24 And Counting…

Today, July 3 is the day Sanj and I said,”I do” 24 years ago!  I am not sure Sanj really knew what he was getting into when he said those fateful words, well I am actually 100% sure he did not as I have change so much!

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As I continue to work on my book, I have been reading through my journals, the ones I still have and OH MY GOODNESS I had it bad for this guy! (I am talking about Sanj)!   My journals are filled with pleading, whining, begging God to please let me have him as my everything.  I can only imagine God looking down at me chuckling, telling me to be patient, which I obviously did not hear!

Every year I post something about us, on our anniversary and this man that I love to pieces.  This year something happened.  As my mom was dying, as I went to stay with her those many weeks, Sanj and I changed.  I can’t explain it except to say that you may always realize you love someone, and yet when that person is not in your space, you realize something.  I realized how much I depend on him, physically to hold me when I am sad or happy or mad or scared.   I depend on him emotionally, when I am crazy in a good, happy hyper way, or in a low, I’m struggling so function way or just tell me I am loved and cherished when I need it.  He holds me spiritually especially when I was away and thought I was going to break, he held me accountable, through his words yet often through his music.  He often trying to hold my words before they come out… trying to be my filter, mostly unsuccessfully.  We found a new us during our time away.  It made us strong, more in love, more dependent, appreciative that our love is a gift that God bless us with.

I am going to end with 25 reasons I love you, Sanj… 24+ 1 year looking ahead…

  1. I love you for your Type A, do it 100% of the way because as much as I find it irrating often enough, I know that you are in this marriage 100%.  You are stuck with me, till death do us part.
  2. I have your gift of music.  It is such a blessing to hear you playing and/or singing that is often church for you.  It is a way that I often feel God’s love and reassurance.
  3. I love your love for family.  If you love someone, you love them all in.  If you dislike someone… oh dear!
  4. I love your dedication and commitment to take care of us, all 8 of us!  I am sure we had no idea what this entailed and yet you make sure that we have all we need and often all we want.
  5. I love how you are my opposite in EVERY WAY and find ways to let it compliment our relationship, even if it drives you crazy.
  6. I love how you protect me.  I know with you I am safe.
  7. I love you for the family we are blessed with.  What a ride we are on with these boys of ours!
  8. I love how you spoil me.  No pressure.  🙂  I know if I want it, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
  9. I love you for giving up your side of the bed, knowing  I feel safer.  (Sanj has had his side of the bed for 24 years.  He didn’t think twice, OK maybe once before he offered it upon discovering I slept better on that side of the bed. PTSD).
  10. I love how you make a list in your head for the day and polite reshuffle when I throw a monkey wrench into that list.
  11. I love how you support my dreams, even when they change rather rapidly.
  12. I love how you believe in me when I don’t believe in myself.
  13. I love you for freezing at night when I am hot and need the room cold, very cold.
  14. I love you for letting me love my birthday!!! I love you for helping me celebrate in whatever craziness that comes to mind that year!
  15. I love you for pretending you hate my romantic comedies and what them with me.
  16. I love you for stoping at McD for my Diet Coke (they have the best).
  17. I love you for filling gas in a vehicle that I have run dry.
  18. I love you for holding down the fort as I pursue dreams that have me traveling.
  19. I love you so much for taking my hurts and making them yours, always trying to kiss them better.
  20. I love you for never giving up on me when I was sick, scared and so not me, and loving me through it.
  21. I love you for the way you make me laugh, especially when you are recording your harmonies!
  22. I love your laugh, the belly one!
  23. I love you for letting us eating in your car and counting to 10 when we spill!
  24. How did I get to 24 already… I love you for all the things I can’t begin to list as my list has to stop at 25!
  25. I love you, Jesus so much for blessing me with this amazing being that I get to call my husband, father of my crazy boys, my best friend and life partner.  Thank you, Jesus for Sanj.

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LOVE THIS FACE SO MUCH!!!

 

Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, My Book, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Til Death Do Us Part…

When Sanj and I said our vows some 23 years ago, we had traditional vows.  I could not imagine writing my own vows and then verbalizing them in front of a mass of people.  I would have, for sure made a fool of myself!  Yet those words that we uttered, “Til death do us part” is something we promised each other.  Till death… means, of course if Sanj drives me crazy and I kill him, I honoured my our vows and he was out of luck!  Lucky for him, he drives me batty often enough, but not enough to get rid of him permanently!

I never really worry about losing Sanj.  He is someone that takes commitment serious as he proved and continues to prove time and again. Sometimes he does not make the best of choices… but that commitment factor never has wavered.  I was in labour with Max (kid #4) and remember so clearly holding on to the wall, as I called him at work to tell him it was time.  It was November 11, 1999, 10:59 am when I called.  How in the world would I remember the exact moment I called having been in labour SIX times?  Let me share… see November 11 is Remembrance Day (here in Canada) and we take that seriously (there is history but I’ll let you look it up if  there’s interest).  As I said started to tell him I was in labour and he shushed me!  He said, “Hold on, it’s the minute of silence.”  Did I mention I was in labour, contractions coming rapidly and I needed him to be attentive to what I was saying?  Yes, he takes commitment seriously… to observe the minute of silence.

Sanj is committed to his patients. I suppose this is the reason he has a successful clinic (for those unaware, he is an audiologist).  His commitment to serving his patients is par to none.  I was again in labour, likely kid #3 and I called him to let him know that I was ready to go to the hospital.  He told me that he would meet me there as was the plan as I was fine to drive to the hospital.  Sanj did not show up.  I could feel the contractions and needed his hand to squeeze as this was only a small way to let him know I was in pain and my death grip passed on a bit of that to him. I called him… he was still at the clinic.  He was “just finishing up.”  My dear doctor took the phone and told him, “If you want to see this baby being born, you better get here NOW!”  He was there in plenty of time, as this kid took his time to slide out.

Ok, I am sure you get the picture.  He honours his commitments to an annoying degree.  Lately I realize that he is not just commitment to his obligations.  I have realized that this is a disorder.

unnamed-2 These are Sanj’s shoes.  He has broken our vows.  He has a love affair going on.  I am furious.  You understand that I would be glad to go without power at this point for him to give them up.  I would like to think that I am a little more attractive then this… but he is in love.

I don’t get it.  We have a lot in common, I realize.  We are both brown.  My skin would look ashy if I didn’t moisturize it.  My chin is kinda pointy like the tips.  My stomach (sadly) has all the stretch marking of this pair.  My mood can often be like the backs, whiney maybe even frowning.  Yet… overall I still like to think that I don’t look as beat up as this pair.

My mom died.  Sanj was getting ready to come with the boys.  I told the boys what to bring to wear.  I told Sanj that he needed to get a new pair of shoes.  I insisted on it.  This was our conversation:

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He took shoe polish of sorts and “fixed” the problem.  You see what I mean  about commitment or attachment issues?  You may wonder if he did replace the hideous shoes.  Did I mention he is an educated man that should present himself as educated?  Shoes speak volumes. Yesterday I saw him taking the laces off his nasty abused shoes.  He had another pair of shoes, the exact pair (yes he bought two of the exact pairs) that were slightly less beaten up and proudly showed me his “new” shoes.

There are many examples of his attachment/commitment issues.  I’ll share just one more.  He has his desk and chair that he spends more time at then home or anywhere else.  I came over to his space and plopped myself down on his chair, I mean literally plopped down. And wham!!! I had whiplash!!!  His chair… or part of a chair had a missing wheel!  The poor chair was supporting  the weight of a human on three wheels!  I figured it was because he did not have time to get a replacement. I offered to do so.  Sanj seemed appalled that I would offer such a thing!  “This is MY chair!”  (Insert eye rolling and exasperation.  What is wrong with this human?  And I need a crazy pill?

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Did you know you can buy replacement wheels for people with commitment/attachment issues?  Maybe he is not the only when with these issues!

Love this man of mine!  Yup!  I think I am safe to say he’s a keeper.  Well, I’m a keeper!

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He’s pretty attached to that stuff on his face! Oh well, I hear it could be worse!

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#Suicidesucks… #SometimesLifeDoesToo

This week there was so much in the news about suicide in light of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.  I suppose it is shocking to many of us considering that they seemed to have everything as judged by society.  I remember when Robin Williams committed suicide it made an impression on me.    He was someone that I loved as he was corky, average in his appearance and yet was so gifted to make the world smile. His death made my heart hurt so much for him.  I read about how despite sharing his depression  and what other issues he suffered from, he ultimately felt so low  that it was not worth it.  Not being, seemed easier.

Interestingly, while everyone has their opinion, I don’t see suicide as a weakness.  I see it as sad and horrific for those that are left behind, maybe even selfish (I am sure many think this) but I can’t see it as weakness.

