Letter to Amma : Mid Life Crisis

Hi Amma,

How are you? How’s Frisky? Is Brownie with you? Hope all of you are at peace with God.

I am going through the motions of life after your departure and it has been a daily struggle to get through each day. Each day passes so fast and so many things have happened to me which elevated us and brought us out to a new level. Its been 1.5 years now that we have moved from our previous home. God has been kind to find us a place to stay and the required funds to move. I am sure you are seeing all this from where you are.  Thank you Amma for your constant prayers and for looking out for us.

I have just left my job and joined a new place. I don’t know if I made the right choice. In my heart, the former establishment is still in my heart. Maybe not the nutrition division but other divisions. Whatever said and done, I have a job which pays the bills for that I am grateful. The new place is ok, its relatively new so everything needs to be done from scratch. I am privileged to be able to assist my boss who has been a kind friend to me throughout the years.  I still have an emptiness inside. A loneliness which I can’t figure out what it is. I do not have friends in this new place. It is coming to 3 months and nothing. I try to adjust but I can’t seem to do so. Everything I say or do seem wrong. I now say nothing to anyone and just speak if required. That was your nagging advise to me before, remember? 🙂 Finally, I listen to you.

The personal front, I feel lonelier. Without you, amma, I have no one. My entire life has always revolved around you. That’s why I used to be furious with you when you rather sacrifice everything for papa and not be with me. I was jealous. If you and papa moved with me to Melaka, years ago, everything would have been fantastic. I miss having a true family with me. Yes, I miss my home cooked meals ( your cooking) especially your chicken curry! 🙂 Thinking of it makes my mouth drool.

A thought hit me recently, more a realization of the time that has passed from 2014 until present and where I am in my marriage and self realization. I will be 44 this year and no children. Amma, nothing has happened. I bring up the topic of adoption and it has fallen into deaf ears due to current circumstances. That’s not the reason why you wanted me to get married. You wanted me to build my own life and family ( kids) . It is not going to happen, that’s what I realized. When you were 44, I was a 14 year old girl. What a change for me! Amma, I feel like a huge failure in my life. At least , if this was a trade off for a lustrous career, then it would be understandable. It isn’t so. I am neither successful in my career path nor in my personal life.  I feel very tired Amma. I have failed you, Amma. I am sorry. I am just useless.

I had wasted so much time yearning for other’s acceptance of me, their approval of me. So much so that I have been a doormat for many. You and papa tried telling me before but I never listened to both of you. I sacrificed my time for people who don’t exist anymore in my life after you left. I regret it the most. I still have that “disease” to be a YES person even though I don’t want to. I realized the reason and I find saying NO is a difficult thing to do. I am so afraid of people not liking me. I just want to belong somewhere, to have a sense of belonging. Thus far, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. Even my in laws ( except my father in law) still can’t accept me as part of the family.

I never had a wedding (sacrament of matrimony) , all that dream that I had, flushed down the toilet. Now, I will NEVER be a mother to a human child, thanks to circumstances. No amount of money will ever buy me this Amma. I have no one apart from papa, hubby and the 2 cats. After they all leave me one day, what am I to do? I am afraid of being alone , Amma. That was your biggest fear for me and it is coming true. I wasted a truly beautiful life , God gave me , Amma.  I am crushed internally and I can’t stop crying for what a failure that I have been.

I am sorry Amma for failing you. Please pray for me and look out for me. I need you, Amma. I really wish that I can talk to you face to face. I miss you so much.

Take care and please hug Frisky and Brownie for me.

Your loving daughter,

Angeline

 

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4 years on…

It has been a while since I last blogged. Today, I decided to fight off my procrastination of 4 years to finally start typing off my thoughts and life here.

