Resilience was not a word I thought about a lot until a few days ago. Waves upon waves of bad news have been storming our homes for months now and my conservative South- Asian upbringing didn't include swimming lessons of any kind. But the more I think about this word, and let it roll over my tongue, the more I realize that I'm quite familiar with it. In fact, it's been growing wild in my warm apartment kitchen. About a year ago, on a sunny Monday morning, I married a wonderful man. Typical arranged marriage situation, except of course, for the very atypical global pandemic we are in. We first met at a generic coffee shop, taking off our face masks hesitantly for an awkward hello. We met many times after, always swapping stories over a meal and spent about three months getting to know each other before the date of our actual ceremony. Given the pandemic conditions, the usual jokes every bride hears about learning to cook before her wedding were passed over for repetitive concerns on sanitization and social distancing. I'm certain we discussed food preferences, but the early romantic fog must have kept me from clearly seeing just how important food and its preparation would prove to be once I moved out of my parents' home and into my own! I'm telling you this because I found myself thoroughly perplexed a few weeks later. Cooking, as it turns out, was more at the heart of a marriage than I had considered. I've seen TV dramas where the kitchen shelves are neatly stacked and all the appliances are in the right locations, but even the scenes that depict people actually cooking don't fully capture the emotion of what goes on in a home kitchen on a daily basis. I didn't know that I didn't know how to cook. I certainly didn't know how to cook a full meal for two people in the forty minutes between when I sleepily entered the kitchen each morning and when I ran out the front door screaming about being late for work again. The opportunities to make mistakes were so many – dicing the right number of vegetables, pouring an exact amount of oil, mixing in the perfect amount of spice and so on. At first, I found this daily task sitting restlessly on top of the heaviness I rolled around all day- the fear of a virus. I was determined to make excuses for my inadequacies. This pandemic, I can say with relief, is not something I'm responsible for. But my cooking is. And the more I began to view it as a therapeutic pushback against the devouring thing that lived across the floor from me, as a tiny act that expressed my love for my partner, the more it became an activity I could rely on rather than resist. So maybe I know a few things about resilience. It has been thriving since I've learned to ask “What would you like to eat today?”
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It is an odd feeling being fifty. Wrinkles are settled in now, and my body feels more flimsy by the day. An elaborate continuum of forgotten memories hangs by a thread. As time passes, my thirst for spontaneity dissipates. My brain is resistant like dusty cogwheels waiting for a spark. Looking around, many strangers I used to know now rest six feet under with an identical bouquet of flowers adorning an $11,000 gravestone. Some of their bodies were taken by the wind, drowned in the deep blue sea, or kept in generational attics. Looking back, I lost many jobs in my late 20s, but thankfully I had a second chance to restart my life. Today is my 50th birthday. A day I never knew would come so soon. Occasionally, I wonder how differently my life would have played out or ponder on old friends. Even at this instant, I can taste the bittersweet memories of nostalgia in my lukewarm cappuccino. Reaching into my pocket, I felt a terrible shock enter my body. Like a pinch too sudden and too painful to even breathe. Slowly I pulled out my hand with purple bruises and a pack of sewing needles. A series of flashbacks entered my mind. My mother had sowed, and her mother sewed, and before her, my great-grandmother sewed, and her mother before that. Funny how bits of my past somehow sneak into my present and future. The pain took me back to when I was a little girl sewing patches of all textures and colors onto my corduroy pants. Clothing was scarce then, and most of my blankets were quilted. Sowing became a part of me and followed me through adolescenthood when I joined the Craft Club at my school. During the second meet-up, I noticed a girl named Lila, with hazelnut eyes and brown hair, in the back of the classroom with a croquet kit on her desk. After introducing myself to her, we became instant friends with the everlasting promise of world domination. Our friendship ended abruptly when she told me she was going to study in Europe. I lost contact with her and thought about her occasionally over the years. Even now, her mystery plagues my mind in times of solitude and reflection. Today is my Birthday. My kids and grandchildren are waiting for me to come home and celebrate a year more. This morning has been my secret escape into the past, but now I must return to the present and finish my cold cappuccino. I reach the table next to me and grab a few napkins to place my needles in. It is an odd feeling being 50, but now I feel comfortable in my flimsy skin. My life has played out the exact way it should have, and now I must keep telling my tale so that my daughter and her daughter, and her daughter will tell it too.
