Seventy-three years ago today, my mother was born. Twenty-two years ago today, she died. She had been battling with leukemia for 5 years and decided she was done fighting. She didn’t want to leave us, but when it was time for her to go, she left us all with a grace that I can only hope to emulate when it’s my time. She had a good life, traveling around the world, experiencing many different cultures and languages, finding a devoted life partner in Dad, and raising a family. She was 18 when she left Iran to study English In England – a bold move for a Persian girl in the 1960s. There she met Dad, they married and then moved to India, where the both studied yoga and enjoyed myriad adventures together, including the birth of their first child – me! Then they moved to Scotland, my Dad’s country and one Mum soon came to love deeply. There, she gave birth Roshan and then Alan, and then for most of the rest of her life, in Scotland, then Canada and finally England, she devoted herself to looking after her family, which she did with strength, love and grace – and no end of delicious food.
Today, I managed to reach out to my father in the UK and brother in Thailand to send them my love on this bittersweet day. Today was also Thanksgiving Day here in the US, so my husband David and I (and our son Theo) hosted a small Thanksgiving gathering, which for my sister Roshan and me was also a chance to remember Mum. For my Giveaway, I decided to give something that belonged to our mother to her two grandchildren – Theo and Roshan’s daughter Kaia. To Kaia, I gave a necklace of Murano glass beads from Venice (perhaps bought in 1967, the year our parents left India and traveled overland to the UK). This necklace represents Mum’s adventurous spirit. To Theo, I gave a silver brooch with the McArthur clan crest bearing the clan motto “Fide et Opera,” which means “by fidelity and labor.” This represents Mum’s love for Scotland, her adopted homeland. My sister and I are raising our children in our adopted homeland, and today, though we don’t have Mum with us, we are reminded of her every day as we try to be the best mothers we can to our children. And today, in particularly, sitting with loved ones around a table laden with good food, she was high on the list of things for which we are both thankful.