Here’s my reasoning… How much strength or despair does it take to do it? To hang yourself?  I can’t imagine that moment when you let go and dangle there…  I can barely count to three and prick my finger to check my sugars, knowing that sting is coming  despite the sting lasting a split second, it is something that still makes me pause.  What does it take to make that one step of no return?

Suffering from depression over the years, there have been many a time of the 40+ years that life ending seemed so much easier than life continuing.  Depression is a very dark place.  It is a very lonely place.  It is a place that can be so paralyzing.  Sleep, that kind of sleep that is so deep, that shuts out the world is a place of such comfort.

Everyone says talk to someone, and I too suggest strongly doing so.  Any yet, talk to someone that you feel safe with.  Talk to someone that will really listen.  Talk to someone that gives you relief by sharing.  For me, this is my therapist.  It took a lot of long, dark lonely years to realize that I was not finding the right person.  Journaling helped me.  A lot. I know this isn’t for everyone.  Some people find exercising a relief.  Some find eating a relief. Singing, dancing, sports, cooking even cleaning can be someone’s relief.

There are so many times when it’s all so hard.  There’s so many times that I hate my pills knowing without them, functioning as a somewhat sane person would be impossible.  I hate the craziness that is a constant in my head.  My mind is in constant motion.  My mind finds no rest in sleep.  My sleep brings about dreams, more often than not, stressful or full of boogie man kind of stuff that I need a light on for me, not my kids. God is truly the One that held my hand and walked with me, often carrying me.  I know this is a constant.  Ending it… has come to mind… when I was the lowest… After being rape, I thought of it a lot.  I was alone.  After being hurt over and again by my parents, I thought about it.  I was all alone.  After pregnancy, not realizing it was severe postpartum depression and there WAS help, I thought about it.  At my lowest of lows, over the period of time that mental health was in a very bad place, I thought about it.  I  felt all alone (even though I wasn’t).  There have been moments in time, when it was SO HARD.  And yet, actually hurting myself, I was too scared.  And God had other plans.  So He again, carried me. Till I could stand again.  Till I could see again.  Till I found hope again. And, I know this is His promise when/if that horribleness returns.

PTSD sucks.  Depression sucks.  Anxiety sucks.  Moodiness sucks. Eating disorders suck. Addiction sucks. Personality disorders sucks.  OCD sucks.  And the list goes on…

My life is a yo-yo as far as my depression and anxiety goes.  For the most part, my meds, doctors and therapist are able to keep me pretty balanced and I can function as a decent mom, wife and friend.  Then something happens, such as watching my mom dying and then die and then finding my balance after all that pain and the emptiness that comes with her gone, forever.  I find myself off balance.  All that pain from yesteryear, all the things that caused my brokenness, that caused me to be labeled someone with post traumatic  stress disorder comes crashing down.  All the abuse and betrayal that come with being victimized by the church/ clergy never seem to be far away and then I feel so weighted.

I hide it.  Well, I should say I try to hide it.  And then they come, “What’s wrong?”  You don’t seem like yourself, are you ok?”  The one that cut me, my son, “You know I love you, right?”  When I question this, as he is usually my child whose love language is not verbal but rather acts of kindness, he said, “You look sad.”

I’m not suicidal.  Yet I see it differently.  Those that do it, that end it… I don’t see them as weak.  I see them as ….strong in their pain that it must end.  I am not advocating suicide.  I am NOT encouraging suicide.  AT ALL.

I am just saying, all the hash tags that are linked to suicide… #talktome #suicideprevention #depression #mentalhealth etc.  there’s so much more to the hashtags.  Sometimes reaching someone that can’t reach out to you or anyone outside themselves is important.  Sometimes instead of asking “how are you,” in passing, ask “how are you” and take time to encourage the real answer.  I think that the key to truly changing mental health is to see that someone that is really struggling with mental health, is stronger than you think.  They survived yesterday.  They are trying to survive today.

I really don’t know  how much strength it takes to end it but I assume it must take a lot of darkness and weariness.  I do know that somedays, getting though 24 hours is a super human feat.  I do know that many a day, only God grants me that strength.

I am not alone.  If this is you, then know you are not alone.  Yet know that while we may feel alone, maybe surviving  the 24 hours will bring a day that is much better.  There is alway hope, if we get past this moment.

Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, diabetes- type 2, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Tyler Graduate…

Today my Tyler (kid#2) is graduating with his Business degree!  This child of mine has been a joy to his father and I and we are so proud of him and the man he is becoming.  I have forever been calling him my gentle giant since he was in Jk.  He was such a timid child, one that would hide behind me when out and about.  Know I know he will stand in front of me and defend me to the ends of the earth.  He is a defender of those he loves.

As he has grown, he has lost his timidness and became a confident, silly, funny, motivated man.  As I write the word MAN, I am not sure how that is possible, and a lump in my throat is growing as I just adore this son of mine.

Sometimes picture say it best…

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Such a beautiful baby… truly a gift from God to Sanj and I.

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I’m jumping to boyhood sadly my pictures are on another computer … but this face is one of mischief and playfulness.

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He can be very intensive and a thinker.

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He loves gifts but can never stand to not know what may be coming his way!

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He is an athlete …

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He is a lover of animals…

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He has always had a fascination with his facial hair…

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We are so proud to be his mom and dad…

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LOL he is a big kid…

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He is my styling man, thrilled when he could fit into his dad’s clothes… dad not so thrilled.

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He loved his Ammama and she loved him.  He was never to big to crawl into her bed and hang out with her.  She was and would be so proud of him today.

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A boy and his toy…

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A beautiful girl and her lucky boy….

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Again, mischievous child of ours… this picture was on picture day one year in high school.  There was a no hat policy for pictures.  I guess this child of mine took that as a challenge.

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Brothers stick together.  Don’t mess with his brothers as he is a defender to them whether he likes them that day or not.

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He is a guy’s guy.

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And then sometimes not… he was cleaning up the tarp from the winter rink… and then scurried out of there tell Sanj the snake was THIS BIG and he was not going back! lol

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Tyler, we are so proud of you.

We love you.

You will always be our baby.

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Missing Ammama…

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My mom was well known for her talented cooking skills.  She did not use recipes or measurements and could make anything taste great.  We grew up loving spinach, okra, fish, Brussels sprouts, liver (I never knew it was liver)… and the list goes on.  We loved eating.  We were never the kind that ate to live but simply enjoyed eating.

My mom lived with us for 5ish years from the time Sammy was a couple of months.  She was a very very very fussy eater.  If you knew her and tried to feed her or watched her eat anything but her own cooking, you know this.  She was not trying to be rude but she just truly preferred what she made over anything.

My boys loved my mom’s food.  Every time Ammama came, they each rattled off their desired meals.  My  mom always accommodated.   They loved her cooking so much that there was never left overs.  That is the case now, with thing any one makes but when they were younger this would happen.  Here’s the thing, Indian food, most of it requires prep and sometimes consuming prep.  I would peel the potatoes, but she always wanted to cut potatoes herself, her way.  I was never sure whether to be offended as I was in my 40s, a grown up that cooked too!  She was the same with onions or various vegetables. She was very conscious of how her food looked as much as how it tasted.

My boys were very connected to their Ammama and loved her very much.  Her suffering and death were and continue to be  very hard on them.  One of the boys looked so sad the other day and when I asked what was wrong, he told me he was missing Ammama. We tried out a new Indian restaurant that serves dosa  (an Indian type crepe with fermented batter).  Dosa was something my mom made that we could not eat enough of.  One batch she easier stood there made at least 30+.  She would just keep making them till the boys said they were full because they felt bad for eating so much. While at the restaurant, the boys were talking about how Ammama’s dosa was better.  Or how they preferred Ammama’s tomato chutney to the coconut one that is typical with this dish. There was Ammama’s fish curry that she put green mango in so it gave a sour bit it, or her  lamb and gongara  and the list continues.

Yes, my mom did teach me to cook.  I feel pretty awesome when my boys tell me it’s like Ammama’s or almost as good and yet a piece of me knows that my mom’s cooking was top notch.  There’s a part of me that wants my boys to remember Ammama’s cooking as the best and continue to hold that memory close to their hearts, as with time the taste will be forgotten yet the memory will be in their hearts.

We have such a crazy memory of my mom in the kitchen.  If you cook Indian food, you know that as you cook, splatting is a nightmare on your clothes.  The stains that can come with the curry, oil, turmeric, etc can do a number on your clothing. My mom knew this and usually put an old top on.  I am not sure what she was cooking but if I was to guess, she was likely frying fish for curry (I know, I did say her cooking was delicious but certainly not low fat)!  Again, I am not sure of the reason, I just brushed it off as my mom being eccentric… she had out a black garbage bag over her, poked holes for her arms and was cooking away.  Sanj came home, saw this and was appalled!  He looked at my mom and told her how unsafe that was.  A bit of grease or what not and the bag would melt on her or worse she would get burned or a fire would could spark… who knew!  This is a memory that often makes us laugh and my mom always looked sheepish when it was retold.