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On a rainy day, the drivers hooked their horns while waiting for the traffic to flow again. Nearly 45 minutes to 60 mins of cars backed up from the highways, and the drivers began to be impatient with each other until the patrol police officers controlled the traffic, allowing people that get to their destination. Over by the pizzeria, Nicholas' Seeker, I begin my work shift by checking to see if screens need to sort out, restacking the boxes, grabbing sauces from the coolers, and refilling the parmesan and powder sugar shakers. As hours pass through the evening, orders flood the screens within minutes; Simon, the general manager, told us to kick into high gear. When I saw the food items flowing out from the oven, I suffered from a panic freeze and silently imagined daydreaming. Rosa and Lisa saw me freeze in my imagination and woke me up with a musical shake on my body. Immediately I woke up and witnessed food items dropping on the ground like a gumball machine. While they work on new and remake orders, Lisa, Rosa, and I speed us boxing orders as road runners dodge the coyote's traps. After four to five hours of rush orders, the screens started to clear, and everyone took a short break while eating, snacking, or drinking. While some days can run smoothly, there are days where it's out of control and let course take its wheel. That's why I kept pushing and let my mind run free. Next time we have rush orders, I'll bring my lucky pants and hat.
A peaceful and rapid rain poured over the State of Texas. People hook their horns to the nearest front cars while waiting for the green light to turn on. The ground begins to create puddles that spread wildly like a portal. Over by the pizzeria place, Nicholas' Seeker, Kyla clocked in to prepare for her shift. She placed her purse inside the office while grabbing her drinks from the oven. Kyla checks to see if anything needs to complete before starting her day. She became one of the recognized employees the customers enjoyed seeing daily. Everyone loves the smile on her face, which helps them keep faith that their day runs smoothly. One of the managers, Rosa, waits for her to take over the oven and layer a chicken box and bread box. "Hola!" Kyla shouted. "Hey, mama. I'll be back. I need a smoke break," Rosa said before walking away. "Gotta it. Leave it to me," Kyla said. The general manager Simon returned from the restroom and washed his hands before jumping onto the makeline and telling the workers to load the three ovens. The orders flood the screen, triggering the workers to kick into high gear and make these orders quickly. "Kyla, we're loading all three ovens. Let us know if you need help," Bella said. As the food items pile close together, she breaks a sweat and immediately needs assistance at the oven. Brie and Lisa ran to Kyla's aid to help her. "Brie, read the tickets, and I'll help Kyla," Lisa said. Brie nods and begins reading the tickets. Even with three workers, the oven pushes the food out like a vending machine dropping candy or snacks. Kyla's speed could be better, which makes her feel low self-esteem and silent from speaking. "Come on, Kyla. Let's push forward and worry less about everything else," Brie said. "How nice of you, Brie? I want to go fast like Sonic or Road Runner, yet I can't kick into high gear. I'm like a sloth, who sleep all day and night, and come to work feeling like a zombie," Kyla said while laughing softly. "Oh, yea? I didn't sleep last night because my neighbor committing a mistake in front of my house was okay. I came in two hours late from my shift time after finding out what they did," Lisa said as she laughed. Kyla and Brie couldn't contain their inner laughter and release it. As the last food items were boxed and sent to the customers, Rosa returned from her break and saw them sweating off their bodies. "Rosa? I thought you left," Brie said shockingly. "You said you promised to come back and left me to dust with these orders," Kyla said. "Well, excuse me, miss! I came in early this morning and carried these heavy boxes myself without help. Afterward, my back hurt, and I dislocated my ankle went I slipped onto the floor," Rosa said. The ladies looked awkward and walked away for a short break before another round of rush orders. Kyla sighed as she barely survived the short period of food items coming out quickly; however, with the help of her coworkers and managers, she managed to do little work while they picked up the slick.
