As long as we live in this life, there will be happy and sad days in our life path. But it seems that our happy days passed very quickly. Therefore, we should live every minute of our happy days with dignity. We will have sad moments, but our sad days have helped us to become stronger. Such days have also happened in my life. But I had a mother who turned my sad days into joy. I was interested in reading books since I was young. For this reason or another reason, my eyes began to give a little warning in the upper classes of the school. I had to turn to a doctor because I had trouble studying. As a result of the doctor's examinations, it was said that I have a slight defect in my eyes. They told me to undergo regular examinations to get rid of this disease. The doctor also gave me glasses. After that I started wearing glasses. Every day when I went to school, my friends used to make fun of me when they saw that I was wearing glasses. I would be very upset about this situation. Only my mother understood me. When I returned from school in a bad mood, my mother tried to comfort me. But I knew that my mother was also worried about this disease and would help me to recover as soon as possible. As a result of the following examinations, we heard the news that there are positive changes in my eyes. Hearing this news, my mother was more happy than me. We continued the course of treatment. Thanks to my mother's efforts, my eyes began to see the world clearly and clearly again. I stopped wearing glasses. I was very happy about that. Because I was lucky enough to see the beauty of this world with my bright eyes, not behind a mirror. I am grateful to my mother for this. Today is July 28, my mother's birthday. We will spend this day in the circle of the family in an upbeat mood. We want to give my mother an unforgettable gift. Of course, my mother will be happy about it. I love my mother. Take care of your mother too, friends. Because mother is holy.
The screech of brakes momentarily stopped Sandra's heart. Instinctively, as only a mother can intuit, she knew something awful had happened to Warren. Letting slip the dish cloth from her shaking hands, not caring anymore about the chore, Sandra sprinted out of the kitchen. Her heart once more stopped for five long seconds when she saw the open front door. “Dad,” she called to her father, “where's Warren? Warren!” she yelled for her six-year-old son. He was mildly autistic and tended to wander off if unsupervised, which was hardly ever, but this afternoon she had left Warren in the care of her septuagenarian father, assuming he would be safe. Before she reached the door, her father said, “He's in the garden, Sandra. But don't worry; the gate's closed, dear.” Sandra nearly stumbled upon sighting the open gate which led straight to the busy road that ran in front of their modest two-bedroom council home. Warren was nowhere in sight. Behind her, Gavin stepped out of the house to follow his daughter. The old man was shocked to see the wide-open front gate. “Sandra,” he called out, “did you find Warren?” The old man was now beyond panic; not seeing Warren in the yard where he had last left him caused Gavin's breathing to increase with the onset of heart palpitations. “I'm checking the road, Dad,” Sandra yelled as she stepped out into the street. Her worst fears were realised when she saw her son slowly rise to his feet, mere meters away from the front bumper of a stationary panel van. A crowd had surrounded the scene. “Dear God!” Sandra gasped upon spotting the blood pouring from a deep gash on Warren's forehead. His left arm was bent at an unnatural angle, clearly broken. With a heartrending scream Sandra ran to Warren, reaching him just as he tumbled back to the ground. “Mama. Van bump Warren,” he said before passing out. “Ma'am, ma'am. Please, let me put him in my van to take him to hospital,” someone said to a distraught Sandra. She looked up at the stranger, her brain making the connection that this was the driver who had knocked her son over. Before Sandra could fling recriminations and curses at him, he said, “He came out of nowhere, I swear!” Picking Warren up gingerly, Sandra said curtly, “Take us to the closest hospital,” not trusting herself to say anything more. Sandra felt she had buried her heart with her little boy. She stared at a framed photograph of Warren, tears streaming copiously down her cheeks. “How can I go on without you? You were the love of my life, Warren, my whole world,” she sobbed on the third night after his interment. Minutes later she fell asleep, only to wake to a warm glow in her room. “Mommy, I'm here, always. God loved me so much He wanted me with Him, but He told me my spirit will be with you forever.” Sandra stared in disbelief at the vision, convinced that she was dreaming. But then she felt Warren's small, soft, baby hand wiping away her tears, and with his touch, a profound sense of calm descended upon her. “Be happy for me, Mommy. I am whole now,” Warren said, smiling that special smile of his. He embraced Sandra in a comforting hug before slowly vanishing from her arms. As if her beloved, departed son's touch had healed her broken heart, Sandra's tears welled up anew. This time, they were ones of gratitude for the merciful miracle she had been granted. Six months later, Sandra sat beside Warren's grave, holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers she had lovingly created. Sandra gently replaced the wilted flowers in the graveside vase with the fresh arrangement. “Hi, beautiful boy,” she greeted Warren. “I feel your presence nearly all the time; I know you're no longer in pain. I've got news for you,” she added with a smile. “I'm getting married next week, and I'm pregnant. You were my special gift, Warren, and this new baby will learn all about you. I promise.” Sandra left the cemetery with dry eyes, her heart overflowing with immeasurable love and peace. Image: Courtesy of Nancy Herrendoerff
