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.
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 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’ve been going to karaoke a lot lately. Though I have lost my voice from overuse or holding emotions in my throat (that’s a topic for a whole other blog post), I still like being around people who sing. And I am hoping to get my voice back to itself or stronger sometime soon.
The trouble is that songs years ago, that I really liked, and could have sung now…well, some of them are too hard to sing. Not because of the complexity of the song in my voice, but the complexity and utter anguish that it causes in my heart.
Did you know that my go to song when I first tried karaoke a few years ago was always Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. It’s a great song, and fits well in my voice. But I can’t finish the line that says “If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time.”
Yesterday, I was at a ballet class in the morning. It was tough, even though it was a beginner class. My body is just not used to those kind of movements and I definitely don’t have the strength and flexibility to gracefully glide or fly or kick across the floor the way some of the other students do. But I try to remember that I am there to strengthen my legs and just improve myself, not compare myself to everyone else.
I would have found it so easy if I had continued with ballet as a kid. Remember Miss G? Oh my God, she was horrible. ‘Jaduree’, you probably called her. She was, but on top of that, she was just so mean! How were we supposed to know how to do the moves if she never showed us? I just remember her banging her cane on the dance floor yelling at everyone.
It is understandable why I left those classes. I never thought about how I got there though, each week. How the classes were paid for. How you would have to wait for me or drop me off or how much of your own time and money and energy it took to give me the opportunity to learn to dance.
It is the same with music. The piano lessons I took every Sunday with that other tyrant of a teacher- Miss R. Now she was not fun at all. But you put up with all of it just for me. I never got to thank you for that, Mom. I never got to thank you for giving me these lessons that you never had the opportunity to learn yourself. And though I didn’t continue with piano or flute or ballet into my adult years, I wanted you to know it all made a huge difference. It really did.
I have a keyboard now that I try to create my own songs on or practise other piano technique on. And I know how to read music because of those lessons from childhood. And this has helped me so much with singing, guitar dabbling, and even just made me more appreciative of listening to music.
And dance is still a huge part of my life. Maybe I didn’t continue with ballet a long time ago, but I was given that spark to make me love movement and music and expression through the body. And here I am going back to ballet class, as an adult, after so many years. This time with more positive, active instructors that I can be inspired by. But still, I see how expensive the lessons are, how much time it takes to get to class, and what kind of sacrifices other family members make for the younger students to get the chance to learn dance, or any other arts.
Thank you so much, Mom. Every lesson opened my mind up to something new. Every lesson was more testament to your desire to give me the best and make sure I knew that could have and do just as much as anyone else.
It made a difference, Mom. It is still making a difference.
Thank you for investing in me and my passion to create and explore and learn to express myself.
I wish I had shared it with you more. I wish you had been given the opportunity to explore all this yourself. The healing and stress relief and fun that comes from it would have been so beneficial to you. Now, I can only use the lessons and my appreciation of it all to honour you and create art and music and dance to tell people about you and how lucky I am to have you as a mom.