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
I didn't know when it started or how it started. Or what was the real reason to happen for all of those things? No, in reality, I knew the reason. I just didn't want to accept it. Maybe, I was too scared to accept it, after all decisions that I had made. Now I think that it does not matter, I mean “the reason”. What does matter is that those things have happened, and have happened with me… I decided to talk about the period of my life that I have tried to avoid thinking about for a long time. To be honest, I had never imagined that situation, certainly, those feelings were going to happen to me. I think when all of those things happened, nobody knew or realized them. How were they supposed to know? Even I was shocked by those sudden feelings. Also from the outside, it seemed like I was living in my best time ever. Finally, I was a student at one of the prestigious Universities in my country. At first, it seemed to me that I had lived for this moment only. Unfortunately, it did not last long. After a few months in my first student life, those dark feelings became to walk inside me to the outside. I felt lost. I felt something wrong with me. I felt like I had missed an important thing, the thing that I should not miss. Then, after my lessons, to avoid those feelings I got used to sleeping, even though I had never been a fan of sleeping a lot. Why all of a sudden I changed dramatically? There was no answer. I became not to read books or not to watch movies, even music became to irritate me. I didn't understand myself… I just cried and slept… I hated every single thing and person around me. Before that, I had made too many plans for my future, especially, for my student life. But I could not remember any of them... It lasted long, I mean, the pick of my “strange feelings”. If at that time, Death came and took my life, I would say nothing, even, would feel happy for his coming and making me free from those feelings. I asked God to take my life because I did not want to make my parents upset by committing suicide. Then, after “years” of that period (it seemed to me lasted that long). I tried to find the strength to do my favorite activities again. Because it is the fact that despite those feelings I used to go to my lectures and lessons every day. Also, I continued to smile at everyone and make some jokes as well. I watched movies, but not like in old times, I just watched beginnings and endings. Because of it, I had a habit of watching various videos and news on the Internet, I had never had a mobile phone, so it was new for me. During my “searching activity”, I found interesting news about “The most handsome men in the world”. I was interested in who is the first one on this list and it was some Korean boy who I didn't find handsome. After that, I searched his name on Google and found that he is a member of a famous Korean boy band. I was really surprised and interested at the same time. Then I tried to find a few songs of them on YouTube and watched some music videos of their songs. The next day while walking to my University Campus on my way, I listened to their songs, and one of them attracted me, the rhythm was really interesting, although I couldn't understand their language. I watched the music video of that song with subtitles and the song was about "dream". And there were words like “What do you dream about?” For a moment, I just froze, as it seemed that question was given to me. I realized the thing that I had never done before was "dream". I had never dreamed. Yes, there were the things that I wanted to have, or wishes that I wanted to make true. But I didn't ask myself a question, the most important question “Are they things that I want?” After that event, I became to give questions myself “What are dreams?”, “What I should dream about?”, “What makes me happy?” Day by day I understood that all my old wishes, even University decisions were made by others. In other words, people around me affected me and the decisions every single time that I had never known before. The society in that I lived was the pressure and the reason to make me do this or that decision, which was sad… sad side of my life that I had been trying to avoid. I was limited by them and just said “yes” to all their offers without thinking. “Those feelings” were my hidden emotions which I had kept deep inside for a long time. This story is not about “my dreams”. It is about a song that I found accidentally. It is about the song that helped me to find my true way. This song is not the best song ever or something like that, for others it is just a simple song. But it was the song that could be the only light for me when I was in the dark. When even though I didn't try to help to find a way to escape from those feelings to myself, a song and a boy band became “my only hero”. It might seem unbelievable, but it is true, true story about an ordinary song that taught me to dream!