Before the pandemic, I lived in New York City. On one of my mom's visits, we were sitting side by side on the subway heading downtown. I think we were talking about what to do about dinner that night. Suddenly she turns and asks me, “so, how many men have you slept with?” I'm used to questions like these coming out of the blue. Luckily, she says it in Greek. I began to argue with her, also in Greek, in a half-empty subway car, in the middle of the afternoon… about sex. Particularly how it wasn't really any of her business. “You came out of me,” which is her argument whenever I ask for privacy. Which I'm certain is a Greek thing. “Just tell me that there have been men!” She shouted. Was she asking if I was a lesbian, or if I was a virgin? “It's just sex, it's like a sausage going in and out, it's no big deal.” She was calling me a prude. “Okay, please stop talking, I have had sex,” I might have shouted in English, my mother then sighing in relief and going quiet. I would be remiss if I didn't say this is how most of our conversations go; me exasperated and mortified, she going silent or moving on to some sort of small talk. Our relationship has always been a tug and pull, mainly between my mother's traditional Greek ideas and values, and my yearning to be just like any other American Girl. My mother only come to the country in her early twenties, newly married, and not knowing one word of the language. Even so, she adapted to some American thinking and raised her three daughters with notions of getting an education, being independent, and never having to rely financially to anyone; especially a man. But some of the greek traditional ideas leaked through now and again. And then the entire world stopped. I was in New York when the pandemic came to the United States. We quickly became the epicenter of the crisis, sirens wailing at all hours, make-shift hospitals being pitched up in Central Park, and millions of people all around us completely devastated. It became too much for me. I started having panic attacks, not sleeping, and worrying about how I was going to survive. New York is expensive at the best of times, so I decided that it was best to move back home to save money. So I'm back in my childhood bedroom living with my mom and our cat Violet. I'm 30. I quickly had to set some ground rules. See, mom doesn't really know what a closed door means. She comes into my room without knocking. This would not work if I was in the office in the middle of a zoom meeting or filming a self-tape or writing. So I had to explain if the door is closed, you cannot come in. No, you cannot come pee while I'm showering. Have I mentioned my mom is bad with boundaries? She thinks I'm messy because I leave plates in the sink and she has accused me of loving Violet more than her. We've had a lot of difficult talks. Some even about sex. I told her about a guy I invited to stay over after we stayed out really late; how he offered to sleep on the floor and that nothing had to happen. “So he slept on the floor, did you give him enough blankets?' “No Mom, he slept in my bed because I wanted to have sex.” My mom shuttered. “I thought you wanted me to tell you about this stuff?” “Yes, but not all at once, Niki.” She's learned about online dating which she calls appointments for sex. Which I encourage because it's hysterical. On our family trip to Greece the summer I was 13, my aunt, my older cousin Eleni and I were sitting in a cafe. A really obnoxious sports car drove by, I think it was lime green, and my cousin said how much she liked it. Without a second thought, my aunt told my cousin, “if you marry a rich man maybe he'll have a car like that and you can ride in it.” I was shocked, so I asked my aunt, “why couldn't Eleni get a car like that for herself?” She looked at me with pity, “that's harder for girls to do.” My mother would never have said that to me. If I wanted a fancy lime green Ferrari she would say, “you'll have to work very hard.” I realized how different the two women were. My aunts do not know how to drive a car, they don't own their own property, do not have a bank account separate from their husbands, and don't work. Leaving in her early twenties made all the difference, not just in how she carried herself and lived her life, but how my mother raised her daughters. I'm brave because she was. I'm moving back to London in September and my mom is not very happy about it. She's just always going to worry about me when I'm somewhere alone with only me looking out for me. That's just the way it's always going to be, because I'm her kid. We keep having our hard talks, she keeps walking into my office without knocking. But we make sure we have an outing every Sunday, and she makes me laugh because she's the funniest person I know. And we talk. I haven't told her how many men I've slept with but I put the dishes in the dishwasher now. She's still learning about boundaries. And that's okay.
