The Rose

D604BF72-12C2-4934-9250-1F662F70A062

At the tender age of fourteen, she was leaving childhood, entering womanhood, going through puberty. Born under the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius, she was a free spirit needing to roam freely in the meadow of life. By nature she was a perfectionist and was determined to do well in school.

When it came to creative writing, her desire to get a good grade was stronger than her desire to write. Getting an “A” in math or an objective subject was one thing, but in creative writing, none of the teachers would even consider giving an “A”. In a system of 0 to 20, the maximum score was 16-18, giving 20 didn’t really make sense for creative writing. Yet, she wanted to be the best. Hence, when the writing prompt was given in class, she would ask her father for help as many students did. Her father, an educated man with passion for writing and poetry was more than happy to help or better say dictate his thoughts to her. If for any reason he was not available, her paternal uncle who lived with them was the second source. She usually got a good grade and content.

They got a new teacher, a young, attractive man who raised interest in the young hearts of all females in the class. Most of their teachers were females, a male teacher for creative writing inspired the students on a deeper level. He would check the homework first to make sure everyone has done the work then randomly call a few students to read.

One day the prompt was challenging for her. It was a two line poem. It was directed to a person selling flowers. It said how could you sell the beautiful flowers for money? What can you get with money more beautiful that flowers?  She was not sure what one can say about the poem. She went to her father. He read the poem, frowned as if nothing was coming to his mind. He then suddenly and abruptly with a critical tone said; ” I think it is time for you to do your own homework and write your own story. I have been helping you and now is the time you write!”

She was heart broken, a sudden shift she didn’t understand and took it personally, felt being rejected. Her tender feelings were bruised, tried hard to  hold her tears and keep her pride. She loved her father, a difficult personality, yet she felt his passion for writing and it was something that brought them closer to each other. Tears were rolling. It was unexpected. She was unconsciously trying to understand what changed. It took her a long time to recover. Then she went to her uncle and asked for help. He welcomed her, yet after reading the poem, he said he was busy and didn’t have time. She wondered to herself that perhaps they also didn’t know what to say about the poem, yet wanting to keep face with her having an excuse rather than saying they don’t know what to say.

She was on her own with this tough prompt. She cried her heart out, felt anxious wondered what would happen if she was unable to write anything. the thoughts of being called and feeling embarrassed in front of the new attractive teacher ached her heart, her body shaking, her heart trembling inside. Time was passing fast and the blank page was teasing her. She was a free spirited person by nature, a beautiful soul full of joy of life. She pulled herself together and made a decision to write. She took the pen in her hand with determination. Nothing was coming to her about the poem. She didn’t like this prompt and it didn’t make sense to her. She knew intuitively she can’t force herself to write about the poem. It seemed as if an inner voice guided her to write from her heart, letting go of the prompt, just go within and write whatever you wish, write for yourself.

The pen started moving. She imagined a beautiful red rose in a garden sitting alone. She described the rose as a symbol of love, purity, completely free from lies and dishonesty. The rose represented love, pure love.  There was a beautiful girl living in that home and it was her birthday. the family had invited all the relatives and friends to honor her birthday. Her heart was filled with joy knowing that her future husband will also be there. They were engaged and that made this birthday so very special to her. She was beautiful and her dress made the young girl into a woman. For the last touch she wanted to add a fresh flower to her dress. She went to the garden and as soon as she saw the red rose, she knew that was exactly what she wanted. She picked the rose. Ah, the rose  felt the pain knowing that her life was coming to an end soon. She pinned the rose to her chest, took a look in the mirror, smiled liking what she saw, felt tall, confident, and desirable, ready to welcome her beloved.

The rose was happy, could hear the beat of the heart of the bride to be, content to add to her beauty as if she had met her calling in her short life. As the girl went to welcome the guests, the rose was meeting the world of humans, how fascinating. Everyone was so different. It felt as if she could hear the thoughts of humans for the first time. Everyone complimented on the beauty of the rose and its fragrance. with every hug, the rose was becoming happier, for bringing joy to the human world. Yes, she could have died in the garden without being noticed by anyone. The rose felt loved, valued, bringing a smile to everyone.

The groom to be came and after a big hug, he offered his birthday gift with much joy. She took the jewelry box, opened it, ahhhhhhhh. She was overjoyed by the beauty of the gold rose in form of a pin. Her hand immediately went to her mouth trying to contain her joyful emotions. He knew she loved roses.  He took the rose off her dress, threw it to the ground and proudly put the gold pin on her dress instead.  Everyone clapped with joy started singing the wedding song spontaneously as he had captured her heart with his thoughtful gift.