What has happened thus far? A quick summary:

  1. I spent 2 years trying to get my dad to walk. I stopped work and spent time taking my dad to the rehab hospital for physiotherapy and all I wanted is to get him to walk again. What did I learn from my enthusiasm and positiveness? You can’t help anyone who don’t want to help themselves
  2. I have been suffering from severe depression. I can’t afford treatment, so just relying on breathing exercises ,incessant crying to God and getting angry all the time
  3. Finances are tight and I took loans thinking that it can help us , only to dive deeper to a hole that I can’t crawl out off
  4. I realized what my passion is…teaching. I made income teaching tuition and it is the best thing that ever happened to me. Instant happiness. Just pure joy.Meaningful.
  5. My husband lost his job in October 2016 which sprung me into action to get a job ASAP. In the span of 4 years, he has worked in 3 places. I don’t know what kind of luck he has with keeping a job. Why in the world a well educated man like him go through hell, I can never explain. He is still unemployed 18 months later. Slowly, my trust in him fades away.
  6. I started working Jan 2017 in an MNC. Perhaps, God heard me and pressed the reset button in my life. Had a hard time adjusting to my working environment. For an American MNC, it is tough environment to be in. I miss my former alma mater however, beauty of living is to adjust with changes. Adjust I did. Survived it till now and was promoted up in less than 1 year. Very grateful to God for showing me that I can triumph and rise above the ashes.
  7. I still teach over the weekends so that we can manage the finances…wait correction, so that I can manage the finances.
  8. No children as of yet. Why? This marriage has yet to be consummated.My partner may claim that he loves children but he has no interest in making any of his own. This marriage seems to be some sort of vow of celibacy for me. Years later, I am so used to this celibacy that I have no interest in him. I am now 43 years and no kids.
  9. I have gained 20 kgs from the time of marriage until now. 90kgs ! The heaviest ever. It has taken a toll on my health. My ankle swells and my whole body hurts. I have no money to see a Dr. I have to fake it to keep going.
  10. I haven’t gone for a holiday for a long while. My idea of a holiday at the moment is to rot at home. Being married to my hubby who starts calculating everything to dampen my mood, raises my blood pressure constantly.
  11. Frisky, my love of 12 years, my cat went to be with amma (mom) on the 14th of November 2017. As he breathe his last in my arms ( after suffering a kidney failure), I felt my heart ripped out and the pain is still there. I know, for one thing, he is with mom , happy over the rainbow bridge.
  12. Remember my depression? Still there….much worse….still faking it to make it out there in the world.

In all these years, beyond the darkness and negative overtones, one thing I know for sure, God is watching me and guiding my steps no matter what’s the situation. At times, I swear that I can hear an audible voice saying, ” Have faith, my child”. The warm feeling I get when I hear it, I am convinced that its from the BIG BOSS way up there. I am grateful to HIM because without HIM, I am nothing.

 

 

Love,

Angie

 

Saint Mother Theresa of Calcutta

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” When I was hungry,you fed me…”

Today marks the canonization of Mother Theresa as a saint. An official day to declare her sainthood , a title she had already earned when she started her mission of love in Calcutta.

With the wonders of technology today, it was a great blessing that we had the opportunity to witness her canonization. Tears strolled down my face as I prayed along with the congregation in thanksgiving for being blessed to witness this occasion and for the privilege of being alive during the time she walked on earth and did what no one else wanted to do. To care for the “unwanted” of the world.

Being a Roman Catholic, the saints were a common topic of conversation  in the house. St Christopher’s medallion was for safety during travel, St Anthony is for recovering lost things, St Jude for hopeless cases and the list goes on. I could never pay attention or remember all of these saint’s stories but only one caught my attention as a child – a petite western looking nun in a white and blue saree. Mother Theresa.

Amma introduced Mother Theresa to me. She told me what this nun did in Calcutta which amma witnessed herself. She admitted to me that she , being a nurse , could not bare doing what Mother Theresa did especially for the lepers. Lifting them up with her bare hands and cleaning them, seeking treatment for them and giving them comfort during their final hours. As a child, I didn’t understand what a leper was. I kept asking amma, “Is that something to do with leopards in the jungle?” Hilarious, when I think of it now. A silly question from a 6 year old. She patiently took one of her medical books and showed me pictures of it and that troubled me. Mother Theresa’s magnificence stayed in my heart. I watched videos about her- documentary mostly, and read books written about her. I remember a night during a retreat ( this was a confirmation retreat) and they were playing a video on Mother Theresa. I was so excited to watch it and I assumed everyone else would be too. Unfortunately, I was the only one and it made me angry. How can anyone not think of her as someone esteemed? She does the Lord’s work so beautifully. Some day , I want to be just like her. That was what I wished for when I was 16 years old.

