November 27th, 2010 Dallas, TX
Today is Mami’s birthday. I wish I could walk up to her, hug her tightly and kiss her beautiful freckled face then whisper in her ear, “Happy 49th birthday, old woman!” I’m sure she would playfully push me away and tell me to stop being “a bicha” (her favorite term of endearment for me).
For Mami’s last birthday I got her a CD she kept bugging me about. She had seen Jim Dickinson’s “A Thousand Footprints in the Sand” on television and wanted to order it. I told her not worry because I would buy it online. When she finally received it in the mail she called to tell me I had purchased the wrong CD!
I’m wondering how to commemorate her birthday. Should I go out and do something fun or should I stay in today? I’m not happy and I’m not sad. It’s more like a neutral feeling. I’m glad she existed, gave me life and left me three beautiful siblings. I’m sad she’s gone but death was her freedom from illness. How can I be selfish and wish she was still here with me if it means she would have a terrible quality of life?
At this point, my goal is to live the best life possible and make her proud. I purposely moved to Dallas so I could continue healing in the company of people I love.
I am so happy I have my Indian family here. These wonderful human beings love me and care for me deeply. They are holding my hand through this grieving process and help me see the light at the end of the tunnel.
My Indian mom knows it is a sensitive day for me so she has surprised me.
“Rose, I’m teaching you how to make coconut rice.”
“Really, Magi. Why coconut rice?”
“The first time I met your mother she made coconut rice for me. Now, I’m making my version of Indian coconut rice for you on her birthday.”
I can’t help but smile J
2 cups of cooked basmati rice, cooled
1 lb. shredded coconut
1 ½ c sugar
3 tbsp Ghee
1 tbsp cloves
¼ c cashews
¼ c sultanas
¼ c sliced almonds
Saffron, a heavy pinch bloomed in 3 tbsp of warm milk
With your hands, gently mix the cool rice with coconut and sugar. Be careful not to break up the rice.
In a heavy pot, heat ghee over med-high heat. Add cloves, let cook. Add rice mixture. Stir. Add the bloomed saffron to the rice. Stir until rice becomes light yellow. Finish by adding the nuts. Remove from heat.
Eat when rice pudding has slightly cooled.