cup of tea. And mostly, I hope you are enjoying your own cake and pot of tea with you and your supermom.

My birthday wish, and every wish I make is always the same- that you are well taken cared of. That you are fully of joy and peace.

Love Tas

Five years later feels like just yesterday

regrets-on-benchDear Mom,

I’ve been anticipating this date with so much dread and heaviness- February 10th. Exactly five years ago today, February 10th, 2015, you had fallen outside of your place and that eventually led to your passing away, a shock to all of us, including you, I am sure.

It breaks my heart everytime I think about it. And I know they say not to live in the past, but how can I not? That is where you were. And that is where I always want to be- with you. I think a part of me, a big part actually, is not here but either trying to find you or just gone whereve you are.

I break my heart over and over again thinking about what you might have done that morning, before your fall. I am so angry at the homecare worker who not only took you out for a walk to Shoppers Drug Mart to get some groceries, but who also made you walk back even though you said you were tired, wanted a cab, or even a bus, and she said, No, let’s just walk slowly back.

Mom, you hadn’t taken a bus for years and years. The fact that you asked for one- well, she should have realized that you weren’t able to make it home comfortably. That you needed a ride back. That you couldn’t walk more. It might have been a short walk for some people, but not for you- with your heart condition- and the osteoarthritis. I am sorry that I wasn’t more understanding about that myself on some days. I should have walked more slowly along side of you rather than skipping ahead, and I should have held your hand more.

But that day, I wonder about stupid questions. I don’t know if it is just to torture me and make me feel more guilty, or to just try to imagine myself being there with you and going through what you went through with you, as if that would somehow change things or make things better now. I imagine what you went to buy that day. I imagine what your plans were for later that day when you ended up in the hospital instead.

I wonder who the woman was that walked you and what happened when you fell. Did you trip over a step? Were you tired? And how did you hit your face and nose? And how could that stupid woman not have called an ambulance or reported the fall to her employer? That cannot be legal. That is not right! I am so angry still, after five years over this.

I want to see the couple who ended up walking by and finding you on the pavement bleeding, and who eventually called the ambulance for you. I want to meet the one out of the two of them- was it the man?- who let you rest your head in his lap while you waited for the ambulance. I wrote an article in the North Shore News asking if the people who helped you could come forward so I could personally thank them. I wrote the article after you passed away. I know you would have wanted to thank them.

Even though you hated hospitals, you were always so giving to strangers even there too. I remember how you wanted to buy a box of chocolates to give to the hospital staff while you were in the hospital. I was too worried and preoccupied to make it happen for you. I am sorry. I am sorry for so many things. The list goes on and on.

I am sorry that I wasn’t there with you that day when you fell. I am sorry I didn’t come to your place and drive you wherever you needed to go so that you wouldn’t have fallen. I am sorry that I didn’t stand up for you with the homecare woman and the whole company more after all of this to demand they do something about their total negligence. I did go to their office a couple of times to talk to the supervisors in a meeting they set up. But they blamed everything on my grief, on my emotional state. As if it was something I would get over and realize was not their doing.

But here I am five years later still angry as hell and so ashamed that I let the whole thing go. I know they were just scared because their big company’s reputation was on the line, so they through the blame on me and my grief. But I should have stuck in there with it more. I should have stood up for what I really believed. But I didn’t have anyone else on my side to back me up. I didn’t want money or to blame someone. I wanted justice enough to at least make sure this would never happen to someone else. I couldn’t bring you back, but maybe I could try to prevent another family from going through the same carelessness, and have the company take the situation more seriously. It was serious. You are gone. And I feel so ashamed, guilty, broken hearted and angry. I just didn’t know how to fight the fight on my own.

Mostly, I feel angry at myself. A friend of mine- a colleague I used to teach with- saw my article in the newspaper and reached out to me over Facebook to say she was sorry for my loss. And I eventully called the ambulance services and hospital to find out the names of the people who helped you get to the ambulance when the homecare person you were with didn’t. I seem to remember the ambulance service not wanting to give me full names or contact numbers of the couple who helped, probably just to respect their own privacy. So I never knew their full names or got to meet them in person. But the ambulance service assured me that they had passed on the message of eternal gratitude I wanted to send to them.

