Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Celebrating life

Pass the chocolate, today I'm celebrating life. You might remember, today is the day, I don't dwell on it, or spend too much time agonising, it's over and she would've wanted me to go on living happy. Today I choose to celebrate my mother and Helen's life as well. Gone too soon, she's left behind a loving husband and three kids who will have to go on without her.

This could be a piece where I rail against cancer or unfeeling authorities who keep us in this state but I won't. Sixteen years later, I'd rather celebrate my mother who was a really great lady; who loved her family, who worked many hours a day to keep us fed, clothed and educated. My mother who stayed up late to sew clothes, bake cakes for school bake sales, finish work that she brought home . Sally, who put up with my father's rages, his cheating and his lies. I don't know why she did, but she did and died unhappily in a hospital after suffering for years. But she would have done anything to make sure my brother was okay and taken care of, she was kind and considerate to her parents, at work she was considered the best. For twenty years she worked for the same company, through their good times and bad; in return when she got ill they kept her job open for her, until almost the very end when we all knew she wasn't going back. And then, as a mark of their respect for her, they made sure that her affairs were looked after so that we didn't have to. I still remember her work friends crying at the funeral and the huge arrangement of flowers with her beloved orchids, the kind note from the boss's wife.

Ironically, it was through death that I got to know Helen; she was the lawyer who helped wind up my father's affairs after he died. My friend Carrie worked with her and asked her to help, she was a dream. I'd seen her around, we used to play mas in the same band and she and her husband visited the bookstore that I hung out in. We all got to know each other pretty well and over the years we dipped in and out of each other's lives. They were obviously in love, they had kids, Helen pregnant had a large stomach otherwise maintaining her rake thin figure. We all envied her like crazy. Always pleasant we shared some good laughs; I found her to be an intensely private person, devoted to her family and her job. Like my mom she was extremely well respected at work, highly spoken of by colleagues and clients alike.

It's easy to get bogged down in all the negativity in life instead of celebrating what we have. There's an exercise we do as part our team building exercises. Everybody is encouraged to think of three good or new things and share them with the rest of the team. It's amazing how hard people find it come up with three things. Everybody looks for grandiose stuff but really, it's a great way not to discount the good things that happen in our lives. Try and see what you come up with. For all my "angry" blogs, I'm really not wedded to the idea of being angry all the time. I'd rather have a good laugh with my friends, sit and look at the ocean, pet my dog and poke fun at the X-man; it's much better and a heck of a lot more fun.

Look at yourself today, are you hanging on to baggage; are you living on what ifs and maybes? Are you waiting for tomorrow to do all that stuff that you want to do? Are you dwelling in the past, rehashing every failed moment without learning from the experience? Do you beat yourself over your head with all the negative things that people say and do to you? Why accept this as how it should be. Live your life for yourself, don't allow other people to define you. Seize the moment and live in the now. After all, yesterday is a memory, tomorrow an unfulfilled promise, today is all you have.

6 comments:

Cliviaalana said...

i seem to be surrounded by illness and passing these days.. and thankfully im acknowledging that lesson...celebrate life..love fiercely NOW...cause the chance to do it later may not come...

Thanks wallah..right on time!

HPD said...

You know how my mother died. I love the way you remember the good things. The things that made your mother the person she was and is. She was stronger than us. Maybe even stronger than she was. Because she did it for you kids. Man. Love is a good thing.

AA

Wuzdescene said...

oh gosh girl ... amen fuh your blog yes ... cuz after I done rant and rave in my spot ... I just love to come here .... and mellow out .... and take eeeen a different view :-) ...

Coffeewallah said...

Thanks guys, good to know that the stuff I write means something to somebody else.

AA, I so understand about your mother, it's always harder for those who have to go on living. I talk about my memories even though many of them are painful because there are so many bad moments in there. My mother willed herself to die because she felt she had nothing to live for, but I choose not to dwell on that otherwise.... I don't know. Thanks for all your support, it makes it all worthwhile you know.

"Scene, to think I read you for the same reason some days!

safespaces said...

thank you so much.

Gabriela García Calderón said...

Celebrating life... we aren't used to do so as often as we should.
I can see your mom was a one of a kind. Fortunately, you keep the best memories of her. She may have been smiling when reading this post.
As for me, my mom is still with us. THANK GOD POR HER! She buried my beloved dad at the the age of 38(he was only 41), then she had to move on with three little children. And she did it with no complains.
Five years ago, my older brother had cancer. He is no longer with us. Since then, my mom lives with a bleeding heart, I can tell it even though she never complains.
How lucky I am, in spite of all my losses, for having such an exceptional woman around me. As you are lucky, in spite of you loss, for having had such an exceptional woman around you.
All the best from Peru!