‘Angel on my shoulder’ is a beautiful and kind soul who has always inspired others with her positivity and love for life. Here, she shares her story:
I was brought up in a small family of 4, completely obsessed with each other (I do wonder at times if that was such a good thing) – full of love, laughs and respect. Something my brother and I continue to take forward, even more so for him as he now has own family… To this day I still pull out the old pictures of us growing up, from the shy smiles, mad family parties (such fun), to the wide happy eyes at Christmas. I’m thankful for an amazing childhood thanks to great parents.
My parents were from different countries, different cultures, religions and beliefs, they met back in the 70s and even to this day it can be a big deal. They fought to be together – the judge even took pity on my dad when he was actually meant to be deported back to India, due to an expired visa on their wedding day! I think she could sense my mum’s sweet nature and how much they loved each other so let him stay. Just one of the stories my parents shared with my brother and I, which makes us giggle to this day.. They taught us to love openly, to respect each other and not have secrets; to be true to ourselves and ensure not to hurt others. Some say my relationship with my mum was too open – I disagree – she helped mould me in to the woman I am today because I could go to her about everything and never feel I couldn’t talk to her. We did so much together as mother and daughter and I will always be thankful for that. My dad always had the loud voice and big personality (most will say I am just like him). I don’t know why but I would always be scared to go to my dad when I was younger with big questions or requests, but they were my own issues because he was always such a teddy bear about everything.
Forward 31 years. Things change so rapidly for us as a family – my mum gets cancer for the second time – she fought it a few years back, returned to work, remained the social butterfly she was and it just made her stronger. This time, however, is different. The changes we saw were heartbreaking all before diagnosis. We were losing mum slowly before our eyes. When it was all confirmed was the hardest moment, something we all had to deal with in our own way. Dad remained the head of the family – leaving work and staying home to care for her (he did an amazing job), my brother found it the hardest to handle … I will leave that there. Then there was me. I stepped up a few gears but to be honest I was always independent, always got on with things and dealt with them as and when. I’m not sure how to explain it, not sure if it was a personal challenge to prove to myself that I had it in me to be able to deal with difficult situations and not let my mum see how much I was hurting – but to be honest, this wasn’t about me, it was all about my mum and what she needed from us. I guess my turning point in all this was realising our roles had reversed. I was now ‘mum’ caring in a way she did for me – to this day it’s my proudest moment, especially when I could hear her tell other people she was so thankful for me. There is nothing more rewarding or more special than hearing those words. Then there are those moments we shared alone – those are the memories I don’t share with anyone. I treasure those for myself. They bring me up through dark places and help me through the times when I need her most.
Its been just over two years now and I have changed as a person. I don’t dwell on little things – I’m stronger than ever (maybe too strong and harsh in other people’s eyes) but I actually don’t know how else to be now. But don’t get me wrong, I still love hard – I guess that’s where the obsession with my family hasn’t gone and, thinking about it now, I’m glad. My dad has become ‘Mum’ & ‘Dad’ and I love him for it. He reassures me all the time that he will always be there for us and that I need to start thinking about the next chapter of my life. I guess that’s another story for another time … He doesn’t realise though how much my brother and I hurt for him everyday, we see the changes, the loneliness, but we keep his spirits up. My nephew has been the ray of sunlight to our dark times – he’s amazing…
I never thought I would be one to write about my love for my family or my role as a daughter, but I felt a deep connection with ‘The Love & Life Project’ and wanted to share the love that I have with my family but also that love I will never have again, from my mum – but I’m thankful I had 31 years with her and have learnt lessons about life, people, family and most of all about myself.