But I didn’t have the courage to do what I really wanted to- which was to fight for you and your rights. I know it is what I should have done. It was a lot to take on on my own. No one else seemed to see it like I did and I was scared to fight the fight on my own and try to go through the grief and shock I was feeling over losing you. But I know it would have been the right thing to do.

I am sorry that you ended up falling that day mom. I am sorry that you ended up in the hospital. I know you hated hospitals. I am sorry that things got worse, that you even ended up in the hospital over Valentine’s Day when there was a Valentine’s Day event you said that you were really sad not to have made it to.

I kind of hate Valentine’s Day now and these days leading up to it because of all that. Sometimes, I just see broken hearts everywhere on that day. How could I not when the person with the biggest heart, the person who brought me into this world and contributed the most to my loving heart, was scared, hurt, weakening, and in pain that day? How could I be excited about Valentine’s Day when you started getting even worse that day and I had no idea that that was going to be your last Valentine’s?

I think the homecare people who were not taking responsibility for their part in this thought that over time I would forget about it, that I let it go because it would become clear that it had nothing to do with them. Well, instead, the opposite is true. I am ashamed I didn’t stick with what I believe. And I am still angry at the awful way they handled, or really didn’t handle all of this. And you know what one of the worst things to live with is, Mom? Regret. I am full of regret over not going with what I believed was right and worth fighting for. It didn’t go away. It didn’t fade away.

I still feel like this all happened just yesterday. I remember every moment of it. I especially remember the things I didn’t do for you. It was like I was trying to make a million choices of things I thought would help- but I kept picking the wrong ones. And I thought there would be more time to explain and apologize once you got home. I just didn’t know that wouldn’t even be an option.

I am sorry, Mommy. I am sorry for not being there for you better. I am sorry that I made all these wrong decisions because I didn’t know how to juggle a bunch of things or I wasn’t clearly seeing what was most important, or because people were telling me I needed to go home and rest and that you would be fine. They were wrong. And I should not have listened to them. I should have stayed with you.

I wish there was some way I could fix it now. I wish that I could turn back time and turn things around. I still run through the scenarios in my head- of what I needed to do instead of what I did do. As if that could somehow magically undo what happened. I can’t change it. I can’t believe I am still telling myself this after five years. But I can’t help running things through my mind again and again. It doesn’t do anyone any good does it?Maybe I think I need to punish myself for my mistakes with you. But none of this brings you back or makes the past different. And that is something I have to live with somehow.

What would make it better, or what would help me let go of these regrets a little more, is if I knew you are okay now, that your spirit is soaring. I wish that you are now having beautiful Februaries with heavenly plans for Valentine’s Day that no one can ever take from you. I hope your heart and soul is filled with so much love and togetherness and peace and joy.

I hope that it is true that heaven can take care of you in ways that far surpass what we know here on earth. I wish the hearts in heaven are the most welcoming, beautiful, magical and healing and that they surround you and fill you with endless love.

 

Another Little Laila

little girl singing2Dear Mom,

I haven’t gone to the gym yet, which is what I’m really trying to get myself to get into the habit of doing more consistently. But what I have been doing consistently is practising singing. I love it.

Last week, I went to a karaoke night all ready to sing “for you” as usual. But I got the feeling you showed up for me there as well. At least I hope that’s what it was.

There was this little girl outside the restaurant, on the patio, sitting with her parents, I presume. She was so animated with her gestures. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, because they were on the other side of the glass windows and I was inside. But I smiled to myself, thinking of how she probably would have reminded you of your granddaughters. You were so entertained by your granddaughters’ antics- especially the rolling eyes, and big enthusiastic hand and arm gestures. And of course, the pointing fingers at her parents. You loved that kind of emphatic, excited way about kids, especially in your own grand kids.

