Monday, March 21, 2011

Dearest Mom…

Mom Victoria, always ready for a laugh
It’s Mother’s Day, and although my Mom, Vicky, has been gone for nearly 19 years now, it seems like only yesterday. It’s still a day to rejoice for all the good times and the less memorable ones and say a prayer.

Mother, Mom, Mommy, Omm, Maman, Madre… is the most beautiful word in any dictionary and language. A mother is the most precious of beings and is to be constantly celebrated.

The first thing I thought and said when Mom left us on that inauspicious day in May 1992 was, “What will I do without you?” It’s a question I still ask myself every day.

It is often said the saddest act for a parent is to bury a child. I have done both.
You see, the relationship with Vicky, until a fateful day in June 1984, was never easy. She was a strong, opinionated, dynamic, fun, sociable and much loved character. She was bigger than life itself and you were both charmed and dwarfed in her presence.

Of course we had our fights, differences and disagreements. Some were short-lived, others lasted for months. But going through the Lebanon civil war, we learned to live, let live and get along.

All that changed in June 1984. While I was visiting my sister Asma in Cannes, Mom had an aneurysm and by the time I made my way back to Beirut by plane to Damascus and then by road, because Beirut airport was closed, Mom had slipped into a coma.

For five weeks, I talked myself dry around the clock, prodding her to wake up. Then one morning -- after pleading with her to be strong and wake up, I was telling her what was happening and that her niece Dalal had just called to ask about her -- Mom, batted her eyelids and opened her eyes, which were still as violet as before.

And that’s when, after five weeks of hope and answered prayers, all the hard work and rehabilitation began and our world got a big knock on the head. From having a mother, I now had a child who I had to teach how to move, walk and do everything all over again. Although the effects of the aneurysm and coma had only affected her recent memory, the physical effects were everlasting.

I am not maternal, so this was an experience! It was not a role I wanted and yet had to accept and assume. Those tales and years are more suited for other posts. This one is to cheer Mother’s Day.

September 1984, a couple of months after Mom's five-week coma
Dearest Mom,

I long to bury my hand between your breasts and snuggle up and smell your sweet scent. And each time I look in the mirror, it is your image that I see looking back at me.

I thank you for bringing me up so well and teaching me love, patience, tolerance, good manners, politeness, respect and so many other virtues.

I salute your courage through eight long years of illness and know that you are now at peace and looking down on us and keeping us safe.

What do I do without you? I’m trying my best to travel, as bravely as you did, on life’s journey. I fall down often, but get up and start all over again.

Dearest Mom, Happy Mother’s Day. You are always with me
This post is dedicated to Mita Ray (@Mita56). Today, Mita celebrates Mother’s Day after being reunited with her son Partha Srinivasian (@parthans) after many long years.

And Mother’s Day cannot pass without listening to Marcel Khalife’s “Ommi.”