Today, as I’m writing this letter to you, we have entered Year No. 5 of life without mommy. We’re still struggling to come to terms with how the years have gone by (as I’m sure we will be all through our lives but that’s OK), what with her just so suddenly taken away from us. Then we realize that she has only taken a different form now, one that we cannot see but can definitely feel the presence of. Add to that, the memories that were made, the stories that were told and the times that were shared - they all take us through this journey of life, making us feel more connected than ever to your mother. That is how we have all arrived at Year No. 5 – healthy, happy and secure in the knowledge that we have our guardian angel watching over us all the time. And that connection is what this letter is all about.
Armeen, we know you’re constantly thinking of her too. That’s why the other day, when Dadima asked you if you could have another name what would it be, you instantly said she could call you Sam! Or when you were having a conversation with Dadima about growing up too fast, you said if you were a fairy you would make yourself zero years old so that you could spend more time with your mommy! You sure know how to break our hearts sometimes!
This letter has also been written at a time when we just returned from our annual family holiday. This year we went to Thailand – you and Daddy met us in Bangkok, a week before Christmas. What a trip that was! You bonded with your cousins like never before and we all got to know you so much better. All of 7 years old then, with a constantly evolving personality, we couldn’t believe how much and how fast you’d grown. What made us happiest was seeing how happy you were! Just being around your family meant so much to you and you made sure to make the most of every minute you had with us. Much like your mom, for whom family was everything and time spent with them was the most precious. Greedy as we are, we wish we had more!
Coming back to you though, there were many instances on the trip as well that showed us how connected you feel to mommy. From pointing out to the brightest star in the sky and screaming to us with joy, “Look, there’s mommy!” to dragging me to the garden to pick up flowers and saying, “this ones for Daddy and obviously, this ones for mommy” to the time when I told you how proud I was of you for getting into the ocean to snorkel with us at your young age and the first question you asked me in response was, “how old was mommy when she first snorkeled?”, we know that you are thinking of her all the time. Honestly, that is just what your mom had wanted when she was fighting for her life. Her biggest fear was that you would have no memory of her, and that’s why she was begging for more time, just to make those memories with you. Unfortunately, we lost her when you were only 3.5 years old but today it feels like the 2 of you knew each other for way longer! What could be more beautiful than that? We only hope and pray that this connection remains forever and if at any time you feel like you’re losing out on her memories, know that you have an army of people who will help you remember your mother.
On the trip, during New years eve celebrations, we had an incident. I know you never want to be reminded of that and we decided never to speak of it again, so I’m not going into details of what exactly happened. But that day we were all convinced, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that your mother is your forever protector. Please always believe that. She is always going to stand in the way of you and any harm that may come your way, so you can walk through this life fearlessly, independently and with your head held high. Be safe always and remember that no challenge that is thrown at you will be too big for you to handle. Your mother is all around you – making her presence felt through prayer, through her family and friends, through your heart.
A cancer diagnosis changes a person to an extent that is unimaginable. Obviously, your mom was no exception to that. From the pizza and chips loving junk food eater to someone who would refuse to let me buy frozen pizza from one of the American supermarkets (she said it’s the worst thing you can do to your body), from the Chinese food lover and a cheese melt loyalist to a preacher of all things vegan (well, almost), your mom surely started looking at and treating her body differently. And so I tell you now, nothing in the world would make her more upset than you not looking after yourself. I will end this letter with a little piece of advice that I know mommy would want you to have. Make sure you eat your veggies and your fruits. Help yourself to a bowl of dried fruits everyday. Be open to experimenting with your food – you need it to be healthy and strong. Don’t shut down things that are good for your body and occasionally try to enjoy stuff that other kids your age binge on. Drink plenty of water. Do it for yourself and do it for mommy. Take care of yourself the best you can, leave the rest to her!
Hold her in your heart always and don’t let go. Most importantly, believe that she is in a better place to look after you and to keep you safe. And that she loves you.