There are days I wake up and wonder many if’s about you, but I know there is a reason and a purpose for my not knowing. I patiently wait for the reason as all things are revealed in good time not desired time. I have learned to accept this. So, I wait.
It is odd when I see people or rather, when people see me that they are reminded of you. They speak with exclamations of how you affected their lives, made the dreariest days brighter and filled rooms with your laughter. They tell me stories of your business acumen and how you helped their careers by teaching them discipline and respect for their craft. I have heard stories of your distinct swag, your love for people and your passion for the underprivileged.
I can remember things that confirm the core of those stories, like your relationship with the people of Trench Town, your ability to make cotton look as classy as the finest silk, and how you went from jailbird to uptown life in two years. Yet, the stories I have are limited.
The times I’ve had with you, are coloured by the lenses of a little girl hungry for her mother, so I’m never sure if I can trust them but they are all I have. I hold them dear. For me, they are amazing moments that I can never forget.
I remember, my first football match was in Trench Town and they were playing against a team from MoBay – you told me of the rivalry between the teams and the beauty of the sport, how it affected the game and even the crowd. More importantly, you told me that even though they are rivals, the respect for the sport had two communities on opposing political sides not just working together but getting along. You also taught me about World Cup, and sold me on Argentina, Brasil & Italy being the 3 that make it beautiful. You later taught me to love the Lakers, Michael Jordan and Pat Riley.
I remember random lessons from random places. “Never accept substitutes, they will never truly satisfy your desires.” “Hard work is the easiest path to success.” “Someone who wants nothing from you is to be treasured.” “Enjoy today, because tomorrow may never come.” “Your attitude towards food, shows your attitude towards life.” “Show respect to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do, they are human beings and deserve respect” “Never chase money, it’s not becoming of a Chang.” “Even when you have no one else, you have Sara & Che, make sure they have you too.” “People treat you based on how you present yourself, decide how you want to be treated”
My adventurous Palate, I credit to you. You made me eat things on your visits to Gallery that I’m sure I never would have otherwise, like Octopus, Shark Fin and Turtle. I recall you smoking herring over coals as well. I know, had I not done that as a child, I probably would not have eaten Alligator, Eel or Snake as an adult, nor would I have ever tried sushi (Fave!). I possibly would have been a chicken only eater without you (Daddy helped too).
Today, I honour you, for showing me, with your life that struggles are only opportunities to grow; that our weaknesses serve to strengthen us; that our sins serve our testimonies; and that even those that others have given up on, are redeemed by God.
I wish there was more of you that I knew, that I had more time with you, that you were still here. Still, I love & miss you, and appreciate the mother I knew.