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 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 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.
I’ve been trying to get over my fear of singing in front of people, so I’ve been going out to Karoake more often. I still get nervous, and can be hard on myself in terms of how my singing voice comes across, but I try to remember why I am doing this. It’s not supposed to be just about pleasing others, or about comparing myself to others. But just about using my voice to reach others, and to reach something deep down in myself. And to bring it out. But mostly, I want to sing for you, and I need to keep reminding myself of that. That keeps it real for me, or unreal, depending on how you look at it.
Unreal because I want you to be able to hear me. I hope you do. I hope you hear me and it brings you peace and happiness. I hope the resonance of music and my voice making it transcends this supposed boundary between heaven and earth, between you and me. Even the songwriting that I’ve been dabbling in lately is for you.
I was sitting next to this guy at a sushi bar a couple of years ago in Seattle. And we got to talking, and he said it really well when he said something like, “The funny thing is that the more you sing and create music, people will think the songs are all about some guy, some big love and heartbreak in your life. But in fact, all the songs will be about your mom, and people won’t even realize.”
And he’s right, except for the “people won’t even realize” part. Because I am going to tell them. I will make sure that as much as I can, I will be telling people about you, telling them that the songs are for you and about you.
The one I want to learn now is called Simply the Best by Tina Turner. Because that’s what you are, and will always be- the best. One of the hosts at the karaoke places sings the song a lot. She does such a great job of it. And even though it is an older song, she just makes me FEEL it, when she sings it. And so now, it is in my head often. And you are in my heart always. And I want to blend the two together to sing You’re Simply the Best for you, my mother, the best thing that ever happened to me.
Thank you for being my mom and for giving me so much love and kindness and sweetness in my life.
This song, and all other songs really, are for you.
“You’re simply the best
Better than all the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone I ever met
I’m stuck on your heart
I hang on ever word you say…”
Guess where I went AFTER dance class this time, instead of before? Khane! Yes, I know I said it’s only a few steps away from my zouk class, but I usually would drive out to the zouk social after, if I have the energy to do any dance. But you know what I danced instead last night? You’ll never believe it. Rasra!!!
No really! You don’t believe me, do you? Or maybe you do, because you were there somehow in spirit and were the reason I even got the urge to do it?
I did tell everyone that I was joining the rasra circle for you, my mom. It’s true. And I was with a whole bunch of boody mas- older women. And men, too. But mom, some of these women can dance!!! How do they keep it up for so long? I was exhausted after just a couple of songs. But these women in their 60’s and even older were just going on and on and on. And with a LOT of energy!
That dance takes a lot of cardio. Man. I had my zouk class before then, but we move in a less jumpy way. This rasra stuff was definitely taking my breath, or pumping my heart. And when you do it properly, it really works your calves. Who knew?
This older woman in front of me was trying to teach me, because I seriously felt, and obviously looked, lost when I first joined them. And because I am a dancer, I wanted to not just get through, but also do some impressive turns and get the feet in rhythm and all of that. It looks easier than it is, for sure. But I tried to get some spins in there to see if you might feel that energy, if you might be able to feel the reverberations of it. Of me sharing it with you.
I am sorry I didn’t have sherbet. You know I never really liked that stuff. Maybe without the nuts and stuff. I like stuff a little plain. I did have cake though. Just for you. It was not as good as your cake though. No one’s ever will be. But that’s okay. Yours and you will always be my favorite. Nothing can compare.
So yeah, if you haven’t already guessed, I went out there because it was Kushiali- December 31st. They had a cake to celebrate Hazar Imam’s birthday. My friend and I were laughing because the candles weren’t being blown out. We were a bit worried that they would just let them die down on their own on the cake.
I don’t know many people at all in that Khane. I felt out of place, to be honest. Not in a non-welcoming way. But just in a “what am I doing here?” way. And then I remembered- I am celebrating for my mom. I am sorry I didn’t celebrate Navroz enough with you, Mom. I just never resonated with it. I felt disconnected from it. But I see now that it would have just kept us more connected. Given us more of an excuse to share more memories together.
But now I cannot bring back those days. I cannot turn back time to change the opportunities that I missed. All I can do is celebrate them with you in another way now. I hope you can feel it, somehow. I hope you know that if I had the chance again, I would get out and have cake and do some rasra rounds with you, and even have sherbet. Anything to spend more time with and around my mom. Now I can only hope that you are surrounding me in another way.
Love you, Mom.
I’ve been playing my guitar, and it’s all really thanks to you.
Do you remember that time that I came to your place with my little three quarter acoustic guitar? And I barely knew how to play two chords. G and C, I think. Or maybe it was D and G, just because I couldn’t get my fingers to sit comfortably or accurate along the frets on the C chord.
I sat or almost stood on your couch. And I was just strumming the same two chords, very badly, I might add. But mothers never see the bad, do they? At least you didn’t. When I stopped, and got frustrated, there was not even a hint of relief in your voice. I would have thought that anyone would have been so frustrated by the noise I was making. But not you. What did you say?
“Don’t stop. Keep playing. It sounds so beautiful. You should play in the Ismaili band.”
Haha. Mom, you could always make my heart melt. And on that day, I had no idea how much your words and that moment would mean so much to me. I had no idea how much that moment- your smile, your encouragement, the furry feel of that blue and orange plaid kind of blanket on the couch, and the warmth of my mother’s home would soak into me. It had to. It has to. It is no longer there. I can’t believe that was only a few years ago. Another part of me can’t believe you have been gone over two years.
I have two guitars now, Mom. I still have the small one and now I also have a classical guitar that a friend gave me. He wasn’t using it anymore. I play that classical one more because the strings are softer and the book I am practising from is geared towards classical guitar music.