Abeera Khan, a seven year old kid, with bright eyes and an innocent soul, was born to an elite family. Her father, Farooq Khan, was someone the child had never known or met in her entire life, for he lived in California with his second wife. Abeera's mother, Saira Ahmed, was an incredible woman regarding business and negotiations, but not so much regarding motherhood, for she spent half her lifetime overseas. So, from birth, she was brought up and raised by nannies and caretakers. With a broken yet rich family, Abeera was blessed with everything in life and yet, she lacked everything in life. Ms. Sakina Begum was Abeera's nanny since birth and Abeera has always been the closest with her. The two played together, learned together, danced together and sang together. With Ms. Sakina, Abeera could always sense a mother figure near her. “You want to write something about your favourite flower, Abeera?” asked Ms. Sakina gently. “Yes but promise me you would play dolls with me later,” replied Abeera in a demanding tone. “We will surely play, dear. Now, come on, let's finish this together!” The door of Abeera's room suddenly opened and there came the sight of a sophisticated-looking, tall and prideful lady, who was none other than Abeera's mother. “Ms. Sakina, how's Abeera doing? Has she finished her homework yet?” “Not yet, ma'am. But she will finish it very soon, it's almost done,” replied Ms. Sakina in a panicked yet assuring tone. “Good. I have some important business in Delhi so, I will be gone for a week or so. Take care of her meanwhile,” said Abeera's mother, asking Ms. Sakina to take good care of her daughter while she was gone. But what Abeera's mother never understood was that, Ms. Sakina has been continuously taking care of her daughter since birth and there was never a “take care of her while I'm not around” sentence to begin with. Then, Abeera's mother approached Abeera and gave her a small kiss on the cheek and left the room afterwards. Ms. Sakina could see through her corner eye, on how Abeera's eyes followed her mother's presence until there was no longer any trace of her shadow left. “I will take care of you. Don't worry, my dear.” On a random Friday, Ms. Sakina was just sitting on the swing outside. Until, she heard approaching footsteps nearby. “Abeera! How are you doing? How was school!?” asked Ms. Sakina excitedly, as the young seven year old buried her head in Ms. Sakina's chest and wrapped her arms around her. “Good,” she smiled. “Guess what, I have got a surprise for you,” said Ms. Sakina cheerfully. “I have a surprise for you too.” “Oh really? How about you tell me about your surprise first?” asked Ms. Sakina, giving a little touch on Abeera's nose with her index finger. “I want you to be my mother,” said Abeera while having the biggest smile. “I'm sorry, honey. What did you just say?” “I want you to be my mother, I will be your daughter.” “But honey, you already have a mother. Why would you need me to be your mother?” asked Ms. Sakina out of confusion. “No, I don't have a mother. Mothers stay with their kids, they love them, they bake cookies for them and they read them bedtime stories. My mother doesn't do any of these but you do. So, you're my mother,” said Abeera, with her big and bright eyes looking right through Ms. Sakina's eyes. “But, you know I can't-” “No, I won't listen. I can't listen to you. You are the only one who can be my mother,” said Abeera shakily and started sobbing. Ms. Sakina became extremely concerned with Abeera's request but her motherly and affectionate instincts kicked right in, for she pulled Abeera into her arms again and went, “Shush, shush, dear. Don't cry. I will be your mother, I will be your mother.”
Gayatri had a basement in her house. It was basically a store room for all the old discarded things. If Gayatri ever needed to replace anything in her house then first she would look for its replacement in the store room below and if found something useful then she would use it. One day, she realized that a bulb in her kitchen wasn't turning on. "Well it seems I am going to need a bulb", she said to herself, "Let's see if the basement has one." and she went to the basement. In the short time of her reaching the basement, all the sleeping old things woke up after hearing what she said. These things would always get excited when Gayatri needed something and they would get anxious to see who will finally leave the dirty store room. In fact, all of those things used to pray for such a circumstance to come when Gayatri will need something and finally they will be put to some good use rather than living there , because some of those things were living in that pile of garbage since a very long time. And among those very old things was an old dirty glass bowl. Aside from the fact that it was dusty, the bowl was actually beautiful. It was small and had designs of the flowers fantastically crafted on it! After knowing that Gayatri was coming down in the basement to look for something she needs, the bowl woke up from a long sleep and said to himself with deep hope, "At last! Gayatri is coming here after a long time! I wish at least today she will notice me in this pile and who knows? She might pick me !" Upon hearing these words, a lamp hung above the lying bowl, opened and rolled his 'flashing' eyes on the bowl, he laughed at the bowl's unrealistic hope and said, "Stupid! Did you not hear Gayatri's words? She needs a lamp at this moment and that's what she is coming to look for here, so obviously she is going to find out that I am a what she requires more than any of you. I will finally be free from this pile of garbage and live in Gayatri's kitchen to brighten up the surrounding! So tell me, bowl, how can you hope so foolishly for her to pick you? What would Gayatri do with you?" A smile appeared on the bowl's face by the lamp's question but the smile had a bit of sorrow in it. He answered, "My friend, Gayatri was just nine years old when her aaji (grandmother) bought me for her. She used to make Gayatri's favourite rice kheer and feed it from me to her. Gayatri loved eating by her aaji's hand and I loved watching them being so happy together. Some time went by and our beloved aaji passed away, both me and Gayatri were sunken in sadness. As the days passed by, Gayatri stopped eating kheer as her aaji was not there to make it and feed it to her which eventually made her ignore me. A few more months passed and while rearranging some of the things in the house, Gayatri's parents accidently put me in this store room, since then I have been living here. I still remember the laughter, the joy Gayatri had with her aaji and those memories are the only thing giving me hope that someday Gayatri will notice me and I will share those precious memories with her again.", the weeping bowl looked at the lamp and said, "You asked me what would Gayatri use me for? But my friend, sometimes the memories of the past attached to a thing are worth more than its use for the present." The lamp, after hearing this, regretted acting rudely with the bowl and in an instant he decided to make up for it! He flashed his light so brightly on the bowl that the light was getting reflected off its glass! At the same moment, Gayatri entered the store room. With light shining so bright on the bowl, she noticed the bowl first, not the lamp! She came forward and picked up the bowl. After staring at it for just few moments, her eyes filled up with tears... As if the bowl was radiating the rays of memories, she recalled all the happiness of the childhood and more importantly, she remembered the smile of her aaji, as sweet as the kheer she used to make. For her memories' sake, Gayatri decided to clean the bowl and take it with her. Before leaving, she also took the lamp but suddenly, the lamp went out! "It was working just fine when I entered!", she was confused and even tried turning the switch on and off but nothing happened, the lamp wasn't turning on. "Ah! It must have gone off just at this moment. Never mind, maybe I should just buy a new one.", Gayatri thought and left the store room with the bowl, but before leaving with Gayatri, the bowl expressed his gratitude to the lamp, "Thank you friend! I won't ever be able to repay your debt! But tell me, why did you turn off yourself on purpose when you could've also left this place today with me?" The lamp smiled and answered, "Because my friend, I realized my true purpose today! Instead of living upstairs, I would like to stay here and enlighten the priceless memories hidden under this dusty precious garbage!" And Gayatri shut the door of the store room. THE END.
