Creative Thoughts

Creative Thoughts
Serenity

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Dedicated to my mother


For me, 6th February is no longer about a card and a phone call, because my mother is gone.   Today Mai would have been 86 years old.  It is her day and so I am sharing her story.

Angelina Rumaldine Coutinho was born and raised in a Goan village.  She married a young man, Lawrence Vaz from the same area and together they lovingly raised six children.  I am the eldest.  Lucy and I were born in Goa.  That's when the foundation of our colonial style home was laid.  The Portuguese were very much there.


Our old home as it is today.  62 years old and standing tall. 

Our little family migrated to Bombay in the early 50s and Martha, Francis, Selve and Daniel were born in Bombay.

My mother always wanted to be better. She always wanted to improve herself, and she inspired us to do the same.  She was honest to a fault, and sometimes tactless but then, most of us aren’t saints.  I’ve taken time to look back at the beginning and remember the good times, imitate them, and remember the bad ones and try to do better.  In the years to come, I hope, with the wisdom that comes of age, my own children will look back on my life and remember more good than bad.  I’ve not been even half the mother Big Mummy has been to them.  They called her that to distinguish between her and me.  Shawn was raised by Mai for the first 9 years of his life and Simone for the first 3 years of hers.   Big Mummy tirelessly kept up nights when they had measles and chicken pox, took them for the mandatory vaccines and taught them the English alphabet.  It is she who prepared them for their pre nursery tests

 With her grandson, our son Shawn.
This photo was taken in 2001 when Shawn made a trip to Goa to see her.


This family picture was the last such one taken in 2007 when Simone visited us in Bombay.
This is part of  our family. A few could not make it.

with 7 year old Ayush, who accompanied me to Goa in the later years.

When I was very young, she bought me water paints so I could pursue my love for colouring.  She draped me in my first ever saree for the school prom.  She gave me a posy of button chrysanthemums each December as they were my favourite.  She encouraged me to go out, make friends and do community work. 
Our mother was practical but quietly caring and compassionate. She was very strong willed and had a sense of self confidence in all that she did. She was loyal to our Daddy and was a very devoted mother. She also had a side to her that was vulnerable.  Sadly, she had gone through a horrendous first few years after her marriage when she lost 3 children before I was born. 

Mai was a woman of amazing faith. Even at 75, with diabetes riddling her body, she never let go of it.   We were brought up with the fear of God instilled in us.    As a consequence our lives have been sprinkled with miracles. Like the time my brother experimented shoving a chickpea up his nose and had to be hospitalised. Mai stayed up all night praying for him, and the next day, she picked up a pair of tweezers from the nurses’ tray, looked up his nose with a flashlight, deftly removed the by now soaked chickpea, calmly handed it over to the doctor in charge and marched her son out of the hospital.
Or the time my sister lost her gold neck chain whilst playing in the natural spring near our home in Goa.  We used to spend every summer vacation there.  Mai just went to the spring, dug about in the shallow but clear water with her hands and came up with the chain!  She never doubted she would find it.  In our family, we just grew up with faith.

My mom gave up a lot over the years, for the sake of her children and her husband.  Daddy was a quiet and very hard working father.  He provided for us all.  She was the assertive one when it came to necessity.  Above all, she fed her family well.  She was a great cook and I am so glad I have her recipes. Sundays were opportunities for roasting beef and fried potatoes!  Daddy and Mai did this together.   Though he would never admit it, he was her biggest supporter and was always by her side through difficult times.
I’ve also stored her home remedies.  She used to be called on even at nights when neighbouring children were ill. That’s quite something, and an amazing legacy to leave.  

With me, a few years before she passed away at 84.

Daddy passed away much before her.  She missed him immensely. They are both reunited and I love them and miss them both very much.

Dedicated to my mother.  

Happy Birthday Mai !




18 comments:

  1. Lena this is a most beautiful post. Such a wonderful tribute to a loving mother.

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    1. Thank you Marie-Louise.
      Thanks also for sending your friends to my blog. I truly appreciate it.

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  2. Hello, I was sent here by your friend Marie-Louise, your story is so full of love and pride. Your Mother sounds like a wonderful woman as well as your life and family....Wonderful story and thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you Olga. Yes, my Mum was a wonderful person and I treasure the memories I have. I'm happy you visited my blog.

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  3. Hello Lena....I've popped over from Marie-Louise's blog..what a beautiful post in memory of your mum and thank you for sharing your story of her life with us.....

    Anne

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    1. Hello ! Thank you. I'm glad I shared my Mum's story and to have new blog friends because of it.

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  4. I too popped over from Marie-Louise's blog to read your most amazing tribute to your loving mother and what a story it is. I'm honored to have read this and thank you for sharing. :)
    hugs,
    Lisa x

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    1. I thank you Lisa. It was a race against time to get the tribute done as I have been having internet problems and was concerned I would not be able to post it in time.
      Thanks for popping over.

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  5. Lena, you have touched my heart as next month my mum would be 90 years of age she died 14 months ago and I miss her sooo much. I have not had time to grieve her passing and it is not real to me yet. You see I am now full time carer for my dad who just turned 100 years old. May you and your mum have peace...thank you for opening your heart and your dedication to your mum...
    I have joined your blog as a new member. If you would like to come over to mine and say hi please do so....next month I am holding a candy in memory of my mum. She would like that as we are people who give...love aNNie...

    http://annieforeva.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Annie, I understand just how you feel. We will never stop missing our Mums. I pray your Dad has good days for the rest of his life. You take care of yourself too. Thanks for joining my blog. I will definitely visit yours and join your list of followers.

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  6. Hello Lena , another sent by Marie Louise. How wonderful to tell your Mother's story. She will, l am quite sure, be immensely proud of you, and this wonderful tribute.

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    1. Hello Alison. Thank you for your kind words.

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  7. Hello Lena, came via Marie-Louise, what a perfect tribute to your mother, brought a tear to my eye, I lost my mother two years ago she was the back bone of our family and I miss her immensely hugs hun Sue x

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    1. Hello Sue, So wonderful to know my tribute to Mai brought me in touch with you and the other amazingly kind people who've written in response. I am glad you too have good memories of your Mum. Please don't feel sad. Her spirit will always guide you. Remember that and you'll feel happy once again. Hugs

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  8. Hi Lena, Came over via Marie-Louise.. What a wonderful post.. Beautiful tribute to your dear mother.. I lost my mother when I was 15 years old... I still miss her daily.. you brought a tear to my eye your mother would be so proud of you!! Hugs May x x x

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    1. Hello May, I'm sorry to know your Mum passed away so early in your life. I can only imagine your grief as you lost her when you were in your teens. No matter how old you grow, you will still miss her as you are a part of her. Be happy by seeing her in everyday things she loved doing. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs

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  9. Hello Lena, Marie-Louise guided me over to you and I am so please she did. What a beautiful tribute to your lovely mum and indeed your whole family, because without her none of you would be. She indeed was a lovely lady and truely loved.

    My own mum died 8yrs ago just before Christmas, and there is never a day goes by that she isn't in my thoughts, she was 82, and hadn't had the easiest of lives, especially her beginings. Mums are always in our hearts. I an delighted to follow your "works of heart", kate x

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    1. Hello Kate. Thank you very much. Yes, my Mum held the whole family firmly together. I am happy to know that your mother lives on in your heart. Your words are kind and encouraging. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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