23 June 2006


Jac's comment on my post with the dandelion picture made me hunt for this poem I wrote based on the dandelion. It was written a number of years ago when all my children left home and I was still getting used to the idea.

I stand, a dandelion stalk in the breeze,
Each gust takes away a few more tufts,
Some fly high and are wafted far;
Others fall nearer.
With the passing of each breeze
I am left a little more alone.

Yes my children, as you each go,
Your friends along with you,
I feel a bit more forlorn,
A little more blue.
But I will never stop you,
Even if I could.

It is your time to fly,
To go your own way,
To follow your own path;
While I will pray
For gentle zephyrs
To waft you high,
Then deposit you gently back to earth
Where you will take root and grow your own
Dandelion stalks swaying in the breeze.

21 June 2006

When searching through my desk for some old poems I had written along time back, I came across this written by daughter, maybe when she was in 7th or 8th grade, about her family. It made me feel so touched, I thought I’d put it on the blog.

To God for my family
Who can find a family so good, whom every moment spent with is time cherished;
Who grow in love and understanding as each new day comes forth?

Distance will not separate this family, nor will difference of opinion.
Each has found appreciation in the other, a wonderful and happy existence.

Common interests like music, cricket, cards and travelling tie the bond tighter.
The love of life and the ability to be content, are found in each and every one.

A father who reads out to his children, a mother who is ever so understanding,
Two brothers and a sister, who understand and enjoy time together.

Well, who can find a family so good, who laugh and cry with you?
I have found a family so good and I thank Thee for it.

18 June 2006

40th day prayers

The official mourning period for my father ended on the 10th of June, when we had the 40th day prayers and ceremonies. In our Orthodox Christian church here in Kerala (and maybe all the Orthodox churches), the belief is that it is on the 41st day (or maybe the 40th day, I’m not too sure,) after a person’s death that the soul finally leaves the earth. For 40 days the soul is supposed to be in this realm among the things, places, people, that the person knew, loved, yearned for, etc. There are significances for certain days. It is only on the third day after death that the soul leaves the grave/cemetery, as Jesus’ resurrection was on the 3rd day. Then there are specific days that the soul remains in the house, town, up until the 30th day, when the soul can go anywhere in the world. On the 40th (41st) day the soul leaves the earth. This is based on the Bible’s account of Jesus having remained on earth for 40 days after his resurrection. On that day there are prayers in church and at the grave.

For these 40 days, the bed on which the body lay before being taken for burial, is kept where it was—usually in the front room— and covered only with a white sheet. A cross and an oil lamp are kept at the head of the bed. (This would be in the west, as the body would have lain facing east.) The lamp is kept burning constantly throughout the 40 days. In the old days Mass was said for the deceased every day of the 40 days and there were prayers by the graveside. But nowadays it may not be so often. On the last day, after the Mass and the prayers at the graveside, the priest comes home and prayers are said at home and then the priest puts out the lamp and removes the white sheet.

I had been through this 3 times before, when my sister-in-law first and then my father-in-law and then mother-in-law all died from various types of cancer in the space of around 9years. I realised that these rituals were very helpful in coming to terms with the death of the loved one. I saw it helping my husband and his siblings. Of course, the void that the loved one left can never ever be filled. But it certainly does help in assuaging the grief at least a little. Then praying at the graveside every year on the death anniversary and on All Souls Day also provides a balm for the sorrow.

I hope it has helped my mother a little. I know that just 40 days can never lessen the sorrow of losing a partner after almost 68 years of marriage, but I pray that she will gradually get some peace. She tries to go on as normally as possible, because as she said once, fairly recently, ‘Anyway till I die, I have to live.’ So she makes a pretty good attempt to live as well as she can.

God bless you Mum and may your soul rest truly in peace Achach.

04 June 2006

An ideal.

I came across this post about perfection on Make the most of U. After I read that, I’ve been thinking about perfectionism and related topics. I realised that I was not a perfectionist. I’m not one of those who want everything I do to be perfect. Mostly, I just want to get things done.

But being ideal is another thing. I found that I had wanted to be the ideal mother, the ideal wife. I am most definitely not the ideal wife. I found it required too much of me trying to be someone I wasn’t. I also painfully realised I could never be the ideal mother either. I hated myself for that for a long time. It’s only fairly recently that I have started realising that for one there is no ideal mother. Believe me, it was a big wrench giving up the idea of being the ideal mother. But I think because of that I have started forgiving myself—not completely, never completely—but on the road, for being a human being!! In this context, I used to love Erma Bombeck’s column in American magazines—when we came across them and I have read a couple of her books. Wish I could lay hands on more of her books here. But I still can’t help hoping my children would have forgiven me for the mistakes I did make!! (Proves the picture of ideal motherhood still resides in a corner of my mind)