Last night I dreamed about my foster mother. She was wearing a white sari with a blue border, and she looked sad. She passed away in 2008. It has been almost 15 years; I have not forgotten her for a moment. I lost my biological mother when I was only nine months old. My mother's stepmother, Mariyam, took me in her care and became my foster mother. Ten children were born in my foster mother's womb, but unfortunately not a single child survived. After my mother passed away, my maternal grandfather took me from my father, and then gave her the responsibility of raising me. When I was a child, I used to call her ‘mom,' later, due to everyone's continuous reminder, I began to call her "Didi". I did not see my maternal grandmother. Because she died before I was born. So, Didi was my mother and grandmother both at the same time. Didi was medium tall and an incredibly beautiful woman with a pair of deep-black eyes, and thick eyebrows. She had wavy-long hair, a pointed nose, thin lips, fair skin, and a betel leaf shaped small face. She always wore light colored cotton saris. She was used to chewing paan (betel leaves) with lime, betel nut, and tobacco leaves. Her lips were always red because of betel leaves juice. A sweet smell came out from her mouth when she spoke. She was kind and generous, and always tried to make others smile, even when she was sad. I get upset all day when I see Didi in my dreams. Didi's life story was full of sorrows. Her parents died when she was young, but she had a sister. Her sister got married at an incredibly early age, just like other Bangladeshi girls were married in 1940. Two years later, Didi's sister was killed by her husband for his second marriage. Didi's father had a huge land, but her cousins possessed all of those. As a result, Didi was mentally depressed all the time. Didi has brought me up with utmost love and care. Her love was unconditional. When I was young, I was often sick, and Didi had to face a lot of suffering for me. When I was nine years old, my father took me to him for my bright feature. At that time Didi always cried for me and became almost mad. After my marriage, most of the time Didi stayed with us and took care of my children. She raised my children in the same way she raised me. Didi always looked stunned and upset because of losing her parents, sisters, so many children, and finally her husband. There were also various age-related diseases. As a result, Didi became very weak and could not remember anything. She could not walk properly. Her arms and legs were shaking always. After the age 60th, she became anxious for death. She wanted to die in her husband's house. She did not want to stay with us anymore and moved to her husband's village home. There she lived with her husband's youngest son Altaf, whom she raised. She lived almost 70 years. But her death was very tragic. One night there was load shedding at home. A cup lamp was flaming on the floor. Didi got down from the bed to go to the bathroom. It was winter. A shawl was wrapped around her body. Maybe a part of the shawl was hanging inadvertently, and suddenly the hanging shawl attached to the fire. She did not understand anything at first. At one point, the fire started blazing. Didi's whole body was burnt in the fire, and she died on the way to the hospital. The next morning, my aunt gave me the news of Didi's death over the phone. My uncle's house is about 15/16 hours' drive from Dhaka. It was not possible to keep Didi's half-decomposed body in the village environment for so long, moreover, I did not want to see her burnt face. I wanted to keep Didi's acquainted face in my mind. So, I did not go. But I went with my family to make her exequy's program after forty days. Before that, when I went to my uncle's house, Didi was always busy taking care of me. Although recently she could not do it herself, she gave instructions to my aunties. The house, without Didi, reminded me more of her. My heart was crying for her. In my life, there are lots of memories of Didi and I will never forget those! Didi passed away in 2008. It has been almost 13 years; I have not forgotten her for a moment. She is present throughout my being. When I think about the sufferings of her whole life, my eyes fill with tears. God seems very one-eyed then. He floats someone in the sea of happiness, and floats someone in the tears from birth to death. Why did not make Didi's life a little happier! I believe Didi is living in a better place than before. God, please... please keep my Didi always happier in heaven.
