Chando Mama

 

snowmoon

Dear Mom,

Chando Mama. That’s what you called the Moon. At least that’s what it sounded like.

I know you loved the moon a lot. I can still picture you smiling like a child, and stopping to tell me to look up at the sky whenever we were out somewhere at night.

There’s a bright full moon out this evening.. There has been a lot of news leading up to this night- because supposedly this is a rare Moon night. They say that it is referred to as a Snow Moon, sometimes also called a Hunger Moon.

I heard on the radio today that it appears every 19 years?!

I know I could look all of this up to see if it’s true, AND look up the exact word or spelling of the moon in our language. But sometimes, I like to remember things the way that I was first told them, or just the way they were in my memory.  I don’t need it corrected. I just want to hold on to what I heard or felt at that time.  This especially is true about anything that I heard from you.

So Chando Mama and today’s Snow Moon that hasn’t shown up for 19 years it is.

I never got a chance to tell you that the Moon has been so significant to me over the past few years in particular. Some might say it’s because I’m Aquarius.  We are moon-crazy, I believe. Some might say it’s because I’m a romantic. Moon crazy indeed. Some might say it’s because I believe, or believed, in magic. I think all of these could be true.

But, the biggest reason for my love of the moon is over the past few years at least, I swear I could feel Mama- your mom- in the moon’s energy.

I actually would smile at the moon and speak to it on some nights, as if I was speaking to Mama. I could just feel her. I don’t know how to explain it. But at those times, I just knew it was her.

I never told you because I didn’t know if it would make you sad, or maybe I thought you would just think I was being silly. But now I wish I HAD told you, because maybe you would have believed it too. And maybe, in remembering that now, you would find some ways to reach me through the Moonlight because you know I’d be looking  for you or Mama up there.

When I was traveling, especially in foreign places, and felt a little lost or lonely, the Moon always kept me company.  Even following it somehow led me to places where I ended up needing to be, without realizing it.  I felt all of a sudden “found” and guided, rather than lost or unsure. And something told me that that was Mama’s way of still looking after me, after us, as well.

But over the last year, I’ve been losing those beliefs.  I wonder if those moments with the Moon and with my sensing Mama were just completely make believe. Maybe they never happened. Because if I had had those feelings from Mama, then surely, I would feel you- my own mother- somewhere around me as well.  I have been searching everywhere. I’ve been keeping my senses open and alert, to see where your energy  might show up- in the moonlight, in a song, in the sparkle of the ocean or fluttering wings.  Maybe in the wind.  But I’m not sure if I feel anything.  I’ve even waited for you to come into my dreams, but nothing peaceful and reassuring has come from my sleep.

But tonight, I did find myself a little hypnotized by the moonlight. I looked up a few times at it, and felt… something. I’m not sure what it was. But I decided to talk to it a little, as if you were there somewhere in its light.  I guess this night of the Snow Moon is also going to be my night when I open up a little space in me to hope and believe again.

And why not start with the Chando Mama, right?

If I once felt Mama up there, surely you’d have to be there with her.

And maybe some days, pretending is better than not having a hope at all.

I blew a kiss towards the Moon tonight Mom, for you and Mama. I hope you felt it.

Thanks for the light, for the guidance, and the magic in the sky. I am wishing up on the many stars around the Snow/Hunger Moon tonight that you are at peace, and cared for up there.  That while you are watching over me, you are being watched over and loved the way you truly deserve to be, the way you always took care of us.

Goodnight Mom, Mama, and the Moon.  With my curtains open, I am grateful to be sleeping under your light tonight. I will try to make tonight a new night of believing.

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My Favorite Valentine

 

valentines

Dear Mom,

Last year, I discovered that you were, and still are, my favorite Valentine.

But I never got a chance to tell you that, so here goes:

Remember the little white teddy bear in the little red “I love you” mug you bought me just before Valentine’s last year? Well, it’s one of my most precious treasures. It actually made my heart melt when you first gave it to me.

I know you were in Shoppers, scoping out their Valentine’s candy and gifts early. And the thought of you picking up this adorable present with me in mind, … well, it just brought such a smile to my heart. I never told you because I thought you would just think I was just being overly sensitive. But now, I so wish I had said something, anything, everything.

I also had a little gift for you- a necklace and earrings- but never got a chance to have you wear them out

And that bear actually became what I was hoping would be a little protector for you in the hospital. I put your little red and green tasbih around the bear, and brought a picture of Hazar Imam that you had at your place, and kept them in the ICU room you were in in the hospital.  For some reason, I thought all of those little heartfelt things would save your heart and help you feel us, remember that  you are loved. And you would just get better.

Katarina even helped me tuck the little bear under your arm while you were sedated. I wasn’t allowed to be there all the time in the room, so I was hoping that if you woke up and saw the bear, you know we were nearby and not alone.  But you never woke up. I couldn’t believe it.

I think at first, I was angry that those things didn’t help you.  It was hard for me to have them near me afterwards because I thought I didn’t do enough, that I needed to bring you something else that would have protected you better. But I couldn’t get rid of those things either. The mug and especially he bear,…  they just became sacred. The bear was the last thing that was closest to you. And now, I keep it close to our picture- that picture of you and me from long ago- on my windowsill.  And now it helps me to feel you are nearby.

But the bear is also in the arms of a different, bigger, green bear one of my students gave me years ago.  The green bear’s name is Ariel. It came with that name. And Ariel was a fairy type of character in one of my favorite Shakespeare plays- The Tempest. My student wanted to give me something to say thanks for teaching her about Shakespeare and other writers, and so when she found this bear and saw his name, she thought it was perfect!

The bear has stayed with me as a memory of the magic that Ariel seemed to have in the play.

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And I want that magic, that protection, around you. So I guess I use Ariel hugging the white bear you gave me as a symbol of something still protecting you and your spirit.

I gave you a Valentine’s Day card in the hospital last year as well, that said something about making sure you take care of yourself now that you have spent so much time taking care of everyone else. I feel very embarrassed and sad that those were the words I chose, to share with you, when you were in a state of not only not being able to take care of us, but also helpless in taking care of yourself.

I am so sorry, Mom. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had no idea. And I’m sorry I was late to join you at the hospital on Valentine’s Day. Every place was so busy for food, for driving. I was trying to also get some new furniture and clothes for you to surprise you with. But I should have just been with you. And I never got a chance to tell you why I was late. You looked so sad and it hurts me to remember your comment about how I took so long. I thought I would have time later to explain.

If only I could turn back time and change so much about those days, of those months, of so many things that I would have done differently with you. I would do it.

I haven’t been able to use or drink out of the “I love you” mug since you’ve been gone, though it sits in my cupboard in its own little spot and I stare at it sometimes. And I haven’t been able to wear the earrings and necklace I gave you. I just wanted to see them on you.

I might have to try to put them one on day soon, to see if they make me feel any closer to you. Or to somehow show you what they look like on your daughter.

Valentine’s Day now makes me very heavy hearted. But what is at the front of my mind and heart is my absolute favorite Valentine- my mother Laila.  Why I didn’t figure it out sooner, I will never know.  But I know now, and though I spent Valentine’s Day alone, I was so full of love for the best person that ever was a part of my world. And now you’re also my Divine Valentine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom.

May lots of candy hearts, kisses, warmth, peace and love wash over you up there in Heaven, always. But especially today.