The rose was taking her last breaths. She reviewed her life as she was dying. Her heart was filled with sorrow. The girl chose the metal over her lively fragrance. The rose was puzzled, confused, how could one let go of life so easily? Life is sacred. She took her last breath with gratitude.

She went to school the next day nervous hoping that she wouldn’t be called to read. This was the first time she had written all by herself and her heart was pounding with anticipation. The class was quiet as the teacher looked at his book of names and then he called her name the first one to read. Her knees were shaking. she could hear the fast heart beat in her chest. She went in front of the class anxious, uneasy, worried what the teacher and the students are going to think of her writing. She started reading with a trembling voice. She tried so hard to feel calm and nothing was helping. She was plain scared. She noticed the teacher from the corner of her eyes going to the window, his back to the class looking outside. The class was in complete silence as she read. Never before the class was so mesmerized with a touching story. She was afraid to look at the students. When she finished, she slowly raised her head looking at the teacher worried.

There was a long pause. The teacher seemed to be in another dimension, his back still to the class. What was he thinking? she asked herself anxiously. Then after a few long minutes, he turned and asked;

” May I ask if anyone helped you with your writing?”

“No sir, this is actually the first one I have written with no help.” she said with an honest face hoping to be believed.

“Your grade is 20.”

“I am 75 years old now and this happened 61 years ago, yet I remember that feeling so vividly after all this time. A warm feeling of joy, passion, self-esteem entered my heart, a feeling never felt before.That teacher gave me the confidence to write, a priceless gift for a life time. He made me believe that my writing is worthy. Since then, I started to read all kind of novels and started writing. I was reading the books by the French writer Francois Sagan and I thought I could write like  her and become the Sagan of Iran. whenever I read a story in class, everyone was silent and I felt as I had found out my passion in life. At times. the teacher would ask me to write my entire story on the black board for all the students to copy as an example of  great creative writing. ”

I was on the phone with my soul sister after a long time of not being able to talk. She is the writer and I trust offering this gift will bring the flame of a passion long abandoned back to her soul.

 

Advertisements

Miracle Miles

You are my guru

being in the moment

no time or space

joyful

playful

greeting the Sun

good morning to the flowers

your eyes reflect the depth of your soul

no words needed

your energy radiates profound love

you are a messenger of love

your smiles warms the heart like the ray of the Sun

your laughter energizes the soul

Your hug heals the aching heart

Your kisses washes the sorrow away

Your call for family hug unites

your directions to hug and kiss releases all the differences

your touch melts the ego

your dance bring joy to all those around you

I become a playful child next to you

singing “It’s a small world after all” is a natural high

your drum is a reminder of the sacred circles

your singing is a heavenly gift as if angels are singing

you are my spiritual mentor, a true messenger of love

HAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

YOU ARE ALWAYS IN MY HEART

Annamaria

4BB749C0-1777-4AB2-A956-33B8B0B07FCB

 

“There is nothing Annamaria can’t do!” her mother had so much love and joy, I could see the tears of joy in her eyes.

Annamaria was a beautiful baby with big brown eyes, taking the eyes after her Italian father. During the childbirth, the cord was wrapped around her neck. When she had her DPT shot she experienced a seizure, her eyes rolled, blue lips and she was limb. The loving mother was watching over her like a hawk being mindful. There was no 9-1-1 service at the time. She called the pediatrician was told to give her Tylenol.  Mom took the baby to ER, had to wait for a long time since there was a motorcycle accident. Then the baby came out of it. She remembers the baby was having four seizures over a period of time. Mom was trying to feed her baby but the baby would vomit. She remembered calling her mother to come to help. Annamaria was the fourth child and her oldest was just five years old.  Mom was highly stressed to say the least.

On a 4th of July, when the family was in Oregon visiting friends, they were waiting for the fireworks with much joy and excitement. Annamaria was sleeping in her mother’s arms, about 18 months old. The fireworks started and as everyone was consumed watching, the mother was worried for the baby awaking with fear. When she looked at her, she was peacefully sleeping.  She wondered if the baby may have been tired or is there something the matter with her hearing.