I am not sure if my brothers and I every really thought of the work my mom put into the meals we took for granted.  She worked full time and then some and yet we always had a decent meal.  As I make meals, simple meals, tired and often grumpy doing so, I often think of my mom and the strength this took.  I guess God really does give us what we need and He knew what she needed.

I love how my mom is smiling and cooking.  This picture is of my mom in her element…her love language shouting out to us that were lucky enough to be loved by her.

Posted in Boys, choices, faith, Family, food, General, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | 2 Comments

I Heard Him…

If you follow me, you know that this passion is about sexual assault, the #metoo movement, #churchtoo #pastoralabuse.  I am grateful that God has given me strength to speak up about this issue and to be a voice for many that cannot speak about their pain and abuse.

This morning I was reading a powerful article by a lady that had horrible abuse by her father and then this continued to be abused by different men in her life as she went to the different phases of life.  It spoke to me.  It reminded me that this #metoo movement is not going away.  It is gaining momentum as more women (and men) feel empowerment at the injustice that is so huge and wide spread.  I think that suddenly, those that have been abused, realize that they are not alone!  It is really a lonely place to be.  It is a place of self loathing.  It is a place of needing to forgive yourself and yet not finding that power to do so.  OK, I can obviously go on with this … but I am getting distracted about the point of this post.

I have forever said I am going to write a book.  FOREVER!  I probably have written a few version of the book I am wanting to write and then I discard it.  Now is the time.  I know this is the time and am ready.  I made myself a nook at the office so that I head to work with the family and have a time carved out to write with no household distracts.  I find that being around people is something that helps me.  So, this is where I am at.  On top of all this, I know that God is and has been nudging me to get going.  All the obstacles are out of the way.  I have the support of Sanj who is very tolerate of all my projects.  Some I complete, others fall by the way side.  So I am sitting here in my nook….

This morning as I was reading this article, I was flooded with doubt.  I mean MAJOR doubt.  Have you read my husband’s stuff?  He writes so beautifully and uses big words!  I read my brother’s stuff and there are such powerful thoughts I wonder how we are related.  I read this article, saying stuff that I want to say and found myself in a mode of panic.  I was letting God know this, as I stood in the shower ( the quietest time of my day).  I know He knows all my thought and emotions and yet in this moment I was flooded with insecurities.

I love how people come up with quotes that become well known.  I wish I could think of something cool that Toby Mac has on his sites or Maya Angelo, or Abraham Lincoln.  As I stood there, full of doubt, ready to go into a full on panic attack (well, not like before), I had this thought…

If God calls you, He will empower you.

I walked out of the shower and felt shaky (not from low blood sugar).  I felt held up.  I felt a huge WOW moment.  God just reassured me!  I am not one that will say God spoke to me… of course He has but it has been different.  This time, I know God was promising me that He is calling and He will give me what I need.  I felt kind of giddy.  (If you know me,  you know that I can get very excitable, easily).

SO…. I am writing this for a reason.  I am going into this with faith.  Maybe not as small as a mustard seed, but it is small.  Yet my excitement is full on.  So, I am going to quit stalling and DO IT.  I am writing this 1) because I am excited to really HEAR God’s voice loud and clear 2) to ask if you will pray for me and for this project and 3) please buy my book  (here is where I hear Sanj’s voice telling me not to get ahead of myself…lol).

Thank you ahead of time!

xoxo

Posted in choices, crazy pill, diabetes- type 2, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, My Book, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Happy Nurses Week

My mom told me from a very young age that the nursing profession was one that I should never consider.  I am not the kind that handles any bodily pieces or liquids that are not attached or exiting ones body well.  My boys know from that first wiggly tooth to not come to me with it.  I cannot stand to even see it wiggly much less handle that nasty phase of when it is dangling by that last bit. Just writing this is making my skin crawl.

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My Mom Awarded Nurse of the Year

As you can imagine, with six very active boys, we have had our share of nasty body piece that have come detached or foreign objects piercing flesh or many times fluids exiting and not landing in places that would be appreciated.  Sanj has usually been around and done the ER trips to have things removed, attached, detached and/or any glued back. Oh the stories… but that could be a whole book in itself!

The last few weeks of my mom’s life, she slowly lost the ability to do things that we think nothing of and most take for granted.  My youngest brother was often the one that helped her over the months do things  and yet as the last weeks came, it was me that she needed/wanted to help her.  My mom commented every so often, “Who would have thought that you would do all this, “ and the voice in my head would often agree and think, “Certainly not me!!!”

We had in home hospice care and the nurses and aids would come and do their thing.  Often, even though help was there, my mom would still ask me to do stuff.  It really is amazing how God gives you the strength to do what He asks of you.

Here are some of the things I learned… what nurses do is something that no one in any other profession does.  Their jobs require skill, knowledge above and beyond the books, gentle hands, gentle voices that can be firm when needed, hearts that are huge and a true love for people that often requires them to go above and beyond.  Being a nurse for 30 plus years, my mom was truly a difficult patient in her last months.  Looking back, I realize that it was likely fear and loss of control that likely had her “misbehaving.”  I am pretty sure somewhere on the hospice wall is a picture of my mom with the award of Most Difficult Patient.

The whole time I was there, the nurses were great.  And yet, my mom’s last 24 hours, when she decided to stop fighting  and she was ready to go, the nurses that were with us those bleak, scary, horrible hours, may actually be angels.  All my mom wanted was a bath.  Not the sponge baths she would get at this point but rather the baths/showers we take for granted every day.  As she lay there, struggling to breath, as my brother and I would dose off, wondering what the next hour would bring, this beautiful nurse gave my mom a bath.  Of course it was a sponge one but she did not have to do this.  She was clean and at this point would not have known better yet she did this with such kindness.  She then spent at least a half hour massaging my mom’s legs and arms.  I am sure that at this point my mom did not really understand any of this but must have felt comfort from the touch of this nurse as she so compassionately massaged my mom.  Another nurse came into relieve the night nurse and yet this nurse still stayed.  Together they dressed my mom, combed her hair and blessed her with dignity as she was breathing her last breath.  Soon after this, they called my brother and I in and said she was going.  She took her last breath.  She left us with dignity and pride that she would have wanted.  I may not remember these two nurses names, but I will always remember their acts of kindness that the hospice staff showed my mom.

To all the nurses out there, Thank you.  Thank you for going above and beyond what is required of you.  I have often said I never understood why anyone would want to be a nurse.  I still don’t but am grateful for you beautiful people that do!

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My Own Grizzly Adams!!!

Over the last year, it seems that beards are in.  I should rephrase that, not the low trim or couple of days growth but the Grizzly Adams kind of look!  We used to love watching Grizzly Adams.  His look was kinda cool as he often resembled his buddies the grizzlies. grizzly adams and bearCan you spot him? lol

My husband seems to have found this beard thing a fascination.  Sanj had a beard from the time I first met him.  He shaved it off years after we were married and I remember having to adjust with his beardless face.  Mind you, his beard was always trimmed low and well-groomed.

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Love this face… and this beard is how I knew him forever.

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A day’s worth of growth… love this face!

sanj4I should have cropped this to bring his face closer… even here, as he grows it out, I am ok with it.  It is a novelty. It makes him happy.  He loves matching his clothes with his beard.  I love him so I love this face.

sanj5OK…. now…. I think I’m done.  The man is hairy.  His chest is hairy.  There’s not much distinction from where that face I love ends and his chest begins.

And yet, the boy in this man is so happy to keep growing this craziness all over him.  He loves the products that are available for this scruff.  He loves playing with it. It seems to make him happy.

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And so I cannot help but just love this face that gets such joy out of such a mess! lol

Feel free to only make positive comments.

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Don’t Judge A Book By His Cover

Unknown-1I have had a couple of crazy moments in the last couple of weeks where God has been showing me His presence.  The truth be told, sometimes I think He’s been waving me down to grab my attention.  I had to go to the hospital to do an errand.  Our hospital in town, I never really will understand the design of it.  It is a crazy maze that requires a map to find your way around.  The main floor, for example, is the 4th.  Why? The 2nd floor is the basement.  (Well, at least I think it is, I don’t think there is a 1st floor).  This is irrelevant but the point is that I had to make my way to a department on the 2nd floor.  This floor is not very populated and I actually always find it kind of creepy being there never knowing who is going to come around the corner or how I will find my way as I am usually lost looking for the elevator that takes me to the 4th floor.

