Category Archives: personal

Because of the sacrifices they made…

Recently, both of my parents under went major health issues and crisis of sorts.  Each of them had their own separate issues- all scary, all sudden.  All of what transpired opened our eyes to what is to come- age of our folks, health issues for all of us, fragility of life and the ultimate reality that we are all mortal.

Each time I have traveled out to be with them mainly because I cannot sleep, eat or think straight when I am so far away.  Here’s a laughing matter: I am only 1780 miles away but imagine this and I know some of you don’t have to imagine because you live it day in and day out but imagine being 10,100 miles away from your parents or more.  Imagine now that you get a call in the middle of the night, “come now if you can – he or she is very sick, these are his/her final days.”  Well for my parents, it was a reality.  They received calls like that or calls informing them that their parents were no longer on this earth.  I cannot imagine because I do not have to – I do not have to because my parents moved here and made some amazing sacrifices so I could have a better life; so that my brother and I could have a good education, a good life, and a great future- so that they could be part of this American dream as well.  But in all honesty, leaving everything they knew behind – their comfort zone, their families, their aging parents to build a new life, 10,000+ miles away in the 1960s is no small sacrifice. My in-laws did this as well.  I can’t imagine- I guess I do not have to.

I remember 1987 well because that was when my dad received the call that his father was ill and possibly could die.  My father, with us as little kids, had to keep his wits about him, and in the 80s when technology was not all that, had to make international travel reservations for all of us.  First, he would go because we were all in school and in the middle of a semester in school.  Then, we’d all meet him there and we all prayed my grandfather would hold on that long.  Sadly, he did not.  My father made it in time but can you imagine, pulling it together to make reservations, then pack a bag, then get your passport and visa and head out the door for a 30+ hour journey internationally when you had no idea what was waiting for on the other end?  No Internet, the phones sucked too, not to mention cost an arm and leg to dial internationally, and of course, there was no text messaging.  Wow!  I can’t imagine because recently I made journeys of only 6-8 hours including airport time and I didn’t think I’d make it.

On the other hand, my mom didn’t even get to see her folks before they passed away.  It was sudden, and in their sleep.  She couldn’t even fly out for the funeral because in India, bodies are not preserved more than 24 hours.  I can’t imagine. I do not have to because my parents sacrificed it all for me.  Because of them, and because they stayed here to make a new life for us, I don’t have to know what all of this is like.  Because they sacrificed so much for me, I will keep doing what I can to help them.  The reality is they are aging, they are stubborn and set in their ways, and they want to be independent.  I don’t blame them.  After all, I am like them.  I inherited their perseverance, their strong will, and their ability to adapt and overcome.  I wish I had inherited their strength… their enormous strength to bear so much.  I don’t have to because of them.  In these trying times, I see them, I hear them, I listen… I shut up because I know how much they have given up for a better life for us.  I only pray I can be even half the child to them that they were to their parents.  I pray for the strength that they taught me to have.  I am not there yet and these times have been tough for us but I know their strength lives within me — and I may not have to sacrifice what they did nor do I wish to but I know if I had to for my kids, I suppose I could.

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Gratitude and Grace

Two things I have learned very recent in my life come to mind as I reflect. Two simple words, two simple concepts but so tough to execute for so many- “gratitude” and “grace”. What do these concepts, what do these words mean to me? It’s simple, really. And it’s not that you cannot vent about things that are bugging you to your friends or best of friends, and I’m not saying you cannot judge, but, these two concepts, these two words– it’s about what you keep inside. It’s about how you treat your soul that matters.

Gratitude

Gratitude is defined as “a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.” I think it’s so much more than that. I think it’s more than waking up and feeling gratitude for all you have. It’s more than just saying, “oh that was so kind of you… I really appreciate it.” It is about feeling it. When you truly feel gratitude, when you truly think about the good in people and forgive their trespass, your soul feels the side effects of gratitude. Again, is it okay to be frustrated when someone invites you to a party the night before the party? Sure, it’s okay and you should vent and move on. But the key is to move on – to feel the other side of that invitation; the kindness, the gratitude that you were even invited. This gratitude is what keeps your soul free from demise. But you see, gratitude alone is not enough. It goes with grace. I think of gratitude as the “Thank You” before the graceful “You’re Welcome.”

Grace

Grace has many definitions and the word is also rooted in Christian philosophy. The two definitions of grace that I think apply for me are, “a disposition to kindness and compassion” and “a sense of propriety and consideration for others.” But again, I think it goes deeper than that. It is about composure, about how you handle a situation on the outside and inside. I think, that in any situation, depending on how you (not others around you) handle what is going on, you display grace which brings up this third definition of grace that I think is fitting: “Be beautiful to look at.” No matter how dissatisfied you may be with how you look on the outside, if you handle yourself with grace, you look beautiful. So true! For example, a few years ago, I finally learned about grace. A mom RSVPed very late (the night before) for my daughter’s birthday party. It chapped my hide. I did not handle it with grace. I basically replied back, “you replied too late. Sorry.” I learned about grace that day even if the other person never did. I can vent all I want and should vent about how disrespectful that mother was towards me but then the proper response is, “of course, we’d love to have JOE join the party. Thank you for your RSVP.” That is grace. That is kindness and compassion. Fast forward two years later, and a different mother, two hours before the party, called me to say, “RENEE is coming to the party and we are sorry to RSVP on the day of but I just saw the invitation.” Then, that same mother and her child came to the party an hour late. You know what? It’s okay. Does that mother know about grace? Maybe. Maybe not. Her disrespect is not my concern. If you have grace in you, peace with your soul, peace with the fact that others can be as rude as they want, you will nonetheless be gracious, and say, “of course, you are always very welcome.”

