The hardest part of growing up is realizing your parents are getting older. With septuagenarian parents who have recently been unwell, both of us have been dealing with the sharp pain of an anticipatory sorrow of knowing that our parents will not be around one day. The fear of loss is multi-layered and one's thoughts quickly jump between 'what will I do without them?' to 'why is my strong daddy suddenly so weak?' to 'who will love me as much as they do?'. It is an inescapably challenging and heart-wrenching stage of life. How can one not search for ways to hide from, deny, avoid, or soften the pain?
To be able to rationalise it, preserve our sanity & show up with our whole self to every medical situation - we broke it down for ourselves into a 2 step reminder process which we see ourselves going back to every time it all feels overwhelming.
Acceptance: of the cycle of life. It's our only weapon against the fear. Knowing that it's time playing its role, it's an inevitable part of life and realising that one is moving on to the next stage of life. There is nothing in one's power to possibly stop our parents from ageing. So, instead of letting anxiety consume you, the only sane choice is to live in the present and focus on the things that are in your control.
Celebrate the present moment: It’s time to get to know them better. When we’re young, we view our parents as all-knowing beings who are our authority figures. We often don’t realize that they’re also human with their own sets of aspirations, hobbies, and life experiences. Now is the time to get to know them at a more human level. Honor and celebrate their lives while they’re here. Give the full measure of your love, compassion, forgiveness, and affection to them. Take a trip together, ask a ton of open ended questions, snap lots of pictures and create memories you will cherish for your lifetime.
And now to the faves of the week:
To Read: A warm, moving and life-affirming story by an author who teaches children refugees (from Bangladesh to Syria) in England. Their trauma, loss and memories of the country they left behind are brought forth through poetry; and the results are astonishingly inspiring.
To Joy Scroll:If you've been following us so far, you would be familiar with our low-key obsession with nostalgia ; that ineffable, melancholic yet fond yearning for things in our past that we seek out for solace and a sense of foundation. It's for that reason that we love the works of Frank Moth who creates digital collages in the form of nostalgic postcards, from a distant but at the same time familiar future.
To Listen: David Whyte is an Irish poet and philosopher with a soothing gravelly voice like old shoes hitting soft, lush earth. His interviews are revelations in wisdom and lyrical meditations. He manages to open your eyes to the world's tiny fascinations. For example, he taught us that "humiliation" is a terrible feeling, but a beautiful world. It comes from the Latin word humus, which means soil. So being humiliated is like returning to the ground of your being. Only by shedding those illusions of selfhood do you confront your own fragility.We recommend you listen this interview with Krista Tippett, or just listen to his voice reading the poem we first recommended during the pandemic, Everything is Waiting for You. As you listen, your soul will fill up with the warmth of the afternoon's sun, streaming in through your window on an early winter day.
To Cook: If you're ever looking for those easy, back-of-the-pocket recipes that are quick to whip up, yet are flavoured with a certain je ne sais quoi, that belie their simple prep - then look no further than this Burmese Semolina Cake (yes, the not-so-secret ingredient is suji - which makes it unbelievably soft, yet textured). You'll be doling them out for all your friend's birthdays - (if they're worthy and lucky enough!)
We'd like to end with this thought ; that life may not be going as you had planned, but by radically letting yourself go, we can submit ourselves to what this beautiful, terrible, crazy world has in store for us...
“Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure…and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”
– Maya Angelou
Hold fast and stay true,
Viv & Ami