This really all too say that the basement creeps me out.  I suppose I feel very vulnerable when I am alone.  I went and completed my errand.  I went to find the elevators that would take me back to the main floor.  I stood at the elevator only to see that one was out of service.  The other one was being entered by a cop, who was pushing a wheelchair with a man that was handcuffed.  The elevator was kind of full and since I was not sure if this was the right spot, I hesitated long enough that the door shut.  I turned around and there stood a man that looked like his face had been shot.  I suppose this was my irrational fear that took over my mind.   I figured  that the guy the police had handcuffed and this man with his face missing had an altercation.  That was my initial thought.  I only looked at this man for half a second and was so shaken that I headed in another direction that I thought had another set of elevators.  I was shaking and freaked out that I was alone in this hall with this man.  (if you have followed my blog, you likely know that I suffer from PTSD and this is a trigger).  I tried calling Sanj so that he would “be with me” but of course he chose that moment to be unavailable and be with a patient.  I was all alone.  Of course I was praying that God would keep me safe from anything bad.

I found myself back to the same spot, alone.  I entered the elevator and felt so relieved that I had escaped the bad guys.  I saw my man with the face that looked like he had been shot outside.

My heart felt something.  I will admit there was some fear and yet I felt such sadness for this man.  I named him Bob.  He is a patient.  Friends who have someone in palliative care said my “Bob” is there too.  He likely has face cancer.  He’s dying.  He had no mouth or nose from what I could see in my 2 second glance.  The space where the cancer, I’m assuming, has eaten away is a huge crater that is sadly hideous, it is something no one should have to live with.

My heart just ached and actually continues to ache for “Bob.” I found myself praying for him since I saw him.  I found myself wishing so BADLY I had said hi to him or that I could have smiled at him.  I hated that I assumed the worst and thought of him as a bad guy.  I cannot stop thinking of him.  I keep praying for him.  As I googled face cancer, if that is what is killing him, I did not see one case that was as horrible as his.  I wondered when someone had hugged him last or smiled at him?  Did he think a smile was someone mocking him?

I watched my mom die, grateful that she died knowing she was loved.  I watched a stranger die (my next post…) grateful to found out he was adored.   I find death so ugly a thing and yet as I think of my Bob, who’s likely to pass soon, I wonder if he was loved.  When was he hugged last? I really hope that my Bob dies feeling God’s love surrounding him.

 I learned a valuable lesson.  We never know someone’s story.  We can never know the pain or hurt that one has lived through.  We can only know that God loves each of us. (I won’t remind you that I am His Favourite).  🙂  I hope I never judge a book by its cover again.  And… could you please say a prayer for my Bob,” that he feels peace and love surround him?

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Different

I am such a quirky person.

I am weird.

I am unique.

I am truly different.

Now if you are just meeting me for the first time, depending on the environment, you may find me friendly and outgoing.  Or quiet and shy.  (If you know me well, I realize that the quiet and shy me, my seem a bit of a stretch).  Yet trust me, there are places where I just go into my shell.

I have often talked about my shy, nerdy, misfit self, especially in high school.  I yearned to be just like everyone else.  I hated that I stuck out like a sore thumb.  We were poor, we were minorities, my dad was shameless in every way.  I am not sure but I think being white might have been on my wish list.  Huh?  Well, in the community we were part of, the majority of people were white, educated and well off.  I felt like I stuck out like at giraffe … I had HUGE glasses.  I had no name jeans.  I was so skinny, twig like skinny.  I had huge feet.  I tripped over my feet.  There was nothing graceful about me.  I had no skills in music, art nor did I have one athletic bone in me.  I was beyond shy.  One of my closest friends now loves telling about how when she talked to me that first day, I looked like I wanted to just blend into the locker rather than be spoken too.  I was so different.  I hated being different.

It took a lot of years for me to realize that I was different.  I was special and lovable.  I mean just because I did not like me… did not mean much.  God put people in my life that loved me unconditional and over time, I saw myself through eyes of God and  learned over the years to love me.

As I have aged, I have learned to see being different as a cool kind of thing.  I have learned to see what God blessed me with, the crazy, quirky traits as a special gift.

I watch my boys embrace their differences.  We live in a town, again, predominately white, though that is changing.  They went to a school where they were they only minorities in the school for a long time, though that has changed too.  Yet I love that they are able to embrace their uniqueness.  I love that they are learning self love at an early age.  I am sure they have their insecurities, of course but over all they seem to embrace their uniqueness.

I love this song…

  Different  As I was making supper last night it was playing and I found myself so grateful for my  differences.  I am working towards being different in a way that is pleasing to God.  I love that He IS so different and that He invites me to be like Him.  I love that as I open my heart, He is changing me, bit by bit.  I want the world to see “that there is something different in me.”

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Holding On By A Thread

It is Saturday evening and it has been that kinda day that you want to put a log in the fire place, stay in your pyjama and get lost in a good book.  It is mid April and this weekend we are probably having the worst weather of the season.  It has been freezing rain, little pellets of ice showering down.  The streets are slick, with ice and snow.  This is not the weather that  I care to drive in.  Around town I see pick up drivers that seem to enjoy swerving around town, causing me stress but Sanj assuring me they are playing.  Idiots!

We did go into town for lunch with some of my favourite people (don’t worry, I have a lot of favourites).  While in town we picked up a few things to make a super delicious dinner and Sanj bought me a little something so I could hear my music from my phone.

I spent most  of the afternoon cooking my mom’s lamb curry.  The men that were home devoured it.  When it is a treat like lamb, they don’t eat to be full.  They eat to eat till they cannot possibly eat any more and then… will return a bit later to eat again.

Church tomorrow is cancelled due to the weather.  I am actually sad about that because my favourite praise team is up.  I get such a blessing from the praise part of service and I am amazed that God is slowly healing my heart to actually pay attention to the sermons. (Did I  write that)?

I am in a place right now that life is full of God sightings.  I can’t even call them God sightings because I feel they are more than sighting.  I feel like I am going to burst with the goodness of God in my life!  Ok, let me clarify.  We did not win the lotto so Sanj is still going to have to bust his cute bottom to feed all of us, much less all the  other zillion and one things that require a pay check.  I still have all sorts of the typical life stresses.  I have worries about my kids.  I have more worries about my kids.  I worry about our extended families.  I worry about… Ok you see, I am  still at the place where I depend on God for all the “stuff” I have always needed Him to provided.

Yet here is the thing, have you ever “walked through the valley of the shadow of death?”  I mean this takes on a new meaning.  After going through a very rough dark crazy year as I have blogged about a few times, I felt like I was out of the darkness.  I felt like I was going to find me again.  And then my mom’s sickness took a turn and with the ugliness of an evil force, it dragged us through a path of such … I am not even sure I know a word at this moment to describe the world we were pulled into.

See, I thought that once my mental health found it’s way back to some semblance of normalness   (for me) that life was going to be a smooth ride.  I mean did I not deserve that?  I was prepared to spend 2 maybe 3 weeks with my mom.  She was declining and we thought as I went to be with her it would be a time that was doable for all of us.  As week 3 passed and week 4 came and then week 5… I was lost in a place where I was all alone.  The daytime was ok.  It was busy.  And when I was not physically doing, I was hanging with my mom, watching all her favourite shows.  She loved the court shows… did you know there is a show called Paternity Court, 11:30 am every week day… and boy, it is a bit addicting.  My mom and I would get so irritated if the worker or nurse came at that time!  I mean was he the father of the child???  Ok, I got off track.  As I was saying, the day times were fine.  It was the night time, from 11pm to 6am that I was lost in this abyss, in darkness literally and figuratively.  I have never been apart from my family that long.  I have never been away from Sanj for more than a few days.  I have never been a good sleeper when Sanj was away.  I always had a kid come sleep with me, so his spot wasn’t empty.  I have never been in a place where I lay there every night, wondering if my mom was going to die.  I did not sleep.  I would get up when she would be too quiet and go to her room and stand there with my phone, which provided some light and watch to see if her chest was moving.   Sleep was a joke.  It taunted me with a few winks here and then I would wake and realize that I had only slept a half an hour.  I texted Sanj many times over the course of the night.  I would call him and cry my eyes out tell him I could not do this another night.  And then, in those moments when it was just me looking into the darkness, I would cry out to God.  I would cry out to Him. I would cry out and beg Him to take this cup away from my mom.  I would beg Him to please let her die in her sleep.  Let this ugly disease that had her fighting for each breath release her.  I was not asking God to not take her, because I think we accepted that but I was begging Him to take her gently.

I found myself asking God for something.  I was not sure what but I felt like I was there for me too.  I knew He was wanting me there for a reason, a reason beyond helping my mom.  I have over the years had my temper tantrums with God.  I see Him standing over me, shaking His head, maybe even smiling, saying, “Child, I have you.  I have you in my arms and you will see.”  God is so patient with me!  As I have grown in my walk with my Father, I have not had the tantrums of those yesterdays.  And yet, while I was at my mom’s, there was a time where I felt I was holding on to my faith by a thread.