The Cathedral Post Office, Uptown, Manhattan. I was walking along with others on the 2nd floor. Each of us was carrying one or more large boxes. We are all mail processing clerks. Our duty was shorting, scanning, and preparing mail for distribution. Job started at 3am, but I always came at 12am. Because my home was too far away. The outbreak of the pandemic has just calmed. Many offices and companies were still closed, and people were facing an extreme financial crisis. My husband recently got a job, but the salary was low. Before this job, he got an unemployment allowance. I didn't, because I was a student. I earned money by working at a study job before COVID 19, but that opportunity has closed. All colleges are online now. It was hard to continue education with only my husband's income, so I joined the postal job. I worked at night and attended online classes during the day. “Are you okay?” Someone asked to see me standing. “I couldn't walk,” I said in a scared voice. “What's wrong?” “I had a terrible car accident last week. Everything was fine, but today I'm feeling a lot of pain in my knees." She helped me to sit down on a chair. After two hours my older son (28 years old) took me home. My doctor told me, “It happened because you didn't get enough rest." After the car accident, I should have taken a rest for a month, but I continued my job because it would become permanent after three months. Eventually, I lost my job and we had to move out of our apartment due to financial difficulties. Then my husband became sick and needed surgery. Despite all this, I didn't give up on my studies, but I was always worried about how I would continue them. After that, I managed to get through three more semesters through various struggles. I'm just on the verge of graduation now. But my misfortunes haven't left me. New critical problems have arisen in my life. I got an urgent call from my doctor before the Fall-2022 semester. She told me that I have heart blockages and that she has scheduled for an angioplasty at Mount Sinai Hospital on August 25. I was extremely disappointed to hear that. My classes will start on August 25. If I die or become sicker from this treatment, my dream of earning my degree will not come true. I only have one more semester left to graduate. So, I didn't want to go through with the procedure. My doctor told me, "Your life is more important than your studies." I couldn't tell my doctor how important studying is to me. When I was nine months old, I lost my mother. My stepmother stopped my studies in the middle, and it took me more than two decades to struggle. In 2015, I moved to the United States and started my studies through the GED program. It wasn't easy for me because I had been out of studies for a long time and English was not my first language. On the first day of class, my teacher asked me some questions and I couldn't understand or answer anything. My eyes filled with tears, and I told myself that I wouldn't come back to class the next day. But I did. Within a week, my doctor called me again. She gave me some medical tests a few days before. After receiving the reports, she immediately deemed my angioplasty as urgent. She said that I could have a stroke at any moment. When the doctor confirmed that I would be able to go back to my classes within two or three days, I agreed to the procedure. After the angioplasty, I had various health problems. In addition to the blocked arteries, the doctor found blood clots. It was a little complicated. When I got my senses, I saw the nurse holding a part of my right arm tightly because the bleeding was not stopping. I left the hospital holding my right hand tightly because I had class the next day. But I was so sick that I couldn't go to class the next day. After three days, I started attending classes regularly and doing class assignments along with household chores. At that time, I had to take so many medicines that I always fell asleep and forgot everything. I felt a lot of pain in my right hand. I often forgot to take medicine on time and became sick quickly. My whole body was filled with big blue and black spots that looked like injury marks. But I was happy when I received my final grades. I got four "A" in four subjects (two were A-)." I am thankful to my kind professors for considering my hard work. My bad luck still hasn't spared me. Right after the fall 2022 semester, my husband twice contracted COVID-19. He was extremely sick and quit his job. I have faced so many difficulties since starting my studies that I am now afraid "will I be able to finish my last semester of graduation!" But I feel that someone is constantly helping me from behind. He brought me back from death's door five times and protected me many times from the conspiracies of my stepmother and dishonest people. So, I believe that he will help me fulfill my dream this time too!
Grace moved from England to Montreal as a war bride in 1945 where she raised her 4 children. Melanie was the youngest daughter of 5. Melanie's oldest sister died during the Blitz of London. Melanie was given a diary when she was 8 years old. Every night before bed she wrote in her diary and she turned to it as if it were her best friend. Melanie describes in detail what life was like for her. When she was 17 years old she boarded a plane with her mother to return to Lullington Road in Dagenham England to visit her Gran and Grandad. This is where she met Tony, the boy next door. A boy Grace did not approve of. Melanie, quickly fell in love with Tony and by age 19 they were married. Tony and Melanie moved to Canada to start a family. They had a son and twin daughters. Melanie was diagnosed with breast cancer that spread to her brain and she passed away in 1999. She left behind a son of 16 and twin daughters aged 13. I am Melanie's youngest daughter. She had written nightly diary entries until she died. During the pandemic I began to read the diaries and the trauma of such profound loss spilled out of the pages and into my lap. Life's bitter grasp of grief that had been clenched around my throat after her passing began to loosen and I discovered who my mother was. I discovered the love story between my parents and the reason why my father never recovered when she died. How was he truly to live without her? During the pandemic I held the weight of her diaries on my lap like a thousand pounds of brick and decided it was time to heal from the trauma that had ruled my life! I created a blog and through the pandemic I was reunited with my mother who left me behind nearly 25 years ago.
