I hope you know that I was always on your side, Mom.
I am sorry I didn’t show it more.
I hope you know that I was always on your side, Mom.
I am sorry I didn’t show it more.
There’s a song I really like by an artist named Labrinth. The song is called Jealous. The lyrics talks about being jealous of how the rain falls on this person’s skin and how the wind blows through her clothes. The male singer is probably referring to a female partner he lost or never had but wanted.
He sings with such a deep expression and emotion that I feel it. But my thoughts of jealousy don’t go towards a guy. Instead, it is a jealousy towards whoever you might be around now. Those who get you up close and personal to you. Those who you might be working with or enjoying heaven with or laughing and learning with, or loving or teaching.
Because I know what that love is about and what a great teacher you are. I know how your touch and caring and nurturing feels. And anyone who gets to experience it now is very lucky. I know this from experience. It’s not that I don’t want you to be happy wherever you are. Of course I do. And I know that you will be deeply affecting any souls that get the chance to cross your path.
And of course I know you will forever influence my life. I hope that our souls are still very much connected. But I’m going to let my human, earthly, smaller mind get in the way for a bit and just complain that it’s not the same as having you right here where I can see you or touch you or smile and laugh with you and hear your voice. I guess it’s not supposed to be the same.
At first, I think I worried that maybe you might be jealous of the rain and wind and life that is around me, or around your grandchildren or your son or the rest of your family, because you can’t join us in these experiences as we grow. I mean, you can’t join us physically. And that makes me sad for you. I don’t want you to feel like you are missing out or that we ever forget about you. We don’t. Truly, we don’t.
But then I also know that you were never one to want anything less than the best for all of us. You wanted to give and give and give. So jealousy towards us doesn’t really seem in your nature at all. You are the type of person that would just be happy for our happiness.
It’s hard for me to be happy without you though, Mom. It’s hard for me to be happy without feeling your happiness, I think is the more important part of all of this.
I am jealous of the people, especially the daughters, who get to call their moms and hear their voices on the other line. I’m jealous of the little girls who hold their mother’s hand as they walk down the street, or feel their mother’s touch on their face or their foreheads.
I am so jealous of the mothers and daughters who go on trips together, or go shopping together, or sit and drink tea together. I am jealous of any people who still have the opportunity to apologise to their mothers if they have said something that might have been hurtful. I am jealous of those who when they call out to their moms get an answer back.
Sometimes I stare incessantly at kids and their mothers, or even adults and their mothers. And I watch all the little nuances between them- the smiles, the tears, the hugs and love and connection. And I yearn to get even a little bit of that back. Even writing that causes my throat to close up a bit as my emotions just build up inside of me. It hurts so much to not be able to go to your home and see your cute face opening the door to greet me.
I am jealous of the girl I was when I was younger, the one who was able to sit on your lap, and lay next to you, and be cradled and rocked by you, and picked up from school by you. The girl who had her lunches made by her mom. The girl who enjoyed her mom’s scrambled eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches. The girl who got to wake up to her mom’s face and warmth.
I am jealous of the girl who had her adult years with you The girl who could always just go to Mom’s place when she needed anything, especially when she just needed to be accepted for exactly who she was, without having to prove or do anything special. The girl who was special because of her mom. The girl who had a mom who made her feel so special.
I am jealous of the woman I became who, when she needed to apologize or right a wrong with her mom, could do so whenever she wanted. I am jealous of this woman who had her mom’s forgiveness, sweetness, compassion and strength around her always. That simplicity in living and loving that made her know exactly what was important in her life.
And then I realize I am jealous of myself. That the time I had with you has passed and I wish so much to have it back. But I need to recognize that I was so lucky to have had it at all. 40 years of it. It sounds like such a long time. But it feels like it went by too fast.
I can’t be jealous of what I already have, can I? Maybe others can be jealous of me, because I had you, for those forty years. And you made me who I am today. Everything that is beautiful about me came from my beautiful mother. That is not something to be jealous about, but to be so proud of I’m trying to remember that, Mom.
I just miss you so much. And Mother’s Day is coming up. How do you celebrate a day dedicated to a woman who is no longer here with me physically but who gave me anything and everything I could have possibly wanted? and didn’t even know I wanted.
Mother’s Day is not a day, is it? It’s a lifetime. A miracle. Beyond one lifetime. It’s an energy. An everlasting love. An eternal love. A magic that I was so lucky to experience.