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God used Sanj to help me hang on to that thread.  God used my army of warriors that were praying for me to keep hanging on to that thread.  I am not proud that I let myself get that weak and yet I know that I grew from that moment.  There were times I begged God to just end all this,  well as each night passed and slept taunted me, I became more desperate.

I know that Job in the Bible had it rough!  I mean really rough.  I guess that is why God honoured his faith.  I wondered if that was my Job moment, my lowest, hardest test?  I realize that there is a lot that could be uglier.  I really do.  Yet after coming out of my sickness, I wasn’t sure how strong I was.  I was constantly waiting for the panic attacks to come.  I was constantly telling Sanj that I was so scared I was going to break. Again.  I kept asking God to please help me.

It is actually 30 days that I have been home.  It has been 30 days of thanking God for His grace.  It has been 30 days of being grateful that my mom is at peace.  It has been 30 days of missing her.  It has been 30 days of having Sanj hold me and never ever wanting that to stop.  It has been 30 days of …. well it has been 30 days of God making good on His promise that He has me!

I am inhaling deeply, something I have learned I need to do to stabilize myself when something feels too big, either good or bad.  I feel like I am ready.  I am ready to do it!  I am so excited that God is leading me in exciting ways.  And… here’s the thing, I am just so scared that His calling and His listening is so huge.  I mean, I am realizing that I am His favourite!  (Yes, I realize that you likely feel that way too… and that’s ok…I won’t break your bubble)!!!  🙂

Thursday I speak again.  I am excited.  I am ready.  I am asking for God to use my pain for His glory.  I love that He is and letting me FEEL HIM in such a strong way!  I love that my thread, that one I was holding on to by that little piece of fibre that I could barely hold on,  I realize that I was not holding on to that thread alone!  God had His hands cupping my hands, hanging on to that thread with me!  I was not alone.  I hate that I still become so whiny!  I am almost embarrassed but I love the image of God holding my hands in His, grasping that piece of thread, know that He would not let it go.  He had me.

By the way, even though I am pretty sure I am His favourite, He is holding your hand too, if you are barely holding on.

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I Love You ❤️

C9997174-BCBE-46AC-973D-CC9963949F14Today  will be one month since my mom passed.

The lessons I learned in that 6 weeks I spent with her are ones that God obviously wanted me to learn.  Others were learned as I talked to friends and realized some things were generational and some were cultural.  I feel like I learned more in  those 42 days than in my 4 years of university.

Growing up, our family never really said, I love you” to each other.  I guess with my mom, it was a given.  She would likely have been hurt if she every thought we questioned it.  Her love language was acts of kindness.   She showered that love everywhere to everyone.  Cooking was her special gift.  She was a cook.  Period.  She cooked all the time for everyone.  It did not matter how tired she was, there would be a meal for us, regardless of if she worked two shifts back to back, we knew there would be a meal.  Amamma’s (grandma) visit to our house had my kids ready with their demands of what dishes they wanted and what she would make first.  As the boys grew, so did their appetites and amounts they would consume.  The curries that were made require prep time, especially with the meat.  The chapattis (Indian bread) would take forever to make and feed the crew. Or dosas…(my favorite which are crepes of sorts but not really) and a favorite in our house hold.  Due to the fact that dosas are thin, you could easily eat 4-5  and still eat more and then times that by 8!!! Amamma’s fish curry was a big hit too as was the lamb curry… well truth be told, anything she made was licked clean.

My mom would come and visit and our laundry would some how get washed and folded.  The fridge never looked cleaner and the bathrooms looked like it had never been peed  by boys that could shoot a ball in a basket but peeing in the toilet seemed to be a hit or miss.

Ok… getting distracted.  Back to the I love you…

I may as well interject a funny but not funny 23 years ago, tidbit.  My dad never told me he loved me.  And I am not sure WHAT exactly his love language was – maybe cutting mangoes for us or weird things which probably made his love language acts of kindness too.  Anyways, my father’s love was something I craved forever.  At my wedding, I made the decision that as I went from my dad to Sanj’s arm, I would tell him I loved him.  This seems simple enough, right?  Ummm no.  I had to work myself up to get to the that point and when the moment came, I said ” Daddy, I love you.”  That took as much energy as it took to push Sammy out after 12 hours of labor.  My dad without missing a beat, responded…. wait for it…..

“Thank you.”

OK, it took a lot of years to get over it, realize that his love was there in its weird, abnormal kind of way.  I had to accept that he was broken and yet he loved me.  He just did not love me in a way I understood.  I can laugh about it now.

As I stayed with my mom, I realized that as her death was approaching, I needed to hear her tell me she loved me.  Understand I knew she did and I am not sure why I needed to hear it but I did.  (I’m sure my therapist and I will tackle this at some point)!  Sanj kept telling me to just ask her.  Yet that is not what I wanted.  I didn’t want to have to ask to hear it.

At one point, I said, “Mom, you know I love you, right?”  And she replied, “Of course I do.  You wouldn’t be doing all this if you didn’t.”  Darn!

The day that she made the decision that she was done, she asked me to tell some of the grandkids various messages.  I didn’t think of it before but I should have.  I sat on the bed as she used what energy she had to leave messages to each of our family members.  Since I was filming, she did not add me, as that would probably have seemed weird.

Sigh.  In the end, I told Sanj that I told her I loved her.  She thanked me for all I was doing (leaving my family for those 6 weeks, doing things that neither of us thought I would do, ever), and her thankfulness was obvious.

Really, what would hearing my mom say those words mean when I knew in my heart that she did?

The last few hours of my mom’s life was not pretty.  I thought that she would pass in her sleep.  Quietly.  Or that she would have a heart attack and pass quickly.  I never really thought of a prolonged slow death.  The nurses administered the pump for the morphine.  They gave her medication to help her relax and help with her agitation.  She slept.  My brother and I took turns sitting in the arm chair we had by her bedside.  It is a scene I wish I could rewrite.  It is a question I cried out to God so many a night while there.  Why?  Could He not let this cup pass from her?  I feel such agitation right now, my heart is racing and I need to pause and take a deep breath as I write.  And yet I must share this.  It was a beautiful moment.

My mom laid there,  she opened her eyes, moving them back and forth rapidly, yet not focusing or seeing us, as we sat on her bed, her head turning  from side to side, her oxygen tube, a permanent fixture on her face providing what oxygen her body would allow as death waited to end her suffering.

It was 4:57 am, I sat on one side of her as my brother sat on her other.  I remember feeling like I was having a heart attack.  I leaned into her and said, “Mom, I love you.”  In her state of being a shell of who she was, she slurred the words in a whisper of a voice, “I love you too.”

I was so shocked!  I looked at my brother and asked if he heard it?!!  I suppose we did not think she was lucid enough  to even understand or know we were there.  I said it one more time, “Mom, we love you.”  She repeated it again, in her slurred, whisper of a voice, “I love you too.”  The beautiful thing was we were able to capture that on video.  I can hear my mom telling me over and over that she loves me.

At 8:30 am on March 15, 2018 my mother who spent her whole life showing me with her particular love language that she loved me left me, her last words, “I love you.”

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Hands That Loved-My Tribute

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As I say goodbye to my mom, I can not help but reflect on the acts of love her precious hands had over my life.

I am sure my Mom’s heart felt delight as my infant hand gripped her finger moments after she first met me.

Her hands grabbed my little hands as I tottered while taking my first steps.

Her hands wiped my brow when I was sick and needed comfort.

Her hands helped buttoned my dresses and ties my shoes.

Her hands made countless meals that no restaurant could compete with.

Her hands held mine as I timidly walked into school that first day.

Her hands taught me to look upward to a Father that is always there.

Her hands held mine as I waited in fear as the doctor stabbed my arm with that needle I so feared.

Her hands gently put bandaids on skinned knees and elbows.

Her hands reached for me when a bully from school said ugliness and held me close.

Her hands braided my hair countless times.

Her hands worked countless hours taking care of others so she could take care of us.

Her hands took care of her own mother as her mother needed care.

Her hands turned pages of her beloved books passing that love on to me.

Her hands worked so hard, to pay for the endless things she blesses us with.

Her hands clapped with pride as she watched me graduate.

Her hands held me tight before she released me into the world.

Her hands wiped tears from my face as the world hurt me at times.

Her hand adjusted my veil as she watched me leave her home into my own.

Her hand held the phone close to her ears, covering the distance between us to be part of mine.

Her hands held with joy her grand babies.

Her hands continued to be filled with babies, wet diapers and wet kisses.

Her hands made eggy rice, curries, dosas, carrot cakes that seemed to disappear as soon as made.