When I was little, I spent a lot of time on my mommy's lap. Listening, laughing, loving. For me, her lap was the safest place in the world, not to mention the most comfortable. I used to look up and admire the diamond pendant that hung from her neck. I always thought it was the most precious thing she owned, although she told me I was more precious but I don't think I ever quite believed her. One day, she turned me to face her and said that she would be sending me on a treasure hunt. No, this one didn't involve sweets or chocolate covered eggs, which greatly disappointed me. I watched her reach behind her head and unclasp the shiny chain. I was bewildered. Never before, not for as long as I had been a permanent resident of her lap, had I ever seen her take her pendant off. She looked down at my bewildered expression and laughed. Taking the diamond in her hand she held onto both sides and twisted. Just when I thought the sky was falling and it was officially the end of the world as we knew it, the diamond capsule opened revealing a heart. The heart was little and shiny. It looked like something I could easily loose and so I kept my hands on my lap and stared. The heart was somewhat incomplete. Well, there were pieces missing and a few chips on the edges but it was still, in so many ways, whole. I looked at my mom's face to see her smiling down at her hands and telling me that there, clutch between her fingers, laid her whole heart. At this point I wondered if I had somehow positioned myself incorrectly on her lap and I was somehow cutting off the circulation to her head because obviously mom wasn't feeling too good. There was no way her whole heart was that small. I mean with the amount of love she said she had for me, that couldn't possibly hold it all. Just before I reached over to feel her forehead she told me that it took her her whole life to find all the pieces and that still today, she was looking. She said that the most part of her heart, was me. By this point I was very confused. Then she tipped it over letting the small heart fall into her palm, leaving it's diamond case. Then she lifted the chain with the now empty diamond case and reached forward to clasp it around my neck. Still holding the little heart in her hand, she looked down at it and told me about the grand treasure hunt that would be the rest of my life. She said that I should go into the world not looking for but always ready to see and receive the love and beauty that awaits me everywhere I go. She told me to always try seeing the little hearts in everyone and remembering how much love they have the potential to hold. She said that sometimes they may be chipped like hers and missing a few pieces but they remain whole and will hopefully never break. Only later did I learn that my heart would also obtain a few chips and holes but like mommy promised, it never broke and it came with great healing and lessons. She said that I'll find most of my heart in myself and the rest from everything around me. She said that maybe one day I'll have my own children that will take up most of it. She said to protect it, like a diamond case and to give as much of the love that it holds away. She said that she promises that although it's small and fragile and may get lost or misplaced, that it will never 1. cease to be mine 2. run out of love to give and 3. run out of space for more. So, with the diamond pendant, that I promised to protect with my life, I would find the rest of the pieces of my heart and hold them in the diamond case close to my chest. I knew I had already found the first pieces from mommy's love and with that alone, I had an endless supply to share.
In a few minutes, we reached Blue Path facing the low level of the grounding avenue and we stopped momentarily on the edge of the fountain. I noticed the day was marvelous. The sun was dying like a fat red bull behind the mountainous rocks; the birds were flying in circle around themselves and the wind from the open land seemed to kiss lovely through the huge trees and palms. The voices of people and of children coming from anywhere and made everyone more touchable to walk through the park. As we began to walk through the bridge, and as impassive as my little Tabby was, the river was running below. As mysterious as its enigma emerged to us, my little Tabby held herself a little. And suddenly, without any reason at all, she asked me, “Do you think I came from a river, Mom?” Imperiously, I tried to distract her by showing her a single fish at that moment he was swimming towards the deep water; but after a few moments, she asked me the same question again. “Do you think I came from a river, Mommy?” Somehow, I hated the monotonous method of explanation, the 'no-mistake' world that does not product anything else than a gap between an adult and a child. It was mattered to me and it was impossible to hold her any longer. I turned and looked at her. And slowly I began to explain her that she did in fact had come from a river. A small one, I said. “That was located between Spring and Autumn.” “Really, Mom?” she said. “How come? Can you explain it to me?” “Well,” I began to say. “Look at this river—” She turned and looked down at the river. “I'm looking at the river, Mom. Now what?” “What do you see?” She moved further and glanced down at the river. “Water...” “And?” “Lot of fishes and water, Mom.” “And?” “Weeds and lot of fishes and water, Mom.” “Now do you see this single fellow fish?” “Which one, Mom? There are so many of them?” “The strong man.” “This one, Mom?” “Yes! This one!” Then I began to explain her that many years ago there was a fish wandering up and down through a river like this one. He was alone and he did not have any kingdom and land. But he was a handsome fish and he was ready to be a king in this new land. That day he began to swim all day along until he entered into a black whole filled of sands and weeds. “As that one, Mom?” “Yes, like this one.” And he was surprised to see many fishes already gathering around or swimming toward a large tunnel guarding up by a group called Feeders. But our Handsome Fish was ready to be king and he didn't care about them. After an arduous battle he crossed the main floor of the tunnel; and then so imperative, he began to move through it. He turned his eyes back to see if the other fishes were behind. Yeah. They also were moving closer after him. He began to swim faster and faster. Until several feet ahead, there was a second gate surrounding by millions of fishes who have the same idea of his to pass the second guarded gate and reached the desirous throne. As they were beginning the difficult journal, Our Handsome Fish saw a second group called The Fish Knights who would make ever more difficult to trespass such gate. Because they were the only who had been authorized by the Fish Queen herself to kill any intruders. But the Handsome Fish was strong as well as smart that they had never seen one like him around and he was determined not to let them to eat him alive... My little girl Tabby interrupted me and asked who were really those Fish Knights and why they were guarding up the gate. Ah they were the tinny creatures who were designed to that purpose and their main job was to defense the queen against bad fishes. Then I said, “As you see, Tabby, there must be only one fish to be crowned as king.” “Oh!” she said as she stared at him quietly. Meanwhile in the two ways beneath the bridge goes out into the sea there was the entrance of the cattle. There was a glorious battle took place. The Noble Fishes and the Fish Knights began to fight. At this instant, Our Handsome Fish moved faster, followed by a Fish Knight. The Handsome Fish jumped into a sloppy wave and moved his arm desperately to reach the lighten hall. He saw an open door, just as Fish Knight was a foot away from him, Handsome Fish dashed into the lighten hall and fell himself against the soft carpet and began to laugh. And at the same time, the golden door closed behind him with a sound. And when those fishes reached the guarded gate, there would be one among them who would be able to pass through it. “Who was them Mom?” “It was Our Handsome Fish.” “How he would become a king?” I told her he would be first a Prince; then, inside the cattle after too much trouble, he would be crowned as a king. After that he would show everything else against it would close until the next season. “Was that the way I was born, Mom?” my little girl Tabby asked. I looked at her smiling. “Not only you, my sweetheart,” I said. “But each one of us.”