 Upon return, she took her to the pediatrician and was told not to worry, she is a healthy baby, it is natural for the mother to worry. Mother said she had raised three other children, knew something was going on. She started testing her at home by making noises behind her, clapping hands, dropping items. Frequently, she didn’t respond, yet at times she would turn around. she wondered if she could see them through the metal plate of her high chair. She trusted her intuition and took her to a clinic in Newport Beach where they had the latest equipment for hearing tests. The doctors tested her with tuning forks. The mother was informed that the child is profound deaf. What made the matters more of concern was that she had sensitive ears and abnormally small tubes. A simple cold or slight infection could block her ear tubes.  They could not implant plugs to drain out the infection. It was suggested for them to go to a meeting of all specialists at UCLA to meet with the best in the field.

Annamaria started signing when she was about two years old using Signing Exact English, then American Sign Language. Mom sent her to Taft Elementary school that had a program for deaf children. Taft Elementary school program for the deaf which SEE is being used. Eventually after elementary deaf students like Annamaria learn mixed sign language PSE and ASL. Back to her early childhood, a deaf lady came to their home to teach the family to sign. Dad was great with languages yet had difficulty with the visual, mom and sister were great in signing.

When she was about eight years old, she tripped over a bicycle that was left horizontally  on the driveway at night. She realized she couldn’t see well at night. Her family loved camping, yet it was challenging for her to find her way at night.

They took her to Jules Stein Eye clinic in LA. They performed many tests and seemed to have found some valid information. It was holidays and they were invited to go back after the holidays. Annamaria was diagnosed with Retina Pigmentitis  (RP) and were informed that the child will go blind at some point. They were devastated!!! Mother, a tower of strength and with endless positive energy, thought my daughter is alive. I am grateful.

According to her mother, this is a child who was born deaf, was diagnosed with Usher syndrome (US) at age eight, was going to be placed in a class for children with multiple handicap and not expected to go beyond fifth grade.

Here is a brief summary of what she shared with me through email.

I’d like to invite you to meet this truly advanced soul with advanced life lessons.

” You were born deaf, how and when your parents learn about this syndrome

“My mom shared they took me to a clinic, was informed that I was deaf. I got hearing aids at Hoag hospital.  Someone told me that I was going to be blind by age sixteen. “

“How is your vision now?”

“I am in my mid 40’s and I can see.”

” I wish that person could see you now. You have three older siblings who were not affected by the gene, and a younger brother who was. Would you educate us as how the  genes operate? random? What are your thoughts/feelings about having this syndrome?”

“My older siblings are the carriers like my parents. It is a recessive gene. I guess me and my younger brother were the lucky ones, yay us! We went to a genetic clinic as a family with all the top specialists at UCLA. My mother said they were highly interested in our genetic pool, measured everything.”

” I wonder what was your understanding as a child. What was your passion/interest growing up?”

“My mom shared I loved cooking with her and I was in girls scouts. I love cooking and baking for my family.” I would love making pizza which is our pizza every Friday. My friends would visit us for some pizza slices. They knew that there will be plenty pizza slices to go around. Also I love making cookies, usually chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes my brothers would sneak in and grabbed some raw cookie dough to snack on. YUM.. I know raw cookies aren’t safe to eat but back then we didn’t know that. Also I loved to bake some cakes then decorate cakes with fancy flowers and such.. It was a special dessert for family after our typical spaghetti dinner.

“How was going to school for you?”

” I went to public schools while my older siblings went to private Catholic school. They didn’t have a program for the deaf children. I went to McFadden Jr High for two years then on to Venado Middle school as a 8th grader and University High school in Irvine. They had very good academic program for the deaf. I bet that my younger brother and I saved a lot money for my parents.”

“Any teasing by others? Your mom shared that you were the only girl with seven boys in a class. I wonder how was that experience for you?”

“I didn’t mind being with the boys and don’t remember any teasing. I remembered that it must be during 4th grade. Deaf classes were usually smaller with just 10 students or less. But I played with my girl friends during recess and lunch times.”

I feel the humiliation whenever I had to leave a class to learn braille during middle school and high school years. I was not READY to learn braille. I felt I was outcast because of this part. I feel I was being forced to learn braille… My braille teacher was so sweet. I liked her but at same time I wasn’t happy. Also I felt I was being forced to learn mobility i.e. using cane..  So imagine yourself during teenager years which is supposedly to be the most difficult stage growing up..  Mobility teacher would come over my house after school weekly.. I always gave him the difficult time.. Yes, it is surprising… usually a very sweet girl turns into very angry girl… I know I gave him a lot of grief… LOL… It is because I thought he was mean… making me do stuff that I don’t want to… He would have me wear black shades to cover my eyes and use the cane to practice.. He would drive me around to some close by neighborhoods to practice using a cane on sidewalk.. My anxiety was high. and it was very EMBARRASSING….  Now I realized that they didn’t come to my life out of blue. This must be part of my mom’s requests. But back in that time, I thought they’re cruel making me learn tools relating to my US. Looking back, it was totally a waste of time and energy.. sorry MOM…  I think my parent’s fears rubbed off on me.. they must have thought that I would go totally blind for sure.. They wanted me to learn how to get around with a cane. They also wanted me to learn how to write and read in braille. I WAS NOT READY. I know they meant the best for me but I think they unknowingly hurt my self esteem big time.