Her hands welcomed little bodies into her bed for snuggles and cuddles.

Her hands welcomed the now big bodies that still found their way into her bed.

Her hands clasped together always praying for protection for all the hearts her hands held close every day.

As her hands aged, their beauty only increased. Each line or scar a memory of times those hands loved. As her hands now rest in my hands, as I hold her hands, knowing it is time to let go of those hands that loved me so much, I feel tears falling that her hands can no more wipe. As I release the hands that have always been in my life, I feel strong hands from above gently wipe my tears with the promise of my hands being reunited with her loving hands, some day soon.

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Separated…

Separation.  Sanj and I are officially separated.  Who would  have thought?  He has the boys and I have moved indefinitely to Maryland with my mom.  Sigh.  Life is so unpredictable.  After surviving and thriving the breakdown last year, life seemed to be settling into a rhythm that felt good.  Of course, life has a way of throwing that curve ball and sending a storm into that rhythm.

My mom, if you know her, has always been an active person who did not know the meaning of staying still.  When she had visited in the years past, my kids were happy because they knew Ammama (grandma) is going to live in the kitchen and all the yumminess that only she can dish out will be happening. They know that she will do laundry and all sorts of what nots that their mom did not ever seem to get to keep up with.  She was someone that could clean a fridge like no other.  She can do the endless laundry and act like she was in heaven.  Ok, obviously I did not get that gene as I hate housework!!!

In the last year or two, my mom became sick.  It took awhile to get the proper diagnosis but eventually tests showed that my mom’s lungs have totally hardened and oxygen can not move into her blood stream- pulmonary fibrosis is the disease.  She is on O2 100% of the time.  She is living the last bit of her time and needs 24 hours care.  My brother who lives near her has been carrying the load.  Yet as her needs increased to needing someone 24/7, my amazing husband suggested that maybe I need to “move” to my mom’s to offer her that care.  I was flying back and forth every few weeks but… things changed.

So we are separated and life as we have known has taken a turn in a way that we never would have even thought of.  Sanj is a single parent playing the role of mom and dad to the boys.  He works the 8 plus hours a day and then comes home and does the next shift of cooking, supper, homework, cleaning, bedtime, prep for the next day among the usually 1001 other things.  I’ve turning into a “nurse” of sorts and have been doing things that I never thought I would do as someone that is not trained in the medical field or ever had any interest.

Life as we know is being redefined.   My mom’s life is in the end stages and while we do not know the exact time that God will take her, I do feel that He has called me to do this.  I believe that He has asked Sanj to do this as I would never have thought this as an option.  It was Sanj that suggested this as something we needed to do.  (I am SURE neither of us thought or had any clue what this really meant).

Over the years I have struggled with the commandment that God commands us to honor our father and mother.  He wanted us to know the significant  of this command as He included it in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:12).  As I read about this particular verse there are many places in the Bible that command us to do so.  The one that touched my heart was when Jesus was about to be crucified, who looked at John and asked him to take care of His mother.  And John took her home.  I love that in that last hour, knowing what was coming, He thought of His mom.

I have written often enough of my childhood, growing up in an abusive household and the woes of this life.  God helped me come to terms with my dad and when he passed I had peace.  Actually I had total peace.  I am so grateful to God for this gift. I learned over the last little bit how God asks us to honour someone that is not living as God instructed.

My mom is someone God has asked me to honour.  Part of honouring my mom has been to take care of her in various ways.  She was able to leave my abusive dad because we offered her an out.  She lived with us for the first 5 years of Sammy’s life.  Over that time, I believe sharing my family with her, my children’s first years of life and making memories with them was honouring my mom.  I think honouring can have many different meaning to each of us.

This last stage of her life, God has called my family to join me in honouring my mom.  I never thought this would be her ending.  I guess I assumed that after the hard life she lead, that her exit from this earth would be a simple one.  My dad,  I realized and have come to terms with was just a bad man.  Simple words that describe him perfectly.  His end was a simple one.  He likely had a heart attack and was dead.  No real drama or pain … just seemed to exit this world in a way that had no drama.

My mom has fibrosis of the lungs.  She has never smoked or drank in her life.  If you  talk to anyone familiar with this disease, you will hear this is one of the worst ways to die as one will likely suffocate to their death.  I have been struggling with God about why this is her end.  It is heartbreaking to watch my mom struggle to breath after movement.  It’s hard to watch her body betray her.  It is hard to understand why she could not have a peaceful exit from this world.

Sanj has often said that maybe even though she is suffering and struggling, she will leave this earth never questioning  her children’s love.  Truth be told, I would rather have sent her flowers and a card!  Sanj points out that my dad had a very contentious relationship with us over the years and in the end, he died alone.

It has been the hardest thing to leave my family.  I find myself more often than not, crying myself to sleep with such mixed emotions.  Before this became a permanent indefinite separation, when I was home, I felt so strongly that I needed to be here with my mom.  And yet, here, in my new temporary home, I can not even find the words to express the emptiness of being separated from my husband and my boys.  It has been a huge shift for lack of a better word in our lives.

Yet I do know that when God calls, I need to listen or else I may be swallowed up by a big fish and truth be told, the ocean is a huge fear factor in my world.  When God calls me to do this, when He called my family to do this, there was no other option.  I cannot lie, every part of my being begged God to show me another way.  How was I to leave my family and enter a zone that was so unknown to me- dealing with stuff that a medical profession needs a degree to do?  How was I going to say goodbye in definitely to the most important people to me?

My first few days, I was petrified of finding my mom dead.  She was worried about me, knowing that this was not in my world ever!  Sanj and my brothers were concerned.  Yet it is very amazing that when God asks you to do something how He gives you that extra strength.  What I mean is that I know when my mom passes and if I am the one to find her, I will be ok.  I know that next few weeks are going to get harder and harder and add an extra harder also because Sanj is not physically here and yet I have a sense of calm that is covering me.

We are heading into week 4 of our family being apart.  It has been a lot longer since I have seen my Jordan.  This is such an indefinite thing.  My heart has complete faith in God and yet the old me is fighting a temper tantrum.  I guess I didn’t really believe it was going to be this long.  I guess I thought I was stronger than this.  I guess I have been through tough stuff that this seemed doable.  Yet, this … this separation has left a huge void – hole- hollowness- that even candy and my go to carbs are not helping except to make my sugars scream at me.

My dear friend, Penny, packed me a bunch of little gifts to open while away… (I love presents) and in each one was a little promise from God.

Isaiah 38;7 The Lord will do what He has promised.

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Mark 11:24 Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.

I’m really posting this for me today.  I’m reminding myself that while I/we are riding out this storm, God is on this ride with me/us.  Guess this is where faith comes in.  This is where I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I hope if you are in the midst of a storm, hurricane, tornado that you feel God.  Yet if there are times you are not, please know that He IS there.  Maybe we can’t feel Him beside us because He is carrying us.

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I like to remind myself I am His favourite so I know He will carry me through. 🙂

Posted in Boys, choices, faith, Family, General | 2 Comments

Do You Have A Life Verse?

Do you have a life verse? A life verse is a Bible verse that is special to you. I guess I never knew it was called a life verse but the last months as life seems to come closer to an end for some of my dear ones, I have asked what their favorite Bible text is. This made me ponder on what my favourite verse in the Bible is?
John 11:35 Jesus Wept.
When I was younger, I loved this text we had to memorize because it was simple and also the shortest verse in the Bible. As I have looked back at the last few years of my life, coming to terms with big hurts, I could only depend on my Jesus to get me through these ugly pains. Over the last year I cried a lot of tears, as I wrote in my last post. I cried because I was scared. I cried because I was so tired, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I cried because I could not be mom as I wanted and needed to my babies. I cried because I could not be wife as I wanted to my Sanj. I cried because I could not be friends to my friends. I spent a year of weeping.
As I gave thought to a verse that I loved, it came so easy. Jesus wept. Jesus felt such pain that caused Him to weep. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead yet He still felt the pain of loss as he was surrounded by those that were hurting from the loss of their brother, their friends. I love that despite the fact that Jesus knew in a short bit, the weeping of those that loved Lazarus would be rejoicing, in that moment, He felt that pain too and wept.
As I read of others thoughts on this, many said that Jesus wept for other reasons, too. Yet, while He may have, I do not know how we know that for sure. What I do know is that He wept at the loss of His friend.
I was never a crier by nature. Well, the younger me did cry at those Hallmark commercial, at sad movies, all that kind of stuff. Then it seemed that as I had my babies, crying did not happen as easily. I am not sure if I hardened or just felt the need to be more in control as mom and defender to my little people.
Then the year happened where tears came. The year came where I wept.
I have felt God holding me so closer and reassuring me that He has it all in the palm of His hands. I know He was holding Sanj, my boys, my friends and family close, giving them what they needed to help me through this, one day at a time.
Knowing Jesus wept for His friend, Lazarus, I like to think that Jesus cried tears with me. He knew that I was going to make it. He knew He was going to see me through and yet in that moment, when my tears leaked down my face out of my heart, I believe that His tears were mingled with mine.
Jesus wept for me. Jesus wept with me. Jesus resurrected me from my pain.
So my life verse is one that is so short. Yet to me, a very powerful one.
Thank you, Jesus for weeping because You loved so hard. I thank you for loving me so much (I know I am Your favourite). Thank you for cupping my face with Your loving hands as I wept.
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Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, faith, Family, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

1 Year Anniversary #BellLetsTalk

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I miss writing.  I love the Facebook  memories as it brings back old posts and usually makes me laugh at the craziness of life with the boys in the younger days.  I wish I could write more of life with the boys now as teens and young men but … yah,  they would not like that.