How do you mentally prepare for the imminent possibility of your mother's death? How selfish am I to even be consumed with this question? So many people live, find happiness and thrive despite having lost a parent or more. Some much younger than I am now who had a much harder time even understanding the loss they mourn. My mother was one of those. She was a baby only about 10 months old when her father died. She didn't even get to really know him and remember him. Have smells tied to memories of him. Have places, things and people tied to memories of him. In a way that may have made it easier for her. Yet it also gave her a void that could never be filled. It didn't help that her own mother was so caught up in grief that she never shared stories or spoke much of her father. I honestly don't know how to be on this earth without her here. I didn't think I'd have to be worrying about this inevitability for many years to come. Thought I'd be stronger and more prepared for it by then. Ha! As if that's even possible. She was the first person to love me. My first friend. Best friend once I was an adult. She taught me how to cook and bake. She nurtured my creativity and tried not to get too bored or annoyed with my analytical side. She went to every game, concert, play, you name it, that I was in. She was there, in the audience, supporting me, cheering me on. She is always honest with me, even if it hurts. She lets me make my mistakes and won't say “I told you so”. She stands up for me when no one else will. She is my safe place to land. Don't get me wrong as much as we have a loving relationship, she can drive me nuts too. We've both had our “I'm through with you moments”. Only for a couple hours or a day or so later to make up. No matter how bad it got or how much it seemed like we couldn't overcome, we did. That's what love does I suppose. I even told her the other day; I'd rather be in a fight with her right now than have her in the hospital because at least I know how our fight will ultimately end. I know my mother is a fighter. She's fought death more times than I can count. In fact, she wasn't supposed to live past the age of 2 because of a congenital heart defect. Every time she comes into the ER, they think she's not going to make it (to be fair she has flatlined several times before) yet she pulls through. If you're going to bet money on a long shot that has a good chance of coming through, it would be her. I just worry, when does that resolve give out? When does she hit her 9th life? All I know how to do is hope and pray. Try to keep my spirits up around her (thank you drama class) so she might believe and fight that much harder. I hate feeling helpless and fearful but perhaps that is my lesson. Not sure I'm in the mood to learn. I guess we never really are for those things though. As my great grandmother would say I'm going to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” Still don't know how to fully prepare though, if that's even possible. Update: This was written 16 days before my mom eventually succumbed to her health issues last October. Those 16 days were a roller coaster of good days, where we believed she was on the mend and making progress, proving all the doctors wrong (as usual), and then the horrible days like the one where we had that heart wrenching conversation with the palliative care doctor. I've not been able to overcome the grief of her death. So, I'm sorry I can't relay any lesson I've learned. All I know is every day when I wake up and remember she's gone my heart sinks and my eyes water. I still don't know how to be in this world without her. How can I, when she took such a huge piece of my heart with her when she left?
I posted my labor story on my blog. If you'd like to check it out, don't worry, I didn't go into great detail, haha. Check out my website if you're interested! I'll be posting lots about my cute little boy!