Year eleven is biding your time, playing Kelly Pool and stuck on the problem of the square root of minus one, which sounds more like poetry than maths. I get poetry but not maths pretending to be poetry. And not the teacher looking at me like it's funny that the boy who thinks he can do anything is defeated by something. Enough of this. It's time to catch the freezing midnight train to Coolabah. We make it to the station via a cigarette-smoked taxi. Here comes the rolling, banging contraption, nicknamed the Midnight Mole. I make my way to a dog box with a foot-warmer! So love these huge steel encased cylinders—full of acid and sand. I wrap my whole body around it to keep warm. A banging, shunting night of sleep passes. A station sign says Coolabah. It's just me with no brothers this time. Dad takes ages. It's hot. There he is: in his new Toyota smiling under that big hat. ‘Had some good rain,' he says, throwing my gear in the back with petrol drums. ‘Uh huh,' I say, looking around at red dust. We get into a cabin that's layered in red dust and smelling of gun oil. The ABC news is up loud and we're hammering our way along the red gravel road home. I doze off and wake just as Dad stops and gets out. ‘Look at this,' he says, examining some fresh green shoots. ‘Reckon we might have more rain on the way. ‘Reckon so,' I say. Another forty minutes and we're home: passing hundreds of acres of green paradise, kangaroos and sheep. A piece of livestock bliss that astonishes my sleepy sixteen year old eyes. As usual, while we've been at school, Dad—the magician—has conjured beautiful farm land out of thick masses of box and mulga scrub. Audacity is what this is. Mostly what I'm remembering is drought, dead sheep and misery. And then this grand plan: Dad bulldozing trees, windrows of dead timber and a green paradise. And field days with crowds of admiring block-battlers from all over. Dad parks the ute in the big shed. Days of stock work and fencing pass. Bruises and cuts accumulate. Clothes are torn. The lovely smell of red dust is in everything. A quiet day comes. I'm on a step in the shaded side of the house, facing the dam and the big pepper trees. This is a good think-time spot. The old black tom cat brushes past me. A thousand thoughts rush by. Just can't seem to get my head around it. Mum's gone. And look at this place! The filthy kitchen, the greasy dining room. The grime. Those old wheelchair marks against the door frames. This monster of a world seems to have a thing against us. Dad walks past and—in his friendly way—wants to know what's on my mind. I ignore him. He keeps walking. I'm sulking: rivetted on that red and green expanse and beyond that, the shadowy secrets of the box flats and the mulga: my painkillers. More days pass. We talk of plans for our other block, up north. ‘We've got some mustering to do at Bre,' Dad says, smiling. ‘Okay,' I say. The block at Bre is the one that's saving us. The ute is loaded with bikes and, of course, rifles. There's always plenty of pigs there. We make the hundred and sixty kay trip and set up camp. The stars come out. The fire is lit, the steak cooked. Such juicy steak! And we talk. Do we ever talk. The sulk fades. This big, fat beast called the world isn't so bad after all. If you have a go. Just jump in. Nothing lives long. Go hard as you can before it dies too. Even if you get killed in the process. Might as well. What else is there? Dad falls asleep. I'm by the fire, taking it all in. Especially the shadows and the way they play with the moon as she touches the skin of the trees, and those dead-pan, dead-still leaves. This my real home—here in the dark with the silver. Kookaburras announce a new day and away we go. Me on my bright green motorbike with a rifle and a pig that's going hard through deep grass. This is more like it. Bang! We've hit something. Up in the air, high over handle bars. The bike falling away. Crunch! Headfirst at a low angle. Face ploughing through dirt like a cow-catcher. Everything blanks out. I wake up. I'm alive! Tasting dirt and blood. Lying here for a bit under a hot blue sky, waiting. It's okay. Just need to find water, to wash the mouth out. Time for school. Back on the train. Feeling silly with this great scabbed face that's scrubbed the surface of the planet. What will they all think? And now, we jump decades into the present to a room and a chair by a fire: me, the old man growing old, together with his wife. Astonished at how Dad won my heart. And how he, the moon and Bre turned the shadows into a wonder. And even now, over there on the wall of this room: a photo full of shadows. A woman in a long dress (my son's wife) walking through a glade of trees like some great queen. And three children running and laughing: one of them—caught in mid-flight—her feet off the ground, like a faery floating on air.
Eke Sunday uche (born 26 May 2002), in Nasasrawa state, located in lagos state. Lagos island obalende, state of origin: Enugu State. Igbo Eze North G.R.A Know as frenzyscott on socia media. Frenzyscott grew up in a Christian family, frenzyscott attended Federal polytechnic nasarawa. National diploma(ND) Inwiew frenzyscott is into investment coinbase, and creating cartoon characters video game.