There are so many things that I feel like I need/want to write about and yet how do I  chose?  I want to write about #metoo and share how God has been so amazing in answering my prayers and how healing and sharing has been so cool.   I realize that “cool” is a odd word to use here but I really can’t think of a better word.  I want to write about death, dying and watching someone you love suffer.  I am not sure HOW people cope and live again after this passes.  I want to write about other not so intense thoughts and yet today I have decided to write about something close to my heart.

#BellLetsTalk when this campaign started, it was the year that I realized that I was suffering from something significant.  I realized that I needed help.  I realized that I was suffering from something I didn’t understand and found that fear was a little bit overwhelming at the emotions and feelings that seemed to overtake me and I wasn’t sure who I was.

I have had a crazy year and this month marks the one year anniversary of a time in my life that I never want to relive.  I am sharing with the intent and hope that maybe my story can and will encourage someone that is struggling.

My story is one that I can only remember parts of and that in it self is scary and frustrating. I know this started in December 2016 sometime but only know this because I have been told.  I was having severe panic attacks, I think.  I was so bad I could not be left alone.  I had beautiful friends that babysat me while Sanj was at work.  Then the boys would pick me up after school and we would go home.  Again, I do not remember any of this.

For Christmas, we took the boys away.  I felt happy, relaxed and me.  In the plane, as we got closer to our destination, panic attacks began again.  And continued consecutively, over and over.  I was so mad.  And frustrated.  And annoyed.  And Mad.  Our week away was filled with none stop attacks.  They were mild and yet extremely annoying.  That week away was so good for our family.  The boys were hilarious and said this was probably the best Christmas.  Yah!

January came and the babysitting began again.  I just remember sleeping my friends homes and waking up and feeling scared and sad and falling back asleep again.

February came.  One day we went shopping for a prom dress for Tyler’s girlfriend, with Tyler, Alexx, Penny (her mom and one of my dearest friends, who is a nurse).  We ate lunch at a restaurant.  I was not feeling well that day or maybe I was tired so Tyler drove.  We went to the dress stores and headed to the car.  At this time, Penny noticed I was acting strange.  (No comments—lol).   Thankfully there was an exit and gas station that they pulled over.  Penny told Alexx to call 911.  Apparently I was talking to myself and then after some other nonsense  I started to seizure.  Then I became violent.

Being in Scarborough, the EMS folks assumed I was on drugs etc. and were a bit rough in their handling.  Tyler spoke up and said, “This is my mom and she is not like this, please be gentle with her.”  (Can I tell you how much I love my boys)?  After this the EMS were great with him, explaining as they went along.  Penny thought she would ride in the ambulance with me, but Tyler said he was going because I was his mom.  Here’s the thing, Sanj was in Ottawa with Zachary for a hockey tournament.  That was about 4 hours away.  Tyler, Penny and Alexx stayed with me the whole time.

Of course I do not remember any of this.  Yet they do have “funny” stories about my time in the emergency.  I was handcuffed or restrained in my bed.  I had to go to the bathroom and kept begging them to release me.  My people kept telling me they could not give me my freedom and that I could use the bedpan.  I am glad that I had enough of myself to refrain from doing so.  I am so grateful to have God given friends to stay with me through this journey.

Fast forward to being released a day or two later.  No real reason was found though testing and follow up proceeded the following months.  Obviously, I was not left alone.  My poor babies babysat me often in the evenings if Sanj had commitments.  Josh stayed away from me physically as he was scared that I would seizure again and hurt him, which broke my heart.  I felt such sadness and guilt knowing how much I was putting my men through.  I went to work with Sanj each day.  I was able to slowly work the front desk for bits of time and then I would go lay in the floor in Sanj’s office and sleep 2 hours easily.  When the boys finished school, they would come pick me up.  I would go home and sleep again.  There was not a lot that I could do as exhaustion seemed to consume me.   I am not sure how many months this went on.  The biggest factor was fear.  I could not be left alone as I was petrified.  Yes, of another seizure but worse was the panic attacks that over took my world.  I was scared of being anywhere by myself.  I could not go to the kitchen  without looking behind my back and race back upstairs.  I could not stay at the office alone as  I had such fear of the boogie man for lack of a better word.  I felt such fear.  As I left the shower, I had to race out of there, even though I KNEW there was no way that someone could be there after I just finished.

I went to my doctor so often in tears crying though my visit so scared and frustrated.  I went on some meds to help with my anxiety and depression.  I found myself praying to God to please make this all go away.

One day, as we were in church, Sanj was on  praise team, which meant the music touched me more so than usual,  the last song played,  I sat in my seat, unable to stand and wept.  I do not think I cried so hard (especially in public), begging God to take me as I could not live like this anymore.  The panic attacks were so severe, the stress on my family was crazy and I was not who I was suppose to be, a mom to my sweet boys and wife to my amazing husband.  I was not functional.  Period.  I could not stand being scared all the time.  I wept.  I begged God to please help me.  I was at my lowest.  Writing this my chest is tightening and I am pausing to breathe.  As I cried out, I  felt someone come hold me.  A friend (a newer friendship).  She came from the back where she was sitting  and held me as I wept, crying the ugly cry.  She held me.  After the service, two more ladies and my dearest Penny came, held me and prayed, prayed and asked God for my heart’s desire, to be whole again.`

There’s so much to this story.  Someday, I will be able to share the whole experience but for today, I am sharing to say there is HOPE.  It is the 1 year anniversary of my seizure in 2 weeks.  I am so grateful to say that I am able to stay alone the office, just a month ago.  I am able to go to the kitchen and take a shower without fear of the boogie man.  I am working full days and functioning as a “normal” (Ok, my normal, lol) human.  I am able to being wife and mom and friend.  I still have fears but for the most part I have found my way back to a life I am comfortable with thanks to God, my incredible husband and sons and dearest friends, all who never gave up on  me.

It’s Bell Let’s Talk today.  It is a day I actually love as we work together to fight the stigma of mental illness.  I am a diabetic.  I do not think twice about the meds I need to live.  Why would I be ashamed that I suffer from mental illness?  I need meds to allow me to function.  I have had serious trauma that makes me a person that has PTSD.  I have not always suffered from depression and anxiety but again, trauma has made this a part of my reality.  Some of us are born with mental illness and it is a way of life.  I think the word “mental” has a negative connotation to it.  Yet it is a matter of redefining and accepting mental illness as another one of life’s illnesses and being so grateful for medication and help that there is.  Counselling is a huge release for me too.  I have learned to pause and breathe.  It sounds simple but as someone that has a lot of energy and is called by society a person with ADHD, breathing, really breathing is something I have to pause and remind myself.  There are moments when I feel like I am sitting on that fence of losing myself again.  I have learned to pray first and share with those closest to me.  Sometimes, just sharing is a huge release.

As I come upon my one year anniversary, I realize that this is a time I want to celebrate!  I made it to my one year of finding myself again.  Well, that’s not true, I have changed immensely.  I have learned not to take things like family, friends and my health, especially my mental health for granted.  Every day that goes without a panic attack or fear of the boogie man is a day that I am so grateful to God for.  Sanj, be warned, a party is in order!

Let’s talk.  If you need someone, I am hear to listen.  Message me… reemasuk@gmail.com. Go to your doctor.  Call a friend.  Talking is really the first step.  My story will not be yours.  Yet that is the blessing in this, we are all different.  Yet there is help for each of us, if you just seek it.

My heart is still pounding as I write this and share.  I write this hoping that it will help someone know that you are not alone.

Dear Jesus, I ask that you reach someone that needs to know they are not alone.  You are there with them.  Help them seek out what they need.  I am so grateful for Your love!  I love you so much. 

Thank you for all those that helped me and continue to help me.  You know who you are and I love you.