“How about the socialization process?”

“I mostly socialized with other deaf schoolmates. It was easier to communicate. I had some hearing friends. I had to teach them how to sign, taking a long time. But there was a special best friend who used to live across from me, we grew up together since she was 5 and I was 4. I don’t remember teaching her sign language. I assume she just picked up signs from me or my family. We used to get together almost everyday. To this day, if we haven’t seen each other for long time then meet up.. she didn’t forget her signs at all. It is like we picked up conversation like it was just yesterday.

“How about in the family?”

“I was closer to my younger brother. We have much in common with issues related to deafness and blindness. We have our circle of friends. Other siblings took their time to spell or sign to communicate with me and my younger brother. I am very grateful to have them in my life. This shows me how much they love us. ❤

“How about dating?”

“I dated some deaf boys but none ended up in long term relationships. There was not many choices as it was before social media ie Facebook era. Back then, my deaf world was small.  Then I met my ex-husband from another area through some mutual friends. My parents became strict when we started dating, wouldn’t let me get a driving license when I was sixteen.  When I asked, I was told; you are a girl and your vision is of concern, while they bought a red VW for my younger brother.”

“Ouch. I can imagine at the time you may have felt having been treated unfairly. Knowing your parents, I wonder if they were more protective of you.”

“I started rebelling against my parents. My ex-husband taught me how to drive on a stick shift car, much harder. When I learned to drive, my dad took me to DMV on his blue Toyota Corolla and I passed the test with flying color.”

“Wow, what courage!! You are a true Sagittarius! a free spirit. I agree with your mom that nothing can stop you from your goal.”

“What happened in your first marriage?”

“We got married. As I look back, I feel I had some issues with my self-esteem. I was working full time, working over time, going to school full time and became increasingly aware of his addiction issues. When he suggested to separate, instead I asked for divorce. Thank God there were no children.”

“What did you study in school?”

“Child Development and graduated from CSUF. I took about a year and half to do self discovery, and what I wish in life. I met my husband at work. We communicated with letters for first few months. He invited me out to dinner and we went to Olive Garden. He brought some paper and pen. He learned to sign quickly, a fast learner, writing is hard. He asked me to be his girlfriend on a New Year, 18 years ago. He is a Catholic and wanted us to get married in the church. I asked for annulment, a slow gradual process and finally I was granted. After six and half years we got married.” I feel I am very lucky to have him in my life as a husband. Bless his big heart, he has so much patience for me. 🙂

“How is life for you now?”

“We have two children, both hearing and they know how to sign with me. Jasmine, our daughter is four years old, still too young to attend pre-kindergarten per school district. I am teaching her at home. Our son goes to school. I stopped driving, my choice, didn’t want to risk having an accident, however, I am going to check with my eye doctor and DMV and explore the possibility of limited driving during the day around home in safe zones. When I was driving, I would always park far away from traffic.”

“How is daily life for you now?”

“Very busy with raising the children. In our marriage, we have the usual misunderstandings related to deaf issues, yet we have been able to pull out of it. What marriage is 100% perfect? Do you know any? I bet not.”

“What were some of the most challenging experiences in your life? What helped you to overcome them?”

“I think one of the most challenging experience was letting go of driving when our daughter Jasmine was born four years ago. I am an independent person and asking for rides from my husband, family and friends was weird for me. I was concerned about safety of our children, myself and others. The truth is that there are many people who drive and don’t know they have RP until much later in life.”

“How is your relationship with your Higher Self? How is your spirit inside?”

“Hmm, I am not sure how my spirit is. I guess I’m content.” Maybe I should cross this out..

I had to look up what is Higher Self, Ellie. 🙂

My higher self is important to me and I try to follow my guts and intuitions as much as I can. My spirit is glowing brightly as a Christian person who goes to Catholic church. I have been reading bible everyday. I feel I am