Be careful for what you wish for because it can come true. I had a chance to be like her but in a smaller way, to be a caregiver for my own parents. It was difficult and physically draining. I gave my best , although I still feel that I didn’t do enough. The sacrifice of giving up your own desires and to be in service is not an easy task. It takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally. I don’t know how Mother Theresa did it and kept herself so active. She just went on and on and from what I have read about her, she is a fiesty lady. She gets what she wants!

When the time came for me to send papa to the nursing home, my heart broke. First thing I said to my husband was, ” I can’t even do this, I can’t even take care of my own papa, how can I even emulate Mother Theresa and do more? She dealt with worse situations and she could do it on her own ( relating to her early days) .” My husband assured me that I had done the best that I could and not to compare myself to Mother. I wanted to be like her so much and just so disappointed that I couldn’t even be a fraction of her.

That’s the kind of impact this blessed saint has had in my life.Her death and canonization brings about another question. What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind for the next generation ? I would love to hear your comments.

Till the next blog….

What do you do all day?

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This is the one question that irks me. Just because I am at home, does that mean I can chill and do nothing?

The floor is not self cleaning, the plates do not wash itself, the litter box needs to be scooped, toilets have to be scrubbed, have no personal chef to cook for us. These are just some of my activities at home, not to mention working. I currently work part time as an educator dabbling in the world of chemistry.

It is true I have more time to do the things that I enjoy. However, the perception and the body language that I get from acquaintances and friends alike nonetheless irk me to the core. Looking back, I can’t truly be angry with them. I did the same as them to my own mother. Oh! How much I must have hurt her !

Knowing that fact, destroys my soul. I did not know the impact of my words to her. She never complained or got angry at me even once. I guess karma has bit my ass.

Amma, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to belittle you. I didn’t know how much of work that you had to do to manage the household. Now, I know what you went through.

Till my next post…

Being idle

I have kept silent from this blog for a few months now. The truth is, it is not just from this blog, it is from everything. I became idle. Everything halted. Whatever around me just went about its business like clockwork.I became a statue.

I could just sit down  from dawn and stare at a tree all day and not feel time passing me by. By the time, realization sets in , it would be nightfall and the day has ended. I was amazed with myself. Amazed in my hidden talent of being a statue.

Watching people from the balcony is like watching reality TV. Many shows all at once. The drama of it all or at times the lack of it. In my  mind, a constant flashback of the past , makes me wonder if anything would have changed if I made a different decision. Gosh! Wouldn’t it just be wonderful to use a time machine and make changes to all of my decisions ( after knowing what I know now). I would finally be happy! …or would I?

The reality is that I can’t change anything. I look back and get more upset with myself. So much for self forgiveness. I don’t think I can ever fully forgive myself. Facebook is a vice of mine which I tend to use to punish myself. I can be happy for someone else yet punish myself for being a failure.The sin of comparison with others. For those who are depressed like me, steer away from Facebook as much as you can. It is bad for health!

I don’t know what happened to Angie , the person I used to be? Smiling hurts my cheek muscles now. Laughing is a tiresome event . Going out is stressful ( even to the store right in front of my place). Meeting people? Heck no! Whats-app groups are worthless unless there is genuine conversation on it, at least that would be my personal take on it. I kept them before because I wanted to belong to a group or a gang. It would kill the loneliness , so I thought. It doesn’t. It is just another tool to build more shallow “relationships” which I don’t need. Instead of building more hatred inside me, I decided to delete the groups. I don’t need groups to have a sense of belonging. I just need to find ME.

Where has Angie gone? I need to find HER again. I am lost without HER.

For now, I am signing off to rest my weary body  and mind. Heavy eyes…maybe I will find the answer in the morning.

 

An eventful Sunday

Yesterday was an eventful Sunday. All this while, I had a belief that I am on the road to recovery from grief. Starting my life again , looking at daily events with a new pair of eyes. How wrong I was!

I went to visit papa in his nursing home and found him asleep at dinner time. He was rather shocked to see me ( at least that is how I would like to think of it), as I hardly come by at dinner time. He has been skipping meals rather frequently and even after we have repeatedly told the staff to ensure he eats, he is still at it. I am not sure what is the issue and why he seem to want to skip dinner. Asking him is futile as he never answers your questions truthfully. Back of my mind, my paranoia started acting up. Thoughts of could this be signs that papa is leaving me soon? My concern turned as anger directed at him. I scolded him for skipping meals and sat down with him until he finished his bread and Milo ( that seems to be the only thing he wants to eat). Tears came as I was scolding him and I found myself sobbing with a pronounced sorrow in my heart. Little did I know what was happening in the background at the nursing home.

