My earliest memory of a family meal out was on a rainy night. With my brother in tow, and me on mom's back, we ventured out onto the potholed road that was in perpetual repair. It was a road-widening project in preparation for neighborhood expansion, but the low-rise condominium construction always seemed an impediment to throughway access. As soon as the asphalt was laid, heavy-equipment trucks would be transporting this and that. The road surface would crack with constant heat and rain, and eventually fall into disrepair; again and again.
It was a muggy summer night with torrential downpour that wouldn't let up. We waited past dinner time, and finally decided we were hungry enough to endure dampness and bumpiness. That evening the world felt particularly inhumane. One truck driver drove past us at such close range we almost didn't have room to step aside. Another rushed past us over some potholes and sprayed us full of mud. By the time we arrived at the noodle stand at the junction of this miserable road filled with seeming misfortunes, we were wet and starved for kindness.
We ordered our usual dishes: rice bowl with seasoned pork and pickled cucumbers for John; egg noodle soup bowl with fish ball and bok choy for mom and me to share; and chicken gizzards, boiled eggs, and marinated seaweed for appetizers. No meal had ever tasted so warm and hearty. We ate quietly, without grudges or high hopes. Mom would continue to sacrifice her womanhood to raise us, John would strive to be financially independent to regain our family name, and me ... I am and will be forever humble with all who lend a helping hand.
It's been more than 40 years since that fateful meal. Mom doesn't suffer painful memories anymore; and my brother has since passed with a late diagnosis of testicular cancer. I am no longer mom's caregiver, and I need to write this to remember how she cared for us. I need to memorialize the life she has given me, lest I forget. Although she is absent from this world, I want mom to have memories of her greatness, even if it didn't feel like it when she was alive.
Losing mom to old age was an awakening for me.
I thought we had more time to be mother-daughter to each other, where she could accept my care and let-go of her silent cries. She never told me about him and their relationship, and I never asked.
Without knowledge of my roots, I've felt alone and without belonging for most of my life.
I must remind myself, Amy and John live on in me. Their fighting spirits are alive in me, and I have what I need to survive and thrive.
I could entangle myself in mom's secrets and chase after half-truths for the rest of my days.
-or- I could start living my full truce: to forgive mom, forget about dad, honor John for his role model, and love the 'me' that is me.
The publisher of this website intends for the words and imagery to convey mutual love and respect on a person to person level. A sincere apology is extended here for any perception or experience to the contrary.
Grateful for your readership.