I so wished you were there to see this. I was imagining the look on your face. I so wish you were there, that you are here, to see so many things unfold in the life you created in me, and your son, and your grand kids. And also in your larger family.

The happiness I felt for those moments, thinking about you as I watched this girl outside, kind of seemed to turn into sadness, of missing you.

I was watching the others sing, and being a little social where I was at. But I couldn’t veer my gaze too far from that little girl. I seemed to always be aware of where she was going, as if I was connected to her or knew her somehow.

She came in for bit, to take a peek at one of the singers inside. As she placed her palms of her hands under her chin, she rested her elbows on the corner of a table. She seemed pretty mesmerized by the singer on stage, or maybe by the whole concept of singing.

Dreamy. She seemed to be dreaming- maybe about that being her?

Her parents eventually came inside to join her. I think it was getting colder outside. And the karaoke host had tried to motion to the woman and her daughter that it was their turn to go up next to sing. It turns out that the little girl had put in a song earlier, but now it seemed that she was too shy to go up and sing it.

When I asked the girl which song it was that she would have liked to sing, she said something about girl on fire. I didn’t put the title together with songs I knew, because I figured that since she is five (her mother told me her age), that she was talking about a more young girl’s song.

It turns out it wasn’t so young girl. It was the Beyonce song This Girl is On Fire. I told her it was a good choice. And then I could have sworn I hear the girl’s mom say your name. Laila. As usual, I thought I must have heard her wrong. You know, that wishful thinking of always wanting to hear your name, feel it as a sign that you are nearby, and then sometimes realizing that it wasn’t what was said.

“What is your daughter’s name?” I asked her mom.

“Laila,” she said. I had to fight back the tears. I know my eyes looked upwards and back behind me, or at least to the side of me. I had to look away. I tend to do this more lately when I get emotional and don’t want to overwhelm the people or person in front of me with it.

But I looked back at girl’s mom and said, “My mom’s name was Laila. (Sorry, I should have said it IS Laila). She passed away four years ago.”

The woman looked sorry to hear that. But I said, “No, no. I see this as a sign. That your daughter’s name is Laila. It makes me feel like my mom is here somehow with me, at this very moment.”

“Maybe that’s why you had a connection with my daughter. Why you noticed her.”

Yes, exactly. Maybe.

I offered to sing the This Girl is On Fire song with that little girl. Her mom even tried to convince her to sing it with me. But she was really shy and said no.

I left it alone at that point.

The part that got stranger was that not long after, this young Ismaili guy, funny enough, sitting at the back booth got up to sing a song with this other girl- she was probably in her 20’s. He looked over at me when he got on the stage with her and said, “Could you be her backup? I don’t know this song really.”

I was confused, and didn’t even know what song he was talking about or whether I would even know it.  But he handed me the mic and then I looked up and the song had started.

“She’s just a girl and she’s on fire…”

It was This Girl Is on Fire. I was so shocked. I knew the song, and wanted to sing it, but it was Little Laila’s song. I wanted her to come up and sing it. I tried to motion to the DJ to let him know this was the song the little girl wanted to sing. He tried handing her a third mic. She wasn’t taking it. I walked as far down off the stage with my chorded mic to get the little girl to sing with me. But she wouldn’t.

I sang the rest of the song with the girl who was already on stage and had chosen the song. But all the while, I was thinking what are the chances? Of THAT song being the choice? And that I just happened to ask the little girl which song she would have chosen? And that her name was Laila? This can’t all be coincidence.

I felt badly because I didn’t want the little girl to think that I “stole” her song. That I chose it after she told me she wanted to sing it. I would never have done that. I would have put the song in to see if she would want to sing it. I hope she understood that I didn’t even know that that song was going to be chosen by someone else. I had nothing to do with it.

But did you, Mom?

Did you plant a little Laila in that karaoke place, for me to connect to?

I ask these questions often, trying to be hopeful. And then another part of me sinks down thinking that this is just another way for the universe to remind that you’re gone. And that I didn’t do all I could to help you have the best life you could have. That I was not the best daughter I could have been. That is not the attitude I want to take. So I am going to revert to the hope that this was you, bringing another little innocent Laila into my path, to tell me you are always there with me.