The gringa had lived in the Colonia San Rafael neighborhood of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for over thirteen years, gringa being the local word for an American woman living in Mexico. The old Mexican man with a limp reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin's "Tramp" had lived in the neighborhood too, probably his entire life. The two passed each other many times walking down the hill, and every time the old man saw the woman, he said to her in English that one word that he apparently knew: "mo-nay." Time after time, the same word, "mo-nay." She grew annoyed with him, thinking, "Is that how he sees me? As only a source of money?" It isn't that she never gave to people in need -- she did, often generously, whatever she could. It's just that his one word was so constant and such a habit that it really got on her nerves. Not wanting to encourage him, she either ignored him or said, "No no tengo nada ahorita." “I don't have anything right now.” And walked on quickly. This went on literally for years. At times it almost seemed like a joke between them, him saying "Mo-nay" and she saying, "Nope, nada." And then one blinding hot day, the sunlight bouncing off of everything so much that your eyes hurt, he said something different. "Mo-nay. Hun-gray." She stopped and looked at him, as if for the first time. It had never occurred to her that perhaps he actually was hungry. She felt ashamed, and she took him over to the nearest tienda and asked him what he wanted to buy. His needs were simple: a bolillo--a small loaf of white bread--and a Coke. She bought them and gave him twenty pesos for a refresco later. And she asked his name. "Rubén," he said. "Mucho gusto, señor Rubén. Nice to meet you. Soy Frances," said she. After that, their relationship was different. He no longer was some needy old man, he was Rubén. Sometimes when he saw her, he still said, "Mo-nay" but it was different now that she knew his name and so if she had a few pesos with her, she gave them to him with a smile. And often, before leaving the house, she remembered to think of him and would grab a couple of coins in case she saw him. Sometimes, when he saw her, he didn't ask for money, but asked, in a neighborly way, "A dónde vas? Where are you going?" Or, "¿Acabas de volver del Centro? Did you just get back from town?" And she would talk to him for a few minutes. One day he was walking down the hill with his customary limp that spoke of hip problems, and she said, "¿Adónde va, señor Rubén?" "Where are you going?" And he said, "Estoy caminando para hacer ejercicio y conocer a mis amigos.” “I'm walking for exercise and to meet my friends." And she thought, "Wow, he knows he needs to move his body and he needs to socialize." She thought about this unexpected friendship that they had, and what a gift it was that his presence in her life had helped her shift her perspective from seeing him as someone who was needy to someone who was her neighbor, living life in his way, making the best of his circumstances, just as she was. She realized that he had caused her to confront her own unconscious bias. This was a big step, and she wanted to memorialize it by having a selfie with him. One day he was walking up the hill at the same time she was. "Would it be okay to take a photo with you, señor Rubén?" she asked him in Spanish. He said yes right away. Halfway up the hill, they stopped and looked at the camera. She was wearing her pandemic mask; he was maskless and wearing his battered hat. She stood a little back from him to try to keep "safe social distance." The birds were singing in the tree behind them and she felt happy for this moment. It felt to her like an achievement. There's still a long way to go; no doubt there are many more unconscious biases in my mind and heart. But I, the gringa in question, will always remember Rubén and the gift he brought me. The cost of a few bolillos and some Cokes is a very small price to pay.
I recall resting on the couch,my fingers scrolling through the news,as I stared at every headline with droopy eyes.It rained heavily,I felt drowsy.My gaze rose up to the screen on the walls playing the same news which bored me.My finger advanced towards the power button,yet halted,as my orbs caught sight of the headlines.'Coronavirus'.My attention peaked, as my dangling legs touched the floor.My gaze travelled on the map, as the small spot, showed the new virus attacking civilians in China.My heart thumped yet I didn't fret. I knew it wouldn't last long. It killed thousands. A year passed.It spread like wildfire. Looking back,I was on the prayer mat, sobbing, but the flames burnt my heart with every cry.I mind the time, I thought it was a minor spread, yet I never comprehended that it would conquer the world. It terrified me. The sky dripped, as it cried tears with me.The virus swarming outside,hunting for another host to claim.I recall the last time I watched the news.It was hectic. Economies collapsed,people faced budget issues.Some fought the virus themselves.The whole world was cut off. My face hit the pillow. I flinched as I heard a knock. My swollen eyes met my mother's, filled with concern.I gazed down at the mouth-watering food she held, as my stomach churned, mouth dripped for its taste.I looked away. Mom:"At least eat a little. You'll get sick." She was right. I did feel sick. But I was stubborn.To my lack of response, she approached the bed cautiously as if trying not to startle me. I felt the bed dip as tears escaped my eyes, cascading my face. I felt her hands caress my back.I broke down. She embraced me. Mom:"Have patience. All will be well."She soothed me with her words.I finally spoke. Me:"Everyone is dying. She's in the hospital and I can't do anything!" My voice cracked as I whispered. My friend was fighting the virus. Mom:"There are always good reasons in the worst times." Her words made my heart drown. 