I was never close to my mother. I have yet to come across anyone that accepts this without judgement. Warm, generous, beautiful, with impeccable taste in hospitality, home and fashion, she was loved by all who knew her. Overwhelmed by people’s reaction to her, in my childhood, I chose to disappear into her shadow instead of basking in her light. I recall we always seemed to spend twice as much time in the Church yard, than attending the hour long Mass. Ignoring my impatience, people would flock to her, each with a story that she attended to patiently, giving hope where needed, encouraging when all seemed lost. People seemed to get more comfort from her than from the pulpit in the previous hour. It is not surprising, as a young widow at 46, she became a pastor in her later years. Although the kind of Christianity she espoused, the kind that promotes and values prosperity, was too far away from the magnanimous one I was raised with. Our discussions on her new and literal understanding of our faith, were fierce and fiery. One day we reached an agreement. We would not discuss religion. And, we never did.
I observed my mother closely. Always did. And, in my pre-teens and teens, I moved as far away from her social persona as I legally could. I felt I never measured up to her expectations, so I made sure I was successful at this. As I age, it becomes more obvious to me, I had observed her more closely than I realised. I now know, one observes for a reason and because of interest. Ironically, it is the very essence of what I do for a living. Those observations have led me to where I am today. I am now living in her light. The light she shone before she was born again.
Roses remind me of my mother. I have an indelible memory of watching her drape a pale pink silk chiffon sari effortlessly. A pink rosebud tucked into the side of her neat chignon. A small pink and silver clutch in her hand. Long, silver chandelier ear rings called jhumkas. Silver sandals. A light spray of the newly released perfume, Madame Rochas and she was good to go. I walked behind her to the front door, inhaling deeply.
I walked around the front garden yesterday, deep in memory. The spirit of my mother’s graciousness was overwhelming. I’m uncertain how I would measure up to her expectations now. But there is one thing I know for sure. Had you been standing on the other side of the front door, my mother’s sentiment, the ever gracious sentiment, would have been perfectly reflected in the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s words: “Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”
May your presence be honoured wherever you are today.
Until next time,
a dawn bird
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