Thank you, Mommy. You are my everything. Always and forever.
I still have really bad nightmares about you. I had one just this morning. You weren’t happy, and I also now feel like you’re not happy with me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I feel this way or dream these things. It really hurts my heart and makes the morning and getting up so confusing and heartbreaking.
I wish I had a sign that you were okay, and that you were also more than okay with me.
Sorry I am having these thoughts. It feels sad, like I am changing our relationship now somehow. I know we were very close. I know that you loved me so dearly and sweetly, like no one else could. And I loved and still love you with all my heart and soul. I just can’t figure out what this bad feeling is, where it is coming from, and how to shake it off or fix it.
I will try to concentrate on my morning prayers to you, which are still going, even now, four years later. The lines or questions have grown a little more. I realized I had more to ask of you and the universe. I hope you don’t mind. Here it goes:
What are we going to do today?
Where are we going to go?
What are we going to do?
What are we going to say?
What are we going to believe?
What are we going to achieved?
What are we going to have the courage for?
Who are we going to help?
Who are we going to inspire?
What are we going to give away?
What are we going to hang on to?
What are we going to cherish?
What are we going to choose?
What are we going to stand up for?
What are we going to cry over?
What are we going to laugh through?
What are we going to create?
What are we going to paint?
What are we going to sing?
What are we going to dance?
What are we going to write about?
What are we going to dream?
What are we going to read?
What are we going to practise?
What are we going to play?
What are we going to perform?
Who are we going to date?
Who are we not going to date?
Who are we going to kiss?
Who are we not going to kiss?
Who are we going to love?
Who are we going to let love us?
What are we going to teach?
What are we going to learn?
And one I just made up: What are we going to pray for?
I always start my morning prayer with you. Before all these questions, I ask God and the Universe to take care of you. It goes like this. I say these words as soon as I wake up and before I am even out of bed:
Thank you for waking me up for another day
Please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom.
Then I name all the people in the family individually who I am, or we were, closest to. And I ask that they be taken cared of.
And then I end off with Please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, please take care of my mom, again.
I’ll be saying this prayer until I am with you again, Mom.
God Bless You, as you would always say.
I miss you so much.
I haven’t written to you in here for awhile, but I have been speaking to you every day, in the morning and later in the day, and sometimes in my journals as well. Can you hear me?
I lost something that meant so much to me because you gave it to me. Actually, it was the last gift you gave me, at least in terms of physical gifts. And it was for the last birthday I had when you were here. I lost the dragonfly necklace you gave me- the blue one.
I don’t know how I lost it. It must have been on my neck and fallen off somewhere. I put that necklace in the same Pandora box every time I’m not wearing it. And it the box is always on the top of that thick brown bookshelf I have. But one day, just a few months ago, I went to wear it and it wasn’t in the box. And it wasn’t around my neck.
I am sure I cried when I realized it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I backtracked my steps for those couple of weeks and asked around at any of the places I had been to. No one saw or found anything. I put up a sign about it in my apartment building in the lobby and laundry room. I even posted about it on Facebook. Some kind lady on Vancouver Buy and Sell saw my post and offered to try to replicate it for me for free. It was very sweet of her but it just wouldn’t have been the same, you know?
I am so sorry I lost it. I don’t know who has it. I was hoping it would show up somewhere- behind something in my place, or caught in a sweater or something I was wearing. Or I hoped that someone would call and say they found it. But no one did.
Then this guy at Karaoke said that maybe you took it. It made me smile, laugh, and get upset all at the same time when he said it. I would love that- if you were able to take it. 🙂
Then I would know that you are okay and you would obvious know that you can have anything of mine, ANYTHING. But you were too kind to take anything from me. You should have though. I wish I could give you everything. I wish I had given you everything. including more time, consideration, respect, affection.
I gave you some but not enough. And I wish I could make up for it now, but I just can’t I guess.
I think a part of me was hoping that maybe you would make the dragonfly necklace appear somewhere. Somewhere I have already looked a million times, even if it was to suddenly just appear back in the box that I always put it, or better yet, to appear around my neck like poof! Magic! Just like that. Then, maybe then, I would or could believe that you are around. Like that would be my big big sign that you are okay, and that you are looking after me.
