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a start | Endings & Beginnings

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

Hello world,


Today is a beautiful day because today is my mother’s birthday. I won’t say how old she is because we Nepali’s have superstitions about such things (just go check any of your Nepali friends’ “about” info - there’s a good chance they’ve put in a fake birthday or at least a fake year ;). I, on the other hand, have been westernized in this respect and love to call attention to birthdays. This year is different however because our family has just lost two close members to covid. My mother’s brother, Dhan Bahadur, and his first wife, Laxmi. I call him mama (meaning uncle on my mother’s side) and she was my thulo maiju (my *bigger* aunty through marriage). The custom is for close family to refrain from all celebrations in the year following our loved ones’ transition.


It’s a custom that makes a lot of sense to me. There are times for celebration and times for quiet reflection. I have two cousins who have lost both their parents within a few days of one another. Two more cousins who have lost their father. I will not share their names out of respect for their privacy but it’s important that they know I acknowledge and witness the immense sadness that they are going through right now. I hold you all in my hearts and wish I could be there with you, taking part in the important ceremonies and offering anything else that I could. Along with their children they are missed by many nieces and nephews and many others in our family and wider circle of friends.


My amma too. Ever since I was young I’ve had this ability to feel everything that my mum feels. I’m sure a lot of people have this. Anytime she would cry I would feel the depth of sadness and pain she was feeling and I’d be crying too. It got to the point in my teenage years where I really could not stand it. I disengaged. I didn’t want to feel her pain anymore. Even so, I feel it now, in small amounts that I can tolerate. To go into it fully would be too much because I know she’s feeling a huge amount of loss right now. An agonizing kind of loss. That’s why she travelled over to Nepal, in spite of her husband and her childrens’ reluctance to see her go (of course we relented before she left because we know her well enough to know that once she sets her intention on something, there’s nothing that can stop her). So she made it in time to have some time with her brother, to speak with him, to pray and to say goodbye before he left his body. Though Thulo Maiju was not awake, I’m sure she felt my amma’s presence there before she transitioned, as Amma massaged her feet and let her know everything would be ok and that it was ok for her to go too.


Amma thank you for the beautiful example that you are to me in this lifetime. You’re the strongest person I know. Strong of heart and mind. Strong in your emotions. Your way of living and breathing and moving in this world guides me everyday. Being your daughter makes me stronger.


So for those of you that have read this far I want to share that this is my first of perhaps many weekly reflections I’ll share (I guess you could call it a “blog” though that word does not appeal to me so much). It seems like my mum’s birthday is a good day to honour her life as well as my own by committing to being more myself through the medium that resonates most deeply with my heart: through writing.


My intention in starting this is to connect with myself and others more deeply. To move the energy in my body. To learn and to unlearn. To process and to grow.


I give myself permission right now to make mistakes, to say things and then to outgrow those things I said and say different things in the future. I give myself permission to take a break if I need it and to stop this completely if it’s not nourishing anymore. In the same way that I have begun to operate in the rest of my life, with this also, I give myself permission to be imperfect.


Starting today, weekly on Wednesdays. I’ll explore anything & everything that feels relevant in the moment - most likely having to do with family, identity, Indigenous justice, and who knows what else. See you next time. & thucheche for being curious and for being a witness.


JGT


Amma - in her element

Bridal Falls, June 2021


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