'Every time, you're in your worst know that you are being tested.Tested for how much you can take, so you can face life.That is why there are good reasons in your worst times.' That's what grandma told us.She died when I was five yet I remember her like flames of a candle burning a dark room. Mom:"Do you want to go meet her?" I looked up to meet Ma's expectant eyes.I knew whom she was talking about.Of course I wanted to go meet her, but I was traumatized to even step out of the room, let alone go outdoors. I had lost a lot including classmates, teachers and closed ones.It felt as if I lost a part of me. I didn't feel like going out. I was depressed. Yet, I knew I needed to see her. She was the only one who could take me out of this misery, I just knew it. Flashback: 10 years ago. Multiple doctors gathered around her frail body, as I stood by the door, not being able to accept what was happening.My mother sobbed, and I didn't sense a thing. I knew gran had left us. Her last breath was deep, as if cherishing the fresh air for the last time. I was paralyzed. I just couldn't believe it. She'd left me.Forever. It was beyond my brain's capacity. The day before she was here, smiling and that day, she was no more. She died on 19th of July 2010.It was the first time I experienced the pain of losing love. End of Flashback Here I stood. Before my guardian's grave.My hero.My world. My grandma. At the end,she was the one who made me see the sun. Me:"Hello gran. It's been a long time. Sorry I didn't come.." I broke down as I sat before her. Me:"My friend's in the hospital. She's sick.." I recall letting it out. It felt ...good. I wasn't terrorized of the virus.I felt relieved.I felt the weight lift. I literally felt it. We sat in the car.I could feel ma's gaze through the rear mirror, as I met her eyes. Mom:"You feel better?" She knew I did. I didn't reply. I heard her sigh. Mom: "You know why you feel better when you're close to her?" My orbs caught hers, as I stared at her with curiosity. Why did I? Mom: "She always saw the good in every bad. That's why you feel better close to her. You know she'll always be there for you, even if she's not here with you." Tears appeared in her eyes as she smiled at me, before looking forth. I felt it. My mother was in pain, yet she always smiled, looking the best in everything. I remember hugging her.I remember feeling the breeze. It felt...good.I wasn't afraid anymore. Many had lost loved ones. I recall seeing my friend in pain, as I stared at her, helplessly. Now she's here, healthy. Every occasion is a test to see how far we could go. It occurs for a reason. That's what I believe. If someone close, left you, it just means God wanted to bring them to the world of closer to Him. I lost several loved ones yet I gained another star watching me from above just like gran. 'There are always good reasons in the worst times. If I am successful today, it is because these words made me strong.
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Through the years, my sons teased me about my good posture and how, while they were growing, I wouldn't tolerate slouching. “Mom's fault,” I'd say with a smile. Although no genius, as my sons often point out, they are also just as quick to comment on how much I do know. They call me a walking encyclopedia of nonsensical trivia. Once again, I shrug and say, Mom's fault.” While my mom was never what was considered a strict disciplinarian, when it came to schoolwork, she was tough. I remember as soon as I could talk, she'd drill me every me every Saturday morning. Using two pages at a time of the dictionary, she would read each word, emphasizing on its pronunciation, encouraging me to try and spell it correctly. Back then, luckily, the dictionaries were small. Mom kept track of the words I misspelled in order for me to study them for the following Saturday. By the time I reached Kindergarten, I found it easy to read whole sentences. Soon, my “home education” expanded adding Math to my list of things to learn. After my spelling and reading lessons, Mom gave me wo sheets of paper with arithmetic problems to solve. Mom never confined her idea of teaching to just schoolwork. She believed in a healthy mind and healthy body. While I'd be pouring over homework, if Mom saw me slouching, she'd quietly walk behind me and gently t ouch my back. With one finger. Without one word spoken, I would immediately straighten to a more proper position. For about five minutes a day, three times each week, I would have to stand with my back against the wall. “Touch your heels to the wall. Now, your butt! Head up and back; shoulders back! Stomach in!” I know, I know. She sounded like a drill sergeant, but it kept my posture intact and my spine straight. Most of my friends learned to cook while their moms stood at their sides verbally instructing their every move. Mom's method differed completely. Handing me a recipe, she'd back away. Her reason was simple. Anyone can mimic; anyone can follow step-by-step instructions as each is given. It's more important to read and comprehend. As she often said, “Following a receipt teaches you to learn to follow any instructions.” However, she remained in the kitchen with me – just in case. Mom believed in teaching by example, not by using a bunch of words. Too often, my friends heard their moms say. “Do as I say, not as I do.” Never once did I hear that phrase from my mom. I also never heard the more familiar, “Because I said so.” Mom would often take me for long walks in the park, weather permitting. At times, we'd go for a train ride to the local zoo or museum. Once a month from June to September, mom and dad would pack a lunch and we would head to the nearby lake for a picnic. In addition to schoolwork, mom taught me to appreciate the beauty of a flower, the wonder of a rainbow, and the compassion needed for those less fortunate (like the WWII Veteran who sat legless on the street corner begging for a few cents to help him get by. Even tough money was tight, we never passed him by without Mom dropping a few cents in his little tin cup. She also taught me that although life is not perfect, we must strive for that goal and not be disappointed if we fail. Mom taught me the appreciation of demanding work. “After all,” she said, “the harder you work the more you appreciate the end result. If things came too easily, we would take those things for granted.” Yes, mom taught me many things: reading, spelling, love, and life. Now, here I am in my seventies. Mom passed away a number of years ago but even at my age, I am in good health. I still sit properly, and my back is straight. While I never went to college (as I said money was tight), my knowledge and education about what matters is exemplary. I am not afraid to tackle new projects and while I strive to succeed, I don't sulk if I fail. I just change my attitude and try again. My sons now, are grown with families of their own and emulate Mom's parenting as much as possible. I insisted on rearing my children the way Mom reared me, with compassion, understanding right from wrong, a thirst of knowledge, and fun in doing everything. I have been a good mother and teacher to my sons (they told me to say that), and I can see what wonderful husbands and fathers they are in every way (their wives tole me to say that!). Mom would be so proud of them. The reason for our successes in maintaining such happy homes, I feel is simple. It's Mom's Fault.