It’s not that I don’t think you are capable or wanting to take care of me. It’s just that I don’t know if you are okay now, who is taking care of you, and how you are feeling. Do people feel things, or do souls feel things, after they pass away? Like emotions? I don’t know how any of this works. I am trying to believe. Really I am. But it’s so hard.
If you know where the dragonfly necklace got lost or fell or who has it, can you help me find it?
I am not usually a thing person. I mean, material things hardly mean anything to me. But this was something special. It made me feel like I was holding you around me, near my heart, and radiating the magic of the dragonfly to others around me. Radiating your forever giving and loving and beautiful heart and soul.
I know I can find ways to do that without the necklace, but it’s not the same. I wanted to pass it on to your grandchildren too.
I am sorry for losing such a precious thing you gave me, Mom. It was beautiful. And you were so so sweet to get it for me. You always had good taste with those kinds of things. I try to imagine that you still help me choose jewelry, clothes and other little things to decorate my place. Not that I do a lot of shopping. Shopping was more your thing. And it feels silly now without you. But when I do go, I try to listen to hear what your opinion is and what you think I should get or leave.
Of course, you were always the one who would try to make me buy everything. Or I mean, you’d want to buy me everything. I still haven’t taken after you in that regard. Haha. I don’t even have enough space for things and I don’t like having too much around me.
I’ve been trying to get rid of or sell things more actually. But the one thing, or one of the many little things that I didn’t or wouldn’t ever wanted to give away or lose or get rid of was that necklace.
Where did it go? Where did I drop it?
Thank you for such a precious gift, Mom. I will keep looking for it and will keep an eye out for real dragonflies whenever I can. But in the meantime, if you find it, or can bring it back to me, I would love that. I would think you are really here with me, every step of the way. But I also want you to be doing your own heavenly things to pamper and be good to you. So… whatever you can magic up or have time for.
Mostly, I want to say thank you for being the best gift I ever got- the best mother I could have every dreamed of. I am the luckiest.
I know my letters here aren’t the most uplifting, or just seem full of sadness. But I wanted you to know that I am trying to keep my spirits up and stay hopeful, to believe in what I might not be able to feel yet, but that I wish to feel. Actually, it’s more about what I wish you feel- safe, free, happy, worry free, at peace and without pain or regret.
So I found a new song -well, it’s actually an old song, but it’s new on my list of songs to sing to you, for you- to keep me moving towards my wishes. My wishes for you.
It’s the song “Together Again” by Janet Jackson. She is Michael Jackson’s sister. Maybe you already knew that. Or if you didn’t while you were here, maybe you do now because I am imagining that you can see and know much more now that you are with other angels.
It’s funny how I grew up listening to a lot of Janet Jackson songs, and I know this one, or I thought I did. But it wasn’t until now that I actually listened to the lyrics more deeply. And it’s amazing how fitting they are for my wishes- that we will be together again, that I could feel you shining down on me, that I could feel your love around me.
I guess when I was younger, the words wouldn’t have had the same meaning to me anyway, or I wouldn’t have known what it would feel like to want these things yet. Maybe I could have wished them for Mama and my’s relationship. But I don’t think I was old enough to fully understand how much these words could mean to me, and speak to me.
I love the chorus:
Everywhere I go, every smile I see
I know you are there, smiling back at me
Dancing in moonlight, I know you are free
‘Cause I can see your star shinin’ down on me.
To imagine you dancing in moonlight… wow! That would be amazing, and make me feel so happy, to see your freedom and happiness. Your lightness. Your shine. (I just realized that I must have been singing some very wrong lyrics to this song when I was younger. I had no idea she was saying “Dancing in moonlight.” What had I been singing all this time? That’s the great thing about the internet now, we can look up the lyrics to see what they really are, and then make fun of the silly things we used to make up because we just didn’t know any better).
The line There are times when I feel you smile upon me, baby gives me goosebumps, especially when I really sing it out loud in that higher key change in the music. A good cry to the heavens. I can feel how much I want it. How much I want to feel you again, your smile, our connection, your love not just as a memory but as a presence that still exists. I want to believe that it does and it will always continue.
I just need to change the word “baby” throughout the song to “mommy” and it would all fit, including the part about drawing strength from your words, your love and what you’ve taught me.
And then to be able to see you again one day. “Always been a true angel to me, now above, I can’t wait for you to wrap your wings around me, baby.” My angel mother. Together again, someday.
