Family Remembrance by Farzana
My mom was born in Bombay, India on September 17, 1936. Mom grew up with her parents, 5 siblings, and a bunch of extended family. Mom was the smartest and most stubborn of all the kids. Her parents and grandparents did not complete high school. But, Mom somehow knew school was the key to success. Luckily, my grandparents supported her. Mom’s best subject was math. On her high school math final, mom had a perfect score of 100, even beating out my dad who had 98.
Mom was not interested in marriage. But, on her first day of college in 1954, she met my dad and they fell in love. My parents got married 7 years later. A love marriage. That was unheard of in India at the time because all marriages were arranged. My parents came to Washington DC in 1961 and my dad worked as an intern. Mom went to dental school and got her D.D.S. and started working at a hospital. When I was born, my grandma came to take care of me for 2 years. When grandma went back to India, mom quit her hospital job and set up a dental practice in our basement. She saw her patients but she always picked me up from school, asked about my day, and made me a snack.
Mom loved to travel and we travelled during the summer. Usually my dad would stay home and work. When I was 5, mom took French classes and we took her dream trip to Switzerland. We also did a cross-country train trip where we went all the way to California, stopping every night in a different city. During the trip, mom got a fortune cookie that said she would be getting some new clothes. We forgot about the fortune but then in San Francisco, my mom ended up buying 12 polyester pant suits which was high fashion at the time! We went to New York City, Disney world, the grand canyon, cape cod, niagara falls, new orleans, myrtle beach, and many more places.
Mom wanted to help everyone in her family come to America and share in what this great country had to offer. She sponsored a few relatives to become U.S. citizens and they brought their own families and had kids. While I’m not really close with my relatives, I know that they are doing good things. Several are engineers, at least one is a doctor, and many have businesses. A couple of them are on TV. My favorite cousin is in a rock band and has toured the world.
In the end, Mom did not understand what was wrong with her or why she was not in her own home. After mom’s stroke last October I visited her daily in rehab, she asked me every day why she could not think properly. I told her she had a stroke and it was affecting her brain. In the last few weeks, as mom got weaker, I really missed mom’s strength and fight. But, I knew it was now my time to be strong for her and take care of her.
Mom your courage and determination lives on in the women who follow you. In me, your daughter, who is also pretty smart and a little bit stubborn. And in your granddaughter Sarah who is even smarter and even more stubborn.
Rest in peace mom.