Now, I am not saying roll over, play dead, let others take advantage of you or mistreat you. I am saying that in small situations where it really doesn’t matter, be graceful. Move on. Fight where you need to fight and put your energy where it counts. Not everything requires a battle and you do not always have to be right.

Another example of grace is not being afraid to admit that you were wrong. Admit when you make mistakes and don’t try to cover them up by blaming external factors or others. Always look within first to see what you did to cause this and then handle it with grace. And most importantly, give others the benefit of the doubt. Life happens and people are not like you. So, how you handle the situations that life presents will dictate how joyous your soul can be…. how beautiful inside and out you not only appear to others, but how beautiful you truly ARE — for me, gratitude and grace go hand-in-hand. I may stumble along the way and I may vent to my friends, but I will always try to have gratitude and grace. And when I falter because I will, I will remind myself that I am human, look within at what I did wrong and strive to handle it all with … Grace!

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Turning the Tide— NEW & Improved Blog from Clueless

I have decided that I am taking this blog on a new turn – it is a new year and a new decade has begun so, it is time for change. In this vein, I plan on turning my blog into a strictly consumer blog- I will be reviewing everything- restaurants, cafes, stores, and products. The time has come to “specialize” this blog so, this blog will be a review of everything I can come in touch with and either complain and/or rave about.

Stay tuned for some great new postings and enjoy!

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Choices

Despite my previous posts on keeping in touch with an ex, technology made it near impossible for me to avoid finally facing the music especially with one particular ex-boyfriend and we met for coffee. It’s fine- my husband knew about it and was okay with it but I wonder whether I did the right thing – after all, it is always more fun to wonder and fantasize about what may have happened to someone rather than facing reality.

With this particular ex-bf, it was a toughie. We met while I was still in high school and we were both young and of course, I was not ready for anything too serious freshman year in college so I was the one who called it off. He was upset back then but it was a choice I made- I wanted to see other people, finish undergrad, and possibly go on to post-graduate school. The last thing on my mind was marriage – after all, I had just gotten my freedom, was attending college, living on my own, and saw an entire world out there for me. Of course, I was also planning to join the military and was going to travel a bit too. It also did not help that his dad was against our union and his family in general, was weird. In any case, it was a decision- a choice I made back then. Like any choice though you wonder if you made the right one. Now, as we both have families of our own, it is easy to look back and say “it was all for the best and was the right choice.” But, for many years, I always wondered what happened to him and his family and if he ever got over what happened. I did not even expect a response back from him when I discovered him on linked in. However, after meeting him and catching up, it was great to finally put the missing pieces of the puzzle together and looking at the puzzle from up here, it all looked right, but did it?

As I contemplate my previous blogs on the topic and question whether it is a good idea to keep in touch with an ex, I still think it is not good to be fast friends or keep in touch regularly with an ex, but I think it is a good idea to reconnect even if it is 17 years later (which it was in my case), because it can help put the past to rest and the fantasy behind you- it helps you understand why things happened and perhaps help gain some closure. For me, this was exactly the case because I felt horrible about how things were left between us. In any case, game over! Now, 17 years later, with the life I have had and the life I know I want, the choices we make at the time, while we cannot make sense of them at the time, are clearly the right choices that help shape our futures. More importantly, the choices we make shape who we are and who we become.

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My "Alleged" Family Medical History

For the last few years, since I have had planned and had a family of my own, I have really been interested in my family medical history. I used to fill out those questionnaires and wonder to myself as I wrote down “N/A – no report” what my family history truly was. You see, I am a first generation American born to parents who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, so I know very little about the medical history of my immediate family other than what I am told which has been up to this point- very little to nothing.

Moreover, each time I told something about how someone died or what happened to this uncle or grandma, I am told something different each time. Things that certainly make you go “hmmmm….” In any case, I try to remain vigilant and persistent. When I made a trip to the Motherland last year, I was asking all the questions I could. I also ask my in-laws so I can help figure out what we all up against. As you know, family medical history plays a significant role in genetic disorders, medical conditions and health in general. Sure, a large part of your health is your diet, exercise, and how you take care of yourself BUT, it would be nice to know what risk factors we are all up against.

As I try to trace what happened to my family in the Motherland, I discover lots of disturbing “allegations” – my grandmother died young (either pneumonia or brain disorder), my grandparents on my maternal side passed away (was it diabetes or natural causes), my uncle who died young (brain tumor or aneurysm), siblings of my mother and father who died before my mom and dad were even born (no idea what happened). I try to piece together a genetic medical history puzzle of sorts and it has a lot of holes in it! I continue to wonder why people do not know really know what happened to certain people or why they cannot explain anything- was medical care really that poor back in the day or could people not accurately diagnose so all of us left behind just have to live with the explanation of, “she just went nuts.” What?

Anyway, as I continue to piece together the answers to that ever popular question, “Do you have a medical history of this in your family?” I hope I can at least provide some answers to my children so they, in turn, can fill out a proper family medical history instead of the perpetual “?? I have no earthly idea” as an answer.

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