What is the Lesson? I have always looked for lessons in everything because I know there is one. Quarantine started on March 16, 2020, for most of us. Everything was closed, shut down, and put on pause. It felt like our world was shattering, and during this pandemic storm, a tornado formed with pieces of our life, creating a trail of sorrow in our path. It started with my grandfather becoming bed ridden after a stroke he had earlier in the year. He obtained a bad case of pneumonia and his health deteriorated drastically. During a safe visit with my grandparents, my daughter and her brother went outside to play tag. The driveway was slick and sent my daughter sliding fast where she landed on her knee and cut it to the bone. Despite the risks, I rushed her to the E.R. where she received 11 stitches. As the tornado of life slashed through without ease, I watched my family pull together despite feeling conflicted no matter which way we turned. We were terrified deep within because the world was in a state of emergency. But, we held onto what we knew, and that was the love of our family. The world can't take that away. So, we held onto each other and made the most of each day. Not long after, schools canceled for the remainder of the year, leaving all kids homeschooled. Since schools and social gatherings had been stopped, all of my daughter's dance competitions (already paid for) were canceled until further notice. As if the rain couldn't give us a little sunshine in our path, our dog of six years, Bailey, got into poison from somewhere in the neighborhood and the vet couldn't save her. We had to say good-bye. Then, one evening after dinner, we were entertaining who could jump the highest on our trampoline and I came straight down as my ankle rolled underneath my body weight. To this day I do not know if it was broken, sprained, or fractured. I never went to the Doctor. And to top it all off, on Easter, several real tornadoes hit all around us. We were extremely fortunate and lost power for four days and counted our blessings for that. Using a generator, we managed to save some food and use lights in the house as well as help our neighbors with power. The schoolwork was put on hold unless we used a hot spot from our cellular devices. Here I am two years later looking back on all of these things that happened but remembering the precious times with my children and loved ones. Times that I hope they remember too. It is during these times of trial that we find our strength by lifting others. I am grateful for each of these events because it instilled some of the most beautiful memories and lessons during one of the most terrifying times. None of us knew what was to come, but we took one day at a time and made it an adventure every day. Each one of the “fortunate events” led to something amazing. When my daughter was hurt, she couldn't have danced, so the competitions being canceled was a blessing in disguise. Because our lives were put on hold, we had gained the most precious time with my grandfather before he passed away peacefully over the summer. We can never get that time back and for those moments of life on hold, I am thankful. My ankle healed, like all things do with time. Though Bailey's death was an experience filled with sadness and sorrow, we were given more time with her, and I know she knew how much she was loved. Sharing emotions together is a beautiful experience. Homeschooling the kids was a challenge, and I know others out there can relate. I kept them on a schedule because I know how important that is. I also made sure to sit with them and give them my undivided attention, making that my priority. I heard them when they would tell me, “My teacher doesn't do it like that,” or “I don't want to do this!” Even when they asked me, “Why do I have to get up early? None of my friends do this.” I understood. Listen to me. I will never give up on you, children, and you cannot give up on yourself. Never be a victim of your circumstance. Taking Time Is Okay Some of the most beautiful memories are created during the hardest times, and sometimes, the depths of our sorrow can create a beautiful world of happiness.
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