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Friday, March 11, 2011

Update on Dad; family; rituals:

I went to the hospice this morning at 8am to take some Thai fish curry for dad. Last night I got home as was feeling pretty tired so I got up early this morning to cook the food. I talked to the night nurse Margaret and she said that he had a somewhat good night but woke up with pain early this morning so she gave him some pain meds. He put off his 4:30am shower till later today (unusual for him). He woke about 7:00am and had his breakfast and went back to bed. When I went to his room, he was sleeping but I woke him. He said the pain was at the back part of his neck and when I felt it, (on the right side of his neck close to his spinal column) there was another large mass which I would estimate at the size of a tennis ball. The swelling in his top lip has decreased so that it looks normal but the bottom lip is still about triple the size of a normal lip. The mass on the left side of his chin/neck is now about the size of an oversize orange but not quite grapefruit size. I can’t believe how quickly it’s growing now. The area looks like it has a localized fever so he had a gel pack on it. This has been the state for the last few days.

Family

Dad seemed to be alert and in a good mood so it was easy to have a conversation with him. I told him that my cousin Joanie (Uncle Sydney’s daughter) called mom last night and she was crying because she heard that dad passed away. Mom told her it was not true. Joanie said that Uncle Sidney was crying too because all his family is passing. Joanie was reminiscing about our young days and she remembers that when she came to visit at Belair, I used to bathe her and comb her hair. She was a younger than me and I do remember taking care of her and her brother Boyee. I went back to my family tree records and saw that her name is Elsa Savitree. I don’t why, but we sometimes called her Rambling Rose (like the Nat King Cole song). Joanie, if you are reading this and you remember, remind me when I talk to you. Of course we used to call Boyee by his full name of Ernest Stanley Amardyal Jagdial – only to tease him because he didn’t like it. And Boyee, I hope you can forgive us for teasing you when we were kids.

When I told mom that Joanie had the same name as me, she said that Uncle Sidney really loved us and may have named Joanie after me. I know that dad’s brother Uncle Lionel named his daughter Sandra after me (he told me this in 1978 when I visited him in England). Uncle Persaud (grandfather Khartoon’s son) also named his daughter Savitree after me. I felt quite honoured when I heard that but mom reminded me a long time ago, that when I was a young child, I was the favourite (and for a time, the only little child in the family) so the uncles used to spoil me tremendously. I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT!!! I was telling dad this morning that Joanie had the same name as me and he was remembering when I was a kid and all the people in Belair liked me. I don’t know if they all liked me but I do know that everyone knew me and Karran more so than they knew Bena.

I told Dad that mom decided to list the house for sale and he and she will have to sign the papers today. He was okay with that but thought the house may have been listed for more. Like Karran said, the listing price is only that and the selling price will reflect what the market will bear. Dad knows it was only a matter of time before we got to this point. Last year Karran, Sophie and I had a discussion with them about selling the house and moving into something a bit more manageable but they were not ready to move. The time has now come. Mom will live with me for the short term and she can decide at a later time where she wants to live on a more permanent basis, which could include her staying with me or Sophie as one of the options.

Mom is happy with her decision to list with the agent she listed with. Apparently she promised Alan’s mom Judy many years ago that whenever she was ready to sell the house, she would list it with Judy. Sadly, Judy passed away from brain cancer several years ago but her son Alan carried on the business and over the years, he continued to send a calendar at the beginning of the year. So mom is happy to have kept her promise to Judy, albeit posthumously.

Karran is off to the hospice later today to do a Hindu prayer with dad. Auntie Betty (via Auntie Siloch) told us what to do and why it should be done. I don’t know if there is a specific name for the ritual but we are supposed to get 5 different type of grains, a Gita and a piece of gold and dad recites the Gaytri mantra while touching his forehead and then his chest. The prayer is supposed to help remove any obstacles in dad’s path to the next life as per Hindu belief in reincarnation. This may not be the exact meaning but it is my understanding of the purpose. The son is supposed to perform the ritual but in the absence of the/a son, the daughters or other family members can do it.

Rituals

I have to say this, which has nothing to do with the ritual and is NOT intended to be disrespectful of the Hindu religion because I don’t think this has anything to do with Hinduism: I am an Indian woman but I never could understand the importance placed on boy children or the preference for boy children in many cultures, most especially in the Indian culture. I think of a child as a gift and embrace them as gifts. I have spent a lifetime in my work and personal life trying to fight inequalities, but when they are so ingrained in one’s culture, it is hard to change the mindset. It’s like asking someone to change who they are or change their belief system. I would just like someone to explain how it makes sense in any way and not give a reason like “well I will have someone to carry on my name.” That doesn’t even make sense to me and would lead to a whole other discussion.  I have not ever had an adequate explanation from anyone, and I really do mean anyone, as to why the preference for boys makes sense and I have to say, it transgresses my sensibilities.  Maybe it's because I think of my three daughters as the greatest gifts I have received and my three granddaughters are equally as important as my grandson.  None of them hold a higher place than the other.
That’s my Friday so far and the day isn’t even half done.

Take care all and have a great weekend...
sandra

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