I don’t play or practise often. But I know I won’t ever give it up. My mother taught me never to give up. Your voice, urging me to keep playing, stays in my heart. I wish I could have played some songs for you- full songs. Not just a couple of chords. But I know that the chords were somehow just as beautiful to you as any complete songs. Because you just saw and brought out the beauty in me your daughter. It didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do. You just love me for me, and all that I was. You heard the music in me before I even brought it forth. You heard the songs before the were even played.
And so every strum, every note, every practice that I do practise is for you, Mom. I will write some songs for you, to tell the world about you, and to also connect to you. Whether it’s with my guitar, with my keyboard, with just my voice or a combination of them. Or even if it’s just with my heart, I am going to make this music reach you somehow. I have to.
If you have been near me, especially in the past few days, you would have felt the surge of hope and energy and light I felt at reading this new book Crescendo, by Amy Weiss, I heard about through the Hay House World Summit.
It is precisely about this- about the power of music to transcend life and death. That there is no death, just transformation, and many lives. It’s a beautiful story, Mom. I want to believe that you are at peace, and flying and free and resting, resting from the pains and worries and heartache that you may have felt in this life. I want to believe you are always with me, but without any fear or hurt or regret or worry. I want to believe I will see you again and again. And I wish that I could give a copy of this book to everyone around me.
And you know what the character’s name in the story turns out to be, right? Aria. Somehow, I don’t think this is any coincidence, not just for the musical themes in this book. Of course, that was intentional. But also that we have an Aria in our lives, in our family. But I’ll save that for a whole other entry. A whole other story or maybe even a whole other life. Many lives even. 🙂
I love you, Mom.
Thanks for the music, for making me believe I can create my own songs. All I want to do is to reach you through some of the magical notes, chords, sounds and silences. I hope you can hear them, hear me, and feel me. I just need to know you are okay, that you are well, that you are taken cared of and at peace.
Every song and melody and note is for you.
Love, always and forever,
I ended up going to Khane yesterday. The funny thing is that I wasn’t planning to go, but guess what? The dance studio I really like to go to is only a few steps away from downtown Khane, literally.
I arrived at the studio earlier than I thought I would, and I had about half an hour before my class. So I walked into Khane just after first Du’a had started. And I sat downstairs, near the door, so I could make a quick getaway.
I know that sounds bad. It’s not that I wanted to get out of there, or that I didn’t enjoy any of it. But I have to take baby steps in getting into going there regularly, so I don’t overwhelm myself. And I didn’t want to be late for dance class.
This is the second time I have done this- gone into Khane before class. I go in dressed very casually, but it works just fine at Drake. I like that non-pretentiousness about the Khane in downtown. It’s a nice feeling too, to not put any pressure on myself to have to sit upstairs in the prayer hall. I just sit on the chairs downstairs, and end up sitting next to interesting people who either have little babies, or are unable to get up the stairs as easily, or maybe, like me, they like to sit away from the rest of the crowd.
Yesterday, there was a man who sat next to me with the cutest little girl. She was clinging on to him with her tiny little hands, and her little feet were all warm and cosy, covered up in the most adorable pink slippers/socks. I just kept thinking about how you would have loved to play with her. Little kids always made your face light up. And kids seemed to like you too.
There was also this older man sitting closer to the door. When he came in, he took off this thick woolen toque with a kind of native print on it. And under the toque, he had a very bald, shiny head.
I also noticed younger girls come in- in their teens and twenties. And some of them wore beautiful beige or black heels, while others were in comfy runners. Some had perfectly streaked hair- gold and deep browns and reds highlighting their heads. While others had nose rings or jeans on. I loved the variety of people and outfits that walked through. There was no set way of what you should look like or how dressy or not you had to be. The feeling was just come as you are. And that’s what I did.
You would have been proud of me, Mom. I didn’t cry once during the Du’as this time. I did think of you every moment I was in there, more than I already do each day. And that is a lot, trust me. But I tried to just soak in the details of what was around me, just be in the moment, rather than getting down on myself for not concentrating or not sticking it out until the end. Oh yeah, I kind of left in mid tasbih, I guess you could call it? See, I don’t even know the terms. I think it might have been Chandraat yesterday, because everything was more delayed and more involved than a usual khane day. And I could have sworn they said something about Chandraat majilis in one of the announcements, but again, I could totally be wrong. I haven’t been keeping up on what is happening on which day.
I felt badly for leaving before it was done, but I was glad I went at all. And I think that is what I am going to keep in mind- the small steps I take to just surround myself with a little bit of that spiritual peace amidst the surroundings of the faith I grew up in. It did take dance to get me there. And you, I’m sure. But if it wasn’t for my dance class being so close, and being at such an optimum time for me to get to khane quickly beforehand, I would probably not have been there.
It seemed silly for me NOT to go, the way the universe planned it like this. Dance Me Free. That’s the name of my blog. Dance is even bringing me spiritual freedom, bringing me close to our place of prayer, giving me more incentive to sit with “my peeople” -haha!- (too funny, because anyone who knows me knows that “my people” are not restricted by any race, religion, colour or culture. I am so fascinated by diversity and multiculturalism. But, you get what I mean, I think) and connect with your strong beliefs. To connect with you.
Who knew that Dance would bring me more spirituality not just from its healing and its powerful movement of energy, but also bringing me back to my childhood place of prayer.
Although I was a little late for class, I am sure that something about the peace and prayers that I spent in during that half an hour at Khane, somehow got me more connected and at peace in my dance class, in my dancing, definitely in my body, and in the moment.
I told the owners of the dance studio that you, my mother, probably is thanking them for choosing that location for a studio. For helping me to find my way back “home” in some sense.
Thank you, Mom. You were and always will be my home. So really, I am just always trying to find my way back to you and your spirit. I will try to still be open to allowing Khane to be one of the avenues that will get me there.