#BellLetsTalk

Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

#MeToo

Harvey Weinstein’s scandal did women a huge favour as I see it. On Sunday, Alyssa Milano asked people to reply #me too if they had been sexual assaulted.  This tweet started a movement that sparked over half a million tweet in that next 24 hours and continues to grow as people continue to #me too on Facebook and other sites.

Here’s the thing…  I am not sure why this is giving voice to so many but IT IS!  For this I am so grateful.  As I see friends and family #me too, it hurts my heart and yet as someone that has been through this too, I know that there is such freedom and the start of healing as we shout out that this happened to #ME TOO!!!  I see so many age groups and feel so sad when I see young ones hash tagging ME TOO.  Is there a way to make it stop?

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You know as I saw and continue to see #me too with friends and family, I feel such pride in their strength.  It is huge to hash tag that you were hurt in such an ugly way.  It is sad that often then not it is by someone trusted or loved.

It isn’t just Hollywood and those Weinstein was ugly with. It is such a common thing and I really hope this gives all of us, those that #me too and those that aren’t able too yet strength and a knowing that they are not allow.

I saw a male #me too and felt such pride that he has the strength to stand up and say it!  I know there are so many men that can’t.  I know there are so many women that are not able to do that yet either.  I hope that they will dig deep and find that super strength to yell out #ME TOO because it is not your fault.  It is so freeing to say I was hurt.  I am angry.  I am confused.  I am furious!

I can’t wait to share my new project.  It’s been life changing for me.  It’s along the same lines of #me too. More on this later….  🙂

I am putting this out there.  If you have been hurt this way and need someone- I am here.  I am here so you can say #me too.  There is something powerful about breaking that silence.  You suddenly are not alone.  I love the TOO in the #me too.  You are not alone.  It’s sad, ridiculous and scary how many TOO represents.  I really believe that change is here.  I believe that victims are tired of being victims.  Being a victim suggests being  helplessness.  I was a victim for years.  Then… I realized that I am not helpless.  I am not going to stay a victim.  I am not staying a prisoner to that ugliness that was done to me.  I am a SURVIVOR!  I am in control of me and my life.  I am fighting hard.  I am proud of me.  I am proud of you and walk along side you as you hash tagged #me too.

Posted in choices, Family, General, love, moments, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Happily Ever After

I’m back.  This year and a bit has been a brutal one.  Maybe I’ll eventually get around to blogging it but I’m back and hope to began writing again.  🙂

I always thought that once I got married that I would have my happily every after.  I felt like I had learned so much coming from a dysfunctional family and if I married a prince then my happily ever after was bound to happen.  I feel like we as a society feed this to young girls as they watch Cinderella (I know there are other movies there but I can’t think of any more right now) where the girl and boy find each other and they live happily ever after.  I admit I was foolish, I really did think that happily ever after was a reality.

I know I have your attention, well least Sanj’s as he is wondering WHAT I am going to say next! lol  Here’s the reality… as I am almost fifty (in 249 days ) the reality of life is something that just slaps you across the face.  I remember the 30s being about motherhood to babes to school age kids.  It was about the lack of sleep.  It was about lunches, homework and teaching the children to read, ride a bike, skate, ski, getting to the team sports…. the 30s was about realizing that it was all about family and sometimes you got lost.

Then there was the 40s… I think this decade is one that is a bit harder.  As children grow up and find their own personalities and lives with friends, we have more time to seek who we are or who we have become.  I think that this is where couples re-emerge.  It seems to be the time where couples seem to divorce or split.  Not always, of course. It seems to be the time that with children not there constantly to keep life a blur (in a good way), it gives time to focus that what may have been a pause or a slow speed forward.  Do you know what I mean?

I will admit that it has surprised me how many couples have split in this period.  It is shocking how much was not obvious, such as cheating, abuse or countless other things that break up couples.  There are the couples that are happy and yet life has taken over with bills, debt and the constant drain and worry of fiances.  Or the fact of health that seemed to be taken for granted in the younger years, is suddenly shouting for attention.  Or mental state that takes a shift for reasons that can only be explained by …. therapy or self analyzing … or who knows and meds  ( mine is affectionately called my crazy pill… as in if I forget or don’t take it…I easily become my alter ego and she is scary).

Here’s my point in this post… I wish I knew that life is full of stuff in my early years.  I wish I understood Cinderella was going to have days were she was not a princess and the reality was that seemed to be lost to her.   You can marry your prince charming and still life will still throw curve balls.  There is so much that this sinful world can throw at us.  I wish there was a Cinderella part 2 that shows that life can be beautiful despite all that can be thrown at us.

As I watch my friends, struggling through seperations, divorces, frustrated with the pile of bills that don’t go away, wondering what to do as the vehicle breaks down, again, wishing for a break from life… I think that if we can seek the little bits of happiness… dinner out (means no dishes or cooking), a good book (which allows to escape), a girls night ( which makes us realize we are not allow in this thing called life), or just quiet time (where, if we chose, we can hear God sending us a hug, reassuring us that He’s got us) and focus on those moments maybe that big picture called life wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

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Cinderella… she had her every day clothes, scrubbing floors, cooking and doing all those every day things.  The prince came and swept her away for a short time.  Yet even Cinderella went back to reality after midnight.

Guess we need to realize that we all may wish for a different reality at times but it’s so amazing to know that we can seek help with our own “fairy godmother” in heaven where God is always waiting and listening to us His children.

Posted in Boys, choices, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Walk A Mile…

This morning I woke up extremely exhausted and disturbed.  I was dreaming of my dad being physically abusive to us and trying to figure out a way to escape his craziness.  My dad has passed on in September and I found a lot of peace for him and myself.  I have spent so many years trying to figure it out and find peace… and truth be told, sometimes I feel like God allowed my dad to live these years past to give me time to find what I needed.  Ultimately I found a peace that really does pass all understanding and God always has my back.  And yet, though I have found peace, the memories still continue to haunt.

Why am I writing…   there is FINALLY awareness about abuse.  It is not a hidden secret that abuse happens still, it’s a frightening thing for those involved and how to get help or escape takes a LOT of courage. walk a mileI just love this event!  I love the fun that comes with raising awareness to this ugliness of abuse.  I love seeing these men walk in high heels a  mile!!!  There’s a lot of  craziness in this world.  Yet events like this give hope that there is goodness, love and willingness to help.  I copied the rest of this post from the website  Put Yourself in Her Shoes website.  This is something that seems to be happening in many communities.  Please consider being a part of it as there are various ways to participate and make a difference.

Put Yourself in Her Shoes™

Each year, an ever-increasing number of men, women and their families are joining the award-winning Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.

First You Walk the Walk

There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and men’s sexualized violence against women.

Then You Talk the Talk

It’s critical to open communication about sexualized violence. While hidden away, sexualized violence is immune to cure. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get people talking. People unfamiliar with men’s sexualized violence against women don’t want to know it exists. It’s ugly. People that have experienced sexualized violence themselves want to forget about it. How do you get people talking now, so they can prevent it from happening? And if it’s already happened, how do you help them recover.

Posted in choices, faith, Family, General, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | 1 Comment

Hockey and Racism…

This was written by Sanj… about something that happened to Zachary this week at hockey.how-human-skin-color-evolved-across-different-regions

HOCKEY AND RACISM. So as I sit in this arena on Family Day weekend, watching my boys doing something that is so Canadian, playing shinny with friends, I am reminded of what this sport is to our family. Hockey has been a part of our community and our lives in a very big way. We, as a family, in turn have given back to our community through this sport and yet there has continued to be a dark spot that keeps cropping up. My son, Zachary Sukumaran has now just turned 15 years of age and for the last several years he has played in a smaller town than the rest of my boys. Last night Zach was playing in a league game and yet again ,he had a child use a racial epithet regarding him this child referred to him as “nig nig”. As a 15 year old, Zach is bigger and stronger than most kids he plays against and this was no exception. This child that really had no dominance over Zach but was willing to use race as his alternative. This is not an isolated incident. Each year for the last several years, Zach has been attacked for his skin colour while playing hockey. Zach plays many sports, he plays football, basketball, golf etc. Yet it is only in this sport that he encounters this kind of thing. To be fair, the refs and the league have been amazing at addressing these issues and yet they continue. It is out of ignorance that these things happen and yet ignorance persists. While I came as an immigrant into a country where I had to integrate, for my children they are as much a part of the Canadian fabric as anyone no matter how many generations their families have been in this country, their skin colour might separate them but not their love for their sport or their country nor a multitude of other factors that make us truly Canadian. The message I inevitable pass on to my children may not be the best message to give but as a protective father I do it anyway. I tell my boys that by comparison, you are better than that person who has decided to insult you from a very low place. I go back now to watching my boys playing shinny with a bunch of people playing a sport in which the only difference I see is their skin colour on this Family Day weekend.

Written by Sanj Sukumaran

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