We live…

I wrote this sometime last year and posted it as a facebook status-

That is the last time I saw or thought of it.

A friend just sent it to me with the words “Whenever I am down, I read what you wrote and I feel better.”

It really humbled me so here I am archiving it..hoping it works for another soul.

Just because you have never seen their tears, does not mean they do not cry.

All the laughter you hear from them could be a lie.

The friend comforting you might be stifling a sigh-

The stranger walking past you is carrying a cross too.

We are not strong because we don’t break and fall,

We are strong because we cry, fall, crash and burn.

We are faithful because we first doubt,

Happy because we know pain.

We are forgiven only after sinning.

We are phenomenal because amidst all the insanity that is life,

We smile, laugh, fight, weep,conquer and survive.

But above all, WE LIVE

happy people

My sunflower:)

Today I decided to buy a bouquet of flowers for my mother. It isn’t her birthday, that  is over four months away, neither is it Mother’s day but since the year began I have wanted to do this, except I keep procrastinating..waiting for when I ‘have money.’ Turns out, it shall never be enough so I decided to just go ahead.

Ironically, this is not even about her but the events leading up to this post have a connection.

I saw a flower about two weeks ago as Bob( the florist) made an arrangement for my friend.It caught my eye and I decided it shall be among my favourites. I saw it again last week when I asked for it to be included in Hermione’s flower selection after she gave birth to her beautiful baby Kyle but it only occurred to me to ask what it is called today.

The name? Well, gerbera daisy it is. They come in different colours as you can see and come from the family of sunflowers( I thought they looked a lot like sunflowers so I asked Monsieur Google and he said ‘duh!’..but for me I still patted myself on the back anyway:)

diasies

This flower reminded me of a special person in my life. It isn’t unintentional that I mention mum because I would never have met this friend without her..and she has been there for my family in ways that can’t be put to words even by the greatest of poets(T.S.Elliot, Shakespeare, John Keats and your friends,I mean no disrespect:p)

I have known her for over six years now and I am sure that even if life separated us by distance, she would still  forever hold a special place in my heart. She is my pretty flower.

For years, my mother has had to suffer from one ailment after another ranging from a back problem that culminated into an operation to remove discs a.k.a discectomy,  high blood pressure, arthritis and most recently antiphosholipid syndrome, a condition that took away almost 90% of her sight.

Through all this pain, weakness, medication and every other predicament that comes with ill health, this pretty flower was right by her side. When none of the children were home or dad was at work, this daisy remained. Patient.supportive.present.

It was quite difficult because after the operation mum could not bend to do anything. Pick a remote, carry a basin, hug a little child. All those things we take for granted. She couldn’t.

I watched often in agony but almost always, she had that Daisy to hold her hand.

My grandfather got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but it was caught late. From the first day he came home to live with us, before we even knew that he would have uncontrolled bowel movement or that he would need to be spoon fed like a child, my sunflower was there. She nursed him, followed him when he disappeared from home and generally watched over him while somehow managing to do all the other household chores. Mum and I often sat down to just talk about our admiration for her.

Eventually, we got a gentleman to help with ‘Papa’ as we fondly called him. She still remained with us up till his demise,uncomplaining.caring.loving.

One Sunday that has remained engraved on my mind for almost two years  has been replaying in my mind lately. Mum and I went to Church as we usually do. She likes to sit at the front and  I am usually at least 4 rows from the front. This time, she went ahead of me as always and I took my usual seat. However, when she got there, all the seats were occupied. She turned around and I started to beckon so she would notice me as I still had unoccupied  space next to me.

It took her several seconds to notice me but she finally did. The mass ended and we went home.Nothing extraordinary there.

Later that evening, my sunflower quietly told me what mum had said. ” Today I failed to see my own daughter when she was right in front of me, what other things shall I miss when I become completely blind.” I walked away quietly. I wept for the most part of that night.

Thoughts of her not seeing my siblings and I at our weddings or not being able to recognise her beautiful grand daughter’s eyes, tripping on a stair case all tormented me.. I did the only thing I could. I prayed.

I had my frequent bouts with sickness too, from migraine attacks to tummy complications. She took care of me, made sure I ate and smiled with me back to good health.

Notice I am mentioning our lowest of times? Well, they aren’t the only ones. She has been there through the good ones too.

She cooks a mean feast and has been responsible for the constant guests that come home. Okay, I lie. We have been responsible for those but her hospitality and culinary skills definitely play a part in keeping their smiles on.

She always has a meal ready and will sweep one up promptly for those impromptu house calls. No matter how exhausted she is, it does not reflect on her attitude. Why or why doesn’t she give a course on customer care to all  this country’s receptionists..sorry erm I meant ‘front desk managers’,hairdressers, shop attendants, etc.

Everyone who visits and stays at our home is compelled to leave her with a present because she is just that lovable and as a result her closet is quite impressive with labels many people, including myself have never owned..and yet all she says is “Esther abantu nga banjagala, katonda mulungi” ( Loosely translated-Esther people really do love me, God is good)

Speaking of God, she recently became more staunch in her belief for God and wakes up at about 3a.m daily to pray. Sometimes she wakes me up and I mumble some gibberish as I bargain with sleep. She doesn’t have much of an Education but reads her English Bible and even quotes scriptures sometimes. Such is the power of this awesome man we have for a father. *high five*

I often speak to her for long hours as she tells me her dreams and I complain about my  work  load or reminisce about time spent with the kids. We talk about everything.