I love you, Mom. And I love your name. You and it are forever beautiful. Always in my heart, the name at the tip of my tongue, and its sound resonating all around me.

Layla by Eric Clapton

Hi Mom,

 

I was talking to someone about you a couple of weeks ago near my place. I think I was saying the usual broken record stuff about how I’m not sure that I feel you. I don’t know if the signs are you. I don’t know if you are okay. (Yeah, I am still on that track. Sorry. It’s hard though, you know).

But then I walk into Shoppers Drug Mart just after that talk, and as I am walking in, I must have sort of in the back of my head asked you or the universe if you are okay, and guess which song came on?

Layla, by Eric Clapton. So as far as I know, you did not know of Clapton or that song when you were here physically. It doesn’t seem like your kind of music. Haha. But… it’s the only song I am aware of that has the name Laila or Layla in it that could possible be played in a store like that. Though, it would have been awesome if Laila oh Laila the Hindi Bollywood song came on. That would have freaked me out, but in a really great way. Can you make things like that happen?

Anyway, I smiled. I mean, I really, really smiled, because I got another little taste of this feeling of happiness, hope, possible peace and relief that maybe that was from you.  I don’t know. I should know though, right? I mean, should I just believe without a doubt, and feel and hang onto that emotion until my mind and body believe without a doubt?

I’ve been reading a book about this- You Are the Placebo- by Dr. Joe Dispenza. It’s about how when we align our emotions to a future event or occurrence that we want to have happen, our body thinks it is already happening, so it makes the shift as if it is in that future. That is the placebo without a placebo pill. We can create that in our own bodies, says this doctor. I believe that to such a deep extent medically. Though in your case, when you were in the hospital, I feel like you weren’t given a chance to do this. How can that work when you are sedated and can’t see, hear or talk? That just kills me inside. That thought.

But I need to stop focusing on that thought, and put myself in the emotion and thought that you are still with me. That you are giving me signs along the way. And hopefully, you are getting a little frustrated with me not fully believing, but in a funny way. I am trying to believe mom.

The lines in the Clapton song that seemed so fitting are:

“Layla, you got me on my knees Layla. I’m begging darling please, Laila. Darling won’t you ease my wary mind.”

It’s the wary mind I’m trying to sort out. My own, that is.

I walked to the post office connected to Shoppers just as the song was ending.  I was there making photocopies of some passages from another book I was reading at that time- Through My Eyes, by Gordon Smith.  Here I was- with the proof in my hands- from the words of this Medium. Exactly what I wanted confirmation of, he gives in his book. That there is life after death, that we don’t really die, and that souls speak to one another. That our loved ones are okay and they are speaking to us without words.

I ended up telling the lady working at the post office about the Clapton song and about you. And she was in tears. She ended up sharing with me that her mom passed away, and she too misses her very much. For all the times I went into that post office, I never knew any of this about this woman. Thank you for connecting us. Can you do that too? Connect me to people who can either help me or I can help them in some way? I always wonder about that.

I told the woman about the book I had with me, and I left her a copy of one of the first stories in it.

She told me that there is a woman who comes to the post office on and off who seems to be clairvoyant or is it clairsencient?  Anyway, supposedly, she passed on some messages to the lady at the post office that were quite accurate. This clairvoyant woman also said that there are many spirits in the building where Shoppers is located, specifically in the post office and down at the other end of the complex where there is a big dollar shop. It used to be a movie theater. I remember that theater, actually.

But yeah, it didn’t sound spooky or haunted or ridiculous what she said. It actually made me feel hopeful, and curious about which spirits around us and where. And I like the idea that those souls who have passed away can still be looking out for us. And that maybe they have particular favorite spots they like to hang out it. Haha.

It gives me a picture of their lightness, their playfulness, their carefree and happy nature. Their peace and their everlasting love and energy.