Stop!!! Don't go!!!! Please!! I can't!!!! I won't!!! Please!! They're no easy way to say my angel got wings almost a year ago on Dec 5th. Dear lovely mother, You were my best friend, you were my mom... All I can say is come back... But if only that was that easy, I don't know how this works but I hope you know I miss and think about you more than I got say out loud. In many ways I blame you... But in a lot of other ways I blame myself for you being gone or even the life I made and changed for myself. If only, if only I could change I would I would beg on my knees if I could see or even hug you again. There is no easy way around you being gone. Besides saying my angle got wings. I imagine you just flying in the sky watching over me as I sleep keeping the nightmare always. I remember the nights that you cry in pain from being so sick and me wanting so bad for you just to feel better and now you do but it hurts more now with you being gone. Call me selfish but I want you here. I still hear you some night when I can't sleep. I wake up and I feel a hole in my heart where you used to be. I remember when we used to play board games at 3 am. I remember us eating ice cream. I remember holding your hand. I remember going to the hospital to visit you l, I remember when they told me you got your angel wings. I miss you... Love your daughter R.I.P J.R 7/7/77-12/5/2019
As an African leader to be, I identify proper management of natural resources as an opportunity or rather the best approach to promote African intra-trade which will, in turn, unlock agricultural potential in the entire African continent. Rapid urbanization is indeed taking place all over Africa although most African countries still endure numerous challenges like adverse climate change which hinder agricultural potential. Depending on the situation, climate changes can have either positive or negative effects on the environment, people and agriculture. As a leader in a bustling African metropolis, I have to approach this situation in an innovative way to ensure that climate change challenges are solved through appropriate management of natural resources. Generally, adverse climate changes in African countries have caused havoc and hunger since time immemorial and this situation is yet to change. Mismanagement of natural resources has greatly limited the potential of agricultural sectors in various economies entirely in Africa which has prompted global inter-trade while crippling African intra-trade. The African continent is globally ranked top for its great heritage in natural resources and I am a firm believer that if these resources are utilized appropriately, vision 2030 would be a real deal and not farfetched. Climate change challenge which is a great impediment to agricultural potential is as a result of Africa not conserving its natural resources like forests which are water catchment areas and trees which help attract rain. Harsh climatic conditions which at times cause either drought or floods in Africa will be prevented if natural resources are not abused for selfish gain but instead well managed by respective authorities to sustain African intra-trade. Cartels and corruption which are major threats to Africa's agricultural economy make management and sustainability of natural resources difficult. I recognize efforts by African leaders to boost African intra-trade. For instance, “In March 2018, African countries signed the African Continental Free Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which is a commitment by African countries to remove tariffs on ninety percent of goods, liberalize trade in services and address a host of another non-tariff barrier. If successfully implemented, the agreement will create a single African market with not only enormous financial potential but also the enormous agricultural potential of over a billion consumers with a total GDP of over $3 trillion. This will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world” (Songwe, 2019). This is a good move, although much needs to be done. My Innovative approach would be, centralization of the management of natural resources and agriculture i.e. from the country level to continental level as this would be the true basis of reviving and promoting African intra-trade. For example, the African Union could consider establishing a body and formulating policies to govern natural resources in entire Africa as this would ensure sustainability. I, therefore, conclude that natural resources must be well managed and preserved in order to tackle agricultural challenges in Africa, promote African intra-trade and unlock agricultural potential in the continent. REFERENCES Songwe, V. (2019, January 19). Intra-African trade: A path to economic diversification and inclusion. Brookings. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/intra-african-trade-a-path-to-economic-diversification-and-inclusion/
“THE THINGS I LEARNED DURING QUARANTINE LIFE” When you think back to your first day in lockdown, what were your fears, worries, and hopes? Are you the same person now than you were at the beginning of all this? What has changed about who you are and how you view the world? Before the lockdown was implemented! I was living a ROBOTIC life like most of us; I knew I had to make CHANGES; I knew I had to inculcate certain habits to make those changes, I knew I had to START… but I just kept living almost as if somebody had put a socket and a battery in me and I switched it ON every morning, did the routine stuff, and then switched it OFF at night to go off to sleep. But, the lockdown changed things for ME, or maybe it was just ME, who pushed myself to changed and take change. This lockdown gave all us a great opportunity to grow, at least; I will always Thankful for this lockdown. This lockdown taught me some important lesson of life, which are as follow: The thing I learned is that, Everybody is a treasure in them. They do not need to keep finding that treasure in a loved one, job, money, fame. Don't get me wrong here. I don't mean that relationships are not important and that other humans who we bond with to form relationships should be discarded to discover yourself; or that all jobs are worthless. What I intend to says that Humans, we forget to validate ourselves, in a world when people feel validated only when OTHERS COMPLIMENTS THEM or OTHERS TELL THEM ABOUT THEIR STRENGTHS, They will very quickly feel invalidated when those some OTHERS WILL CALL THEM OUT ON THEIR WEAKNESS, BELITTLE THEM, CRITICIZE THEM, that is why it is important to find the treasure within YOU. I'm still in the process of doing that but it has been a wonderful and empowering Journey. One more thing that I learned is that whatever you wished for maybe some years ago. You can bring it to action today. We will witness so many writers, actors, singers, musicians, chefs, designers, programmers, painters, and the list is long, showcasing their talents. Also, large friction was of people who discovered their new talents. Many gained new skills through practice and hard work, talking about my self. I like to write because it allows me to focus on something and help me relieve stress. I enjoy writing because you can write anything based on how I feel at that moment SAD, HAPPY, ANALYTICAL; anything can become good writing, I like to write because it is a way for me to express my thoughts. During this lockdown I got time for myself to polish my writing skill, as I'm a stay at home parent .so, I couldn't be able to find time for me. So, I just wanted to use this lockdown period productivity, and want to do something different for my career. So I have completed online courses on a different topic, I have started my career as a creative writer. I have also started my blog, where I can post my thoughts and my experience. I would love to write about POSITIVITY, HEALTH, MOTIVATION, and RELATIONSHIP. I have also worked as a guest blogger for different platforms. I believe that bringing a child into the world and focusing on his or her needs through infancy is a worthwhile goal. But as your child gets older and begins preschool or kindergarten, you may find that you are interested in returning to a career or getting an education. So this lockdown is a golden opportunity for all of us especially for the stay at home parent to grow and develop your career. This is my suggestion that you could also write about your quarantine life and things you learned during this COVID-19 pandemic. Good luck.