I loathe soap operas and it gets worse when they are translated but I sit and watch them with her, often chipping in when ‘Maria Clara’ pisses me off. That is what true love is about, no?:p

This sunflower left to start her own business a year ago and we were very proud of her. It was one of those bittersweet moments;We knew we wanted her to stay but were elated that she was taking a step towards independence.It didn’t work out as planned and when she told mum this, the natural choice was to welcome her back home with open arms.

It is a decision we shall not regret,that I am sure of.

So today, I sat here thinking about her and how when she first came home she was simply a maid but now I find it difficult to refer to her using the word. She is my friend, she is my family and now my sunflower, gerbera daisy to be exact.

Her name is Monica by the way..and she is amazing:)

The year that was…with lessons*

Lately when someone says something I do not agree with, I say ‘That is so last year”…I must confess, this piece  is also ‘so last year’ but some of these lessons I shall carry on to this year and maybe even throughout my life.

* Some of your best moments simply come from within. No advice. No consultation.No second guessing. Just a beginning

At the end of February 2012, I got the idea to start 40 days over 40 smiles. I had no idea where it would go or what exactly I wanted. All I knew was that I was going to begin.

I love children. I derive  pleasure from giving back in the smallest of ways. I found a way to do both and it didn’t require a list, planning or one long meeting with a board. It simply came to life.

Before I knew it, I was in love in love with 90 children, the number grew to 118 and I discovered the world’s best support team in form of my beautiful family and amazing friends.

* Strangers can be great blessings

Several people who didn’t even know me trusted me with their money, time and other resources. Some have become friends,others have left but each of them played a special role.

We have donors we have never met in several countries and it just goes to show how much kindness lives in the heart’s of people.

I got a chance to be blown away by kindness and still receive quiet surprises every other day. It is a priceless feeling I do not take for granted.

* Sometimes love is complicated..no wait almost all the time but it is worth it.

Love can’t really  be quantified. God gave us his only son. Jesus agreed to die for us  sinners. Neither of us can surely match up to this.

We are not expected to as mere mortals either.

A forgotten birthday or anniversary can hurt but it isn’t the end of the world..and often we expect a lot from the people we love simply because we know we would do that much or more for them..

Compromise, now that is a word that can must co-exist with love.

Along the way though, you receive signs about who is genuine and who is not. You can ignore them and follow your (insert desired body part) but the signs will always be there.

Sometimes you will even fail to tell the difference..is it an act? Is he/she just charming? but quite often the ones you least expect are the ones who will do anything for you.

Other times it is the ones you want nothing to do with.C’est la vie.

Love can not take away poverty or physical pain for example..you will need a plan and a doctor or whatever else depending on the situation. What am I saying? Yes, now I remember.saying I love you isn’t a cure for pain. Show it, deliver, be stupid.be crazy.be true.

Above all, simply love whether it is unrequited or blossoming-love.

Unconditional love exists

This one I can’t explain much. I simply will not give it the credit it deserves.

I have seen mothers, including my own make sacrifices that I can’t describe. There are other individuals who choose to give without expecting anything in return. Yes. They exist.

That is all.

Prayer is powerful…no seriously more than you think

I experienced a couple of  life threatening situations. I panicked. I lost hope. I wept. I did pray though and when I couldn’t, I had friends and family pray for and with me. It worked. I promise:)

When my friends told me about the missing love, the sick loved one, the irritating boss , dream job, broken heart or the lost soul that went to be with the Lord, I prayed, I praised, I worshipped. At the beginning of the year I scrolled through my book of prayer requests. I am no prophet or anything but I had so many ticks! I actually reminded some of the them, for others I just smiled.

For the prayers that did not come true,It is not their time. God is working on something better or even worse(for that is how lessons are built) but his timing is perfect.

I have not matured enough as to never ask God why but I have grown to the extent where even in my distress, I can whisper ‘may your will be done.’

2012

Friends are the family we choose

I had good days, bad days and great days. All these times I can mention at least one friend who stood by me.

Real friends do not need  telling or asking. They are often just there when you need them- quiet, hugging,yelling..either way,they are there.

We are exactly who we choose to be

Everyone has a story in their past or present that has had the potential to break them, sometimes it actually has.

Broken homes,torn relationships,financial setbacks,stunted dreams..the list is literally endless.

I know people who have had nothing and yet give so much of themselves and others who have more than enough but can barely spare anything for people other than themselves.

It is true that without a strong support system in form of friends, family or faith, one can fall into a pit of depression. There  are several psychological conditions caused by trauma that I can’t begin to fathom. Their victims do not know better. I understand this.

BUT being a bully, miser,cheat,hypocrite,thief,liar…(insert avoidable human vices) is often a choice. Whether life served you lemons or not, best believe the next person you torment experienced similar or worse problems.

The blame game is a little old, don’t you think?

I could say so much more.The year was one long lesson in the subject of life..but I can say with my head held up high that I am stronger and better because of everything that occured.

Cheers to 2013, how about we just celebrate, be happy and not be too harsh dearest sweet year, huh??Psyche! Please give us your best shot. We can handle it:)

May this be the year you discover your full potential, find love, know God, be positive, have good health, explore and actually realise your dreams. Could be all, could be none of the above but no matter what…enjoy it!:))