One of the female residents died.  This realization occurred when I saw a white van reversing into the driveway. Nirvana Memorial , the name of the funeral parlour, written on the van. 4 gentlemen came down the van and started walking into a room at the back, accompanied by the ladies’ eldest son. Chills came down my spine, my heart raced and I informed papa what had happened. I broke down in front of papa.

“Please don’t leave me. I don’t have anyone. Please don’t leave me, papa.” Papa had nothing to say. He was quiet for a while.” I am here. I am not going anywhere. Why are you crying? Death has freed her from her suffering.” My response to papa’s statement was ” Yes, death freed her but I have suffered for 2 years. It hurts and I can’t do this again. I cannot go through another funeral. It is too painful”. What was this? I was taken aback by my own words. Where was this coming from? Papa quickly realised that I was not talking about the deceased but I was talking about amma.

After a moment of silence, the body was removed, covered with a white cloth and taken into the van. I tried not to look and wanted my papa to look away. He didn’t. He watched as they took her body into the van. It was as if we relived amma’s funeral all over again. After a while, I left the nursing home wishing my papa well.

The drive back was hell. I found myself sobbing and screaming in the car. ” Lord, help me! I cannot do this anymore. I am tired. Please stop this torture”.This vocal discord with God continued until I reached home. I returned with a torn soul and an anxious heart. I feel so alone and scared.Is this some sort of penance for sins of my past life? Why can’t I just move on with life and be happy? This death has affected me rather deeply. Probably it would be more apt to say that it brought out “monsters” that I can’t seem to face.

Oh! I don’t know what to do?

Thoughts on a humid night

Thoughts, fleeting thoughts,  Do I really need to pen this down? So many dreams, So many aspirations, Some simple yet impossible, Some impossible yet met See it through the eyes of a child they said, I was once… Where has … Continue reading

When your emotions takes a holiday.

Ever had a time where your emotions are away on a vacation and you are not invited?

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Precisely, where I have been for the past couple of weeks. Silence. Peace. Calm. No feeling what so ever. Gosh! What a wonderful place to be in. Just sitting still. No thoughts. Relaxed. All this with no drugs ( I have been off the anti depressants for a while now).

Have the circumstances around me disappear? No. Still the same. People or an environment change? No to that as well.  Everything is the same. What changed?

Learning to breathe.Just sit down crossed legged with my eyes closed and breathe. A simple 12 minute process in the morning. I am not the body , I am not the mind – mental chants uttered as the process of inhalation and exhalation proceeds on. Just blissful. I love the quiet inside me. The urge to live LIFE is stronger than ever. Its a celebration of mom living inside me.

This is the happiest and the most peaceful that I have been ever since Amma left.  I feel much love inside me, waiting to be shared with the world out there.

One step at a time. 🙂

2 years have gone by…

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3rd of January marks 2 years since you left this world. The void is still felt in our lives. Your cute antics, your laughter, your pranks, the way we used to disagree about everything, your attention to detail, your love for people, your fussiness especially on food which really drove me up the wall. Aah! That fussiness of yours is the one that  I used to hate and now that is what I miss the most.  I will never have my little fights with you anymore. It is funny how the things that made my blood boil are now the very things I miss so much.

I am now a married woman with a 73 year old “son” to care for. By the way, ma, papa forgot your anniversary. If you were here, I know what you would say to that. ” Men! Your papa never remembers anything.” With that statement, you would pout for the rest of the day and give the cold shoulder treatment to papa until he butters you up with a piece of black forest cake. 🙂  Memories like that brings a smile on my face.

I still can’t figure out how you put up with papa all these years. Your energy, patience and resilience living with papa is admirable. I don’t have any left in me to deal with papa. He is more stubborn than before. Refuses to do any of his exercises to help him walk. His memory is leaving him little by little. At times, he does not realise what he is doing anymore. He gets confused yet his ego stops him from admitting it. Complaining is his favourite thing he does now to anyone who talks to him – mostly about me. Nothing I do is right. He wants me to spend more time with him yet he can’t say it directly. He goes round and round the merry go round about it. Oh Gosh!  I laugh it off most of the time. Loving papa like you did is a monumental task.

