Seeing my mother so weakened by the stroke brings out so many things inside of me.
I feel anger. Anger because she didn’t take her health seriously and instead waited for this to happen before she changed her eating habits. And anger because I find myself following her footsteps with eating unhealthily and falling off the wagon of the healthy lifestyle I am trying to make.
I feel pity. Pity that she will never be able to dance the way she used to, that she will never be able to run around with her grandchild like she dreamed of, that she won’t be able to pick her up and place her on her lap because half of her body barely works.
I feel inspired. Inspired because despite what she’s been through she still considers herself lucky for having a great husband and a great family who loves her, that she still feels thankful to be alive instead of six feet under after going through two strokes.
I miss my mama. I remember her as the woman who did everything and could do everything. Seeing her so frail breaks my heart. I sometimes can’t look at her in the eye because of all of these mixed emotions.
It brings out the raw reality that death is imminent and that life is urgent. We are at that age when our parents are getting older and older, nearing their own deathbeds. My aunt, whom I haven’t seen in ages, hugged me when she saw me and said “it’s a good thing you still caught us”.
They’re falling. Like fireflies burning out.
My generation – the siblings and cousins, the nephews and nieces – we continue the traditions of our clan. Organising the reunions, hosting the holiday parties, making sure our families are represented in the “presentations”.
When we were younger, my older sister and I were the dancing duo from our family, while my younger sister was the singer for our reunions. I have forgotten about that until I was reminded by my cousin during our Christmas party.
Our family didn’t have a representative during the party since I’ve forgotten that little tradition. But after seeing my nephews and nieces do their dance and song presentations, my little girl tugged my arm and said she wanted to do a ballet number as well – with parent participation.
So there they were, my little girl and my husband – the only two Caucasians in the clan – doing their little impromptu ballet rendition with matching facial expressions. I was so very proud. We’ve been represented.