Updated: Sep 11
Had things happened as was originally announced, we'd be three days away from 'back to normal'. I think that God and the Universe is actively conspiring against 'normal'. I relish the idea that we're being entombed in a womb of reflection and self-discovery. I relish the idea that we are being re-fashioned to be birthed anew. Fresh, vestal temples.
I relish the idea that we are dislodging and shedding the parts within us, that don't serve our highest selves and offering them loving burials; consigning them to our memories where they will serve no purpose other than to guide us away from our shadow selves.
Maybe I'm just being fanciful? But what is a day without a dream?
I woke to strange prayers and meditation. None that I had ever anticipated. EVER. My prays today were for those who rely on alcohol to remain even-keeled. Where is heavens name did that come from? Anyone who knows me knows my abhorrence for alcohol. In my book, it's a force for destruction. Growing up, its abuse littered my environment and soiled my senses. The violence wreaked on people, relationships and families will never leave my memories. As a criminal defense attorney, I'd often meet a sober client on a Monday, whose drunkenness on the previous Friday or Saturday had destroyed not only his life but also someone else's. So I have no comprehension of its virtues. People have tried to 'educate' me, but their reasoning fails me on so many fronts.
And yet, here I was, this morning, sobbing for those amongst us who are enduring this lockdown without a means to soothe their need for a drink or a fix. It was an unattended wound that brought them to this need in the first place. How are they to soothe this pain now? I pray that God has mercy on them, and give them the tools with which to assuage their lust and calm their pain. I prayed that God holds them in enough comfort to prevent them from harming either themselves or those in lockdown with them. I prayed that this is a time of releasing themselves from the captivity of their cravings and addictions.
I know that there is an enormous gulf between the enjoyed of drinking and the desperate and destructive need to drink or get a fix. It's the latter that had my attention this morning. As I type this out, those prayers spring back to life in my chest.
Today we stuck to our respective routines. School, work, cleaning, cooking and a bit of xbox, and Daddy & Daughter TV.
Amaanah spoiled us this morning with the fluffiest flapjacks. I chose to have mine plain, but she was incredibly accommodating, giving everyone else the toppings of their choice.
In the late afternoon, Adam ventured into the kitchen and treated us to tortilla chips and guacamole. So much yumminess in one day!
As a result, there wasn't much of a supper. We all grazed, but no sit-down supper was had.
For reasons that escape me, I was fully of the view that airlines were still operating nationally. It never occurred to me that they'd been designated as non-essential. On reflection, well, duh!
I went online this morning to book for Ghaalieb to go to Cape Town. When I saw that the airlines were grounded, I was shattered. Shattered and terrified and heartsore. All at once.
We live far from our families and we treasure our ties. Those of us who hold ties work at holding those ties. Yes, technology works wonders in these modern times, but being there matters to us. We sacrifice the big international holidays (which are cheaper by the way) in favour of making our way to Cape Town and keeping alive our connection to our loved ones, our culture and our roots.
Early in the year already, planning began for one of the biggest celebrations in our family. Ghaalieb's mom turns 80 on 2 May. Not that she looks a day older than 65. These people have really good Genes!
We were not missing this for the world. This milestone is exceptional. This woman, Ghaalieb's mommy, is extraordinary. Her life was one struggle and of strife. The lengths she went to raise her family and to keep a roof over their heads was nothing short of heroic. To put her 5 children through school, keep them fed, keep them clothed, Ghaalieb's Mommy kept a full-time job, kept a permanent after-hours job and cooked for people and took on regular private sewing work. None of these additional things were occasional. It was constant. It was survival. She recounted times where she would travel through days without sleep. Despite the toll on her body, she couldn't afford illness. So she kept on labouring through her exhaustion and through the agonies that took occupancy in her over-work body and overstressed mind. The business of rearing a big family, providing for them and keeping them safe and out of trouble on the Cape Flats is not for the faint-hearted. Evermore so, when the burden of survival was so severe.
And yet, she kept her children safe from the ravages of the Cape Flats through nothing more than the deep, loving bonds she had with her children. Each and every one of them.
As can be expected, the siblings claim there to be favourites. I don't see that. Each relationship she had with her kids is different, and stands and sometimes falls, on its own merits.
What astonishes me most about my mom-inlaw, is her easy-going light-heartedness and good-naturedness. Her world pretty much revolves around her children still. Some of them have troubles greater than others from time-to-time. And even though they may already be grandparents themselves, she still parents and provides for them as if they were still her dependents.
This, despite the fact that the last few years have been taxing on her health, and have slowed her down much to her frustration.
So on what planet were we not going to be there for this glorious milestone to celebrate this extraordinary woman?
On this planet apparently. I can't wrap my head around this. Acceptance hasn't yet set in for me. There is still a 'let's make a plan' energy throbbing through me. I can't begin to comprehend Ghaalieb's disappointment at this. I would give anything to fathom his emotions, but predictably, in situations like this, he is nil per mouth. His stillness conveys his sadness. But, the nuances of that sadness will be forever concealed from me.
It's always been a source of comfort to know that we are a two-hour flight away from Cape Town. In this new reality, a panic has gripped the both of us that we'd be unable to respond in an emergency. This is a complexity that we haven't planned or emotionally prepared for. The well-crafted design of our lives has just been jigged in yet another unanticipated way. It's like a stun grenade had just exploded in my psyche.
My entire social circle has our roots elsewhere than Johannesburg. We all share strong bonds with our parents and families. This is one of the common values that we celebrate within our circles. Much as I relish the conspiracy against 'normal', this is simply too much to bear.
I feel shell-shocked and worn down. I must regroup. Acceptance is not anywhere close to the horizon. As I conclude the chronicle for today, I am not sure I can make my way to acceptance. The premise of my move here 17 years ago was that the keepers of my heart were 2 hours away. That has been my steadfast comfy blanket. We have been there when it mattered. Always. This for me challenges not what we can do. It challenges who we are.