In these 24 months, I know understand more about your thoughts and motivation than I ever did in 38 years of living with you. I now understood why you had trouble sleeping at night . You had a fear of death, of  not fulfilling your desire of seeing me be with a life partner. You just couldn’t bare the thought of seeing me alone handling what I had to handle. I never understood that. You knew how lonely and frustrated I was. No matter how much I acted macho and strong in front of you, you saw right through that. That is why you were happy to meet your son-in-law, which was more a son to you ( or as I claimed your “boyfriend”). You allowed us to live together under your roof. Living in sin with blessings from mom. Now, that’s new. 🙂 Your mission accomplished. Just after a month with us and checking if everything is as you wanted, you left. The only thing was the very last day, we never spoke, we fought and I was angry with you for paying more attention to papa and not me because I was unwell. It wasn’t anger Amma, just pure jealousy that I didn’t get the attention that I wanted. The morning you left, the guilt, the shock,still eats me until this very day. A wasted chance of being with you over something so petty. We didn’t even patch up after the small spat. The day you left, I dreamt that you were angry with me. I still hold that guilt and I am very sorry ma for hurting you.That is not how I wanted our last days together to be. Oh god! How was I to know that you were leaving me then? You were fine, though visibly upset with me. You enjoyed your time with papa and laughed at some comedy on TV. You hardly ate anything either. I didn’t know that you were going to leave us the next morning. I still wonder if you knew that you were going. You left while you were sleeping. Beautiful death indeed. The pain in my heart still aches the same now as it did on that fateful day, 3rd Jan 2014.

Life goes on. I take pride of celebrating your life with everything that I do. I can’t keep crying my life away. Step by step, I am learning to “walk” again. You will be proud of me, ma.

 

Happy 2016

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A brand new chapter, a brand new day. Time to start over again- to be better than last year.New hopes and dreams. Ambitions and desires to fulfill. 2016 brings with it the opportunities and hope. Opportunities that I hope that I don’t miss.

Taking a glimpse back at 2015, I have so many things to be grateful for and especially for the many blessings that the Lord has provided. It is in all the little stuff that we take for granted. 2014 was a roller coaster of emotions, sudden changes, adapting to an environment that seems to be shaky at every moment and it still amazes me how I survived it- injured but alive. God sent angels and assistance through ways that I never could imagine. New relationships bloom and the old fade away. My blindness restored to the reality of the world. Oh! What a pain that was to see and hear. 2014 was my rebirth to the realism of the world and the so called humanism. A difficult pill to swallow.

Recovery is what I consider 2015 to be. Just like the rusted grill on my balcony, so was I inside. Ashamed to be out there socially, personally condemned myself a failure in society. Too tired to lift myself up to face the day, dragging my feet to just go through the motions and to not fall prey to the victim mentality. My one and only consolation – the Almighty. I just let everything out to HIM. The ugly cry, the screams,the anger, the helplessness, the loneliness. All I heard from HIM was,” I will repaint your life . You will be restored back to new. Work in progress. ” Slowly, I felt the hands of the Lord using the sandpaper to remove the rust away. Smoothing out the edges. Prep work before the actual painting begins. I am indeed a work in progress. Small victories, blessings still enter into my life to give me hope. Relearning how to love, how to accept love, how to trust,how to dream, how to live. I am a slow learner, keep tripping  but I get up every time with a supernatural hand holding me up. I see everything as a blessing now. The food on the table, monthly wages, the sounds of the birds in the morning, the morning star, the moon at night, the meowing of my cat ( Frisky) seeking my attention, the way Frisky licks my fingers, when I am in tears, comforting me. I am indeed blessed. He brings me all the love that I need from dear beloved family and friends both near and far.

I am on my way to a better and happier life in 2016. The Lord assures me that and in my heart, Amma , I know you are watching me too. Thank you for your prayers, Ma. I know that I am a stubborn girl. You always knew how to get through to me. Your son-in-law has the same skill as you do, Ma. At times, I feel that it is you talking through him.

To all, I wish you a Blessed New Year. Time to start over again, it doesn’t matter where you are in life and in what situation that you are in. It is not an easy journey.Hey you know what? Just holler and I would be happy to assist you as your well wisher. Together we will get through. 😀

Lots of love,

Angie