Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ma (...but I remember...)

Today, January 31, my mother would have been 65 years old. She died last July 2, 2005, due to some strange disease whose proper name I will no longer write down. Suffice to say that the culprit is a form of neoplasm.

My sister and her children, my brother, and myself had lunch together today to remember our mother by.

Roughly five years down the line, I do not recall my mother's voice, and yet I can hear it still. I no longer remember the lines on my mother's face, and yet her facial expression is still fresh in my mind. Does it make little sense?

I may have forgotten some fine details, but the essentials are still very very fresh in my memory.

Happy birthday, Mom. I hope you are happy, wherever you are now.

(And to the father of someone very special - he also celebrates his birthday today - I offer my profoundest wishes, too. Serendipity is such an odd yet stupendous and humbling phenomenon.)

I cannot remember my mother
only sometimes in the midst of my play
a tune seems to hover over my playthings
the tune of some song that she used to
hum while rocking my cradle.

I cannot remember my mother

but when in the early autumn mornings
the smell of shiuli flowers floats in the air
the scent of the morning service in the temple
comes to me as the scent of my mother.

I cannot remember my mother
only when from my bedroom window I send
my eyes into the blue of the distant sky
I feel the stillness of my mother's gaze on my face
has spread all over the sky.

- Rabindranath Tagore, "I Cannot Remember My Mother"

[But of course I remember...]

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