“I’ll never forget you.”
I wonder who Janet Jackson was thinking about when she said those words.
I will never forget you, mommy. You are with me and thought of every moment of every day. This song is going to be one of my new prayers to sing for you, Mom.
I went to see the musical Waitress over the weekend. It is a stage adaptation of the movie Waitress which I guess came out a long time ago, or awhile ago. I never saw it and can’t find it on Netflix. I started using Netflix after you passed away. Sorry. If I had figure it out before, I would have shown you how to use it.
Anyway, the reason I went all the way to Seattle to see this show is because
1) It didn’t look like it was coming to Canada, or at least not to Vancouver.
2) One of my all time favourite singer/songwriters Sara Bareilles wrote the music for it.
3) She Used to Be Mine- one of the songs in the musical.
I’ve been singing Sara Bareilles’ songs now for sometime. Her lyrics and compositions are so unique and full of memorable images and pauses, and syncopations and she has a beautiful voice. I love how every song really says something. I mean, the something is always profound, or playful, or poignant or all of the above. I feel changed after going through the stories in her lyrics and music.
But in particular, “She Use To Be Mine” gripped me almost from the first note, but definitely from the first few phrases. I first heard it at a live concert of Sara Bareilles’. My roommate Karen and I went to see the concert in Seattle a few years ago. At that time, you were still around, and the song still spoke to me, gripped my heart, and made me catch my breath a little. It made me sad, and happy, and feeling alive and inspired, but also pained and empathetic as well- towards the subject of the song or to myself, I don’t know.
It was explained to us at that time that Sara Bareilles wrote the song for the musical, and that the musical would be out in a couple of years. It was also explained to us that the song came about because the character in the play is pregnant, but she doesn’t want to have the baby. She is with a guy who doesn’t treat her well, and she doesn’t have a good paying job or much stability. So she feels like she has nothing to offer the child, and also seems to miss the person she thought she would become.
So at that time, the “She used to be mine” chorus made sense to me as Sara Bareilles meant it- that the person who was the dreamer and beauty, and go getter used to be a part of the main character. I think her name was Jenna. But that Jenna was mourning her passing- as if that part of her had gone and died. Was no longer there. As Sara Bareilles said in her concert- it is a concept and feeling we can all probably relate to- when something in our lives passes over us, and we don’t look or act or have the time to be or do that thing anymore that used to be such a part of us.
I fell in love with the song instantly, and when I got back to Vancouver, I wanted to sing it. I learned it and kept practising it. And something in it always brought me to tears, whether I heard it, was singing along with it, or just singing it on my own.
But after you passed away, I couldn’t say the chorus lines anymore without just breaking down. The “She used to be mine” line made me think that I was somehow referring to you, especially when I had to sing the whole line, “She is gone but she used to be mine.”
I found out recently that one of the karaoke places I go to often has that song available for people to sing. So I started singing it again. I try to imagine that I am singing it for you, or to you, or to tell people about you.
But there is a change that I make in mind when it comes to the song and the lyrics. Whether I imagine the “she” who is gone to be a part of me or to be you, I don’t allow myself to believe the “used to be mine” part. You are still mine and will always be mine, mom. As I have written to you before, no one can ever take your place. No one can every be or try to be my mom. You are the only mom I want, the only one I had, and the only one I still have. There is no “used to”. You are still mine. My mother. I hope you know that. I hope you know that I never forget about you and never will.
In the play, the main character ends up loving her daughter the moment she was born, and deciding to take care of her on her own. She doesn’t want the father to be around because she knows that he is selfish and doesn’t know how to love the woman let alone a child. And I thought it was so beautiful but also so sad, how selfless this woman becomes to give her all to her child. Without any help.
She would speak to the baby when she was in her stomach. Dear baby, she would say. She would tell the baby her fears but also her dreams for the baby, that she wished that she could give her everything.
I know you were that kind of mom, but you didn’t have to tell me what you hoped to give me. You just did it. I don’t know how. And it breaks my heart a little every day to think of how much you sacrificed for me. How there may have been so many parts of you that went away or had to go because you ended up putting me first, putting both of your kids first.
So I feel like apologizing and thank you all at the same time. I am sorry for all the things you had to do day in and day out to keep us safe, and cared for, and fed and loved, when sometimes that meant you didn’t have the time or energy to give that same caring and love to yourself. Thank you, Mommy for having me, for caring for me, for sacrificing for me, for standing up for me and keeping me protected and happy.