I want to feel that from you. That you are happy, free, at peace, and having the time of your… well, after-life. 🙂

Love you, Mom, forever and ever.

Laila, oh Leila, Layla

Laila1Dear Mom,

Besides latching onto hearing your name called out in a cemetery as a sign that you’re okay, I also have been following your name around in terms of other types of signs.

The first one I remember is when I was apartment hunting. After you passed away, just after actually, I needed to look for a new place to live because my previous roommate was selling the place I was living in.

I didn’t know whether I was going to stay in North Vancouver or move to some other area. All I knew is that I was feeling lost. You had just passed away. I was devastated (and some would say I still am after four years). But I was in shock of a different kind back then, and I had to move, and I didn’t know how I was going to afford paying for just a room in a shared place (which I was getting an amazing deal for) compared to living in my own place somewhere else.

I was pretty certain I could not live with roommates anymore, mostly because I needed to do my own grieving, healing and just be allowed to be sad without worrying that someone around me would be brought down by it. I needed to be on my own and figure out… well,  my life. I didn’t know how to live it without you and frankly, I still don’t. But I just take each day as it comes.

Anyway, I was looking in the paper or on craigslist- I can’t even remember- for apartments.

And then I was also just driving around to see what was available.

I ended up being really drawn to this apartment for rent in the Joyce Station area. It’s not even a spot that I would have thought of before. But firstly, the rent was way more reasonable than any of the other places I was looking at, the place seemed pretty decent from what I heard and saw in the pictures and from the person renting it out. But mostly, what made me think that this is the place I needed to move into was that the girl who was currently in it- who was advertising it- her name was Laila. I can’t remember if she spelled it the same way your name was spelled or if it was with an e. I think it was Laila. Same as yours.

Laila ShirtAnd so of course, a big part of me was hoping that this was somehow ordained by you. So not only was I being led to the apartment that I needed to find, but I also was maybe getting a sign that you are always with me, and that you are so okay and well and happy, that you were already helping me find the right place for me to move into.

Well, that apartment didn’t work out for me. I actually really liked it. It was really cute, and I ended up meeting that Laila. She was a sweet, beautiful young girl. Her and her boyfriend were moving out together into a bigger place. I told her the story of how and why I was drawn to her apartment, and her name. She seemed to empathize with me and hoped that I would get the apartment.

The choice wasn’t up to her. I guess it was the manager’s decision and it turned out that there were a few other people on the list of potential tenants before me. Someone else got chosen for that place.

Though it would have been less costly to stay there, I ended up choosing the place I am in now instead. It is in an area that I love, and is probably safer and allows me more interaction with people and freedom to sing in my apartment (which has somehow become a huge part of my life these days).

The place near Joyce Station would have been way more affordable, but maybe not in the long run since it is further out from the center of town. Mostly, I liked the association with your name at that time and I somehow thought I was losing not only the opportunity to stay there, but also the hope that you had something to do with it. I wanted to believe that your name and you led me there.

But my current place is owned by Ismailis, and is so close to the first elementary school I went to, and to the area where we grew up in the first few years of my life. In that sense, it brings me back to you, and connects me to childhood memories or surroundings that I think I may have otherwise had forgotten.

Though there isn’t a particular Laila in this building that I know of, I would still like to think that you somehow led me here. This place brings me peace. I have helpful and kind neighbors.  I feel a lot of freedom and security here. The tree lined streets, quaint coffee shops, convenient grocery and drugstores, and a reminder of where i came from surrounds me. A reminder of the “simple” life, living with you growing up here, and having had a mom who raised me without having much herself.

I don’t know how you did it, Mom.

But I am grateful for it and you every day. And Laila is still the name that rings in my heart always. I pick up on it in all its forms and spellings, but especially the “ai” version. Sometimes, I see it in books- as a name of an author or character. Other times, it’s on advertisements for performances- especially middle eastern dance or music. And sometimes, I just keep my ears open for the name in case the wind whispers it in my ear to tell me you are near. Laila. It is such a beautiful name.

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I miss you, Mom. I miss you so much.