In the play, the main character’s mom has already passed away. But she was taught to make pies from her, and so she continues to do so- talking about some of her mom’s favourite pie flavours.
What would I choose as a pie name for you? Sweet, Laila Mama pie? Whatever it is, it could never capture all that you were and are to me. I don’t know how to ever repay you for all that you have done for me. I wish I had done more to show you how grateful I was for you during the time you were here. Please give me signs as to what I can do now for you. I know it is not the same, but I want to try. I cried so much in the play- for not being able to tell you all that I want to now. For not having mother daughter moments with you anymore. Is there a way to still have different kinds?- that surpass time and space? I need my mom still, and always will.
I think I suddenly got some sort of cold. I was fine yesterday, but then at the end of the night and this morning, I felt so tired, with a runny nose, and a bit of a scratchiness and cough in my throat.
I reached for the Vick Vapo Rub of course. It’s strange how such a small bottle, and the smell from it, can bring back so much sweetness, and love but also sadness and sorrow.
Vicks, and just that smell, makes me think of how I had such a loving mom- you- who took care of me when I was sick, no matter what age I was. Even though I got frustrated over you “babying” me at those times, God, what I wouldn’t do to have you do that for me again.
I am sorry if I ever gave you a hard time over caring the way you did. It was such gift I was given- to have you as a mom, to have you take the time to rub Vicks on my throat and forehead and nose. And your hands. Vicks conjures up the feel and look of your beautiful, soft hands, oozing love through every finger. Giving me your healing and warmth and motherly magic.
So I wish I could go back to those days, to appreciate them more. And more than that, I wish I could go back to them to tell you how very much they meant to me, how much you meant to me, and still do. And I wish I could give you back that same tenderness, and caring and time. You spent so much time with me- as much as was needed to help me through, especially when I got sick.
The soups, the hurder (tumeric), and blankets, and tea and your hand on my forehead. Everything soothed me right into my core, into my heart. And so when I think of you lying there in the hospital, and me not being able to give you back that soothing and comfort, it tears me apart.
Vicks brings me back a warmth and smiles- the tenderest of memories of the most love I received, and will receive, from any human being ever. But it also breaks my heart and brings me to tears because that love is gone. Or the love isn’t gone, but the touches and what I can see and hear- your voice unlike no other and the words you chose that no one else could. Even the way you said my name.
The thought of if already brings a ache in my throat. And this is not from a cold, but from grief. From anger, from pain, from losing you. But mostly from not being able to help you the way you helped me. I am so sorry, Mom. I wish I could have brought you a bottle of Vicks and put my hand on your forehead, and make everything magically better, the way you always were able to do for me.
I keep being told you are no longer in pain. But the people who tell me this are here, alive. So how do they know what you are going through? I need to see and feel it for myself. Please give me more signs. I still, after 3 and a half years, don’t feel it- your peace.
Please reach out and tell me or show me that you are okay. Please.
I used to love this kind of thinking, and I can believe it for myself. I mean, right from the start, everything WAS rigged in my favor. I got you as a mom. That is absolute proof right there.
And I still experience so much goodness, and “luck” and beautiful happenings that make me feel so grateful and loved.
But what makes me angry is that I feel like everything wasn’t rigged in your favor. That’s what I wanted. Because you deserved everything in your favor more than anyone else. It makes me so sad how the string of events, especially at the end of your life, felt like they were completely opposite to being in your favor. Why did it happen like this?
Why to you? You deserved everything going your way. You helped all of us stay safe, loved, and cared for. It should have been given back to you many times over.
Maybe there is so much in this that I don’t see, that this was all for the good of you, that there were things behind the scenes that were happening that were for the best, the best for you. But I don’t see it. And I don’t know if or when I ever will. Because we just don’t know. We just didn’t know.
And I’m sorry I didn’t know, Mom. I’m sorry I didn’t know how to turn things around for you. I wish I did. I wish I still could.
I hope that somehow, everything is so rigged in your favor now that you are enjoying every moment, peacefully, happily, without any pain, without any worry, without any struggle. Just lightness, just love, just sweetness and warmth and safety. Forever taken cared of. It is how you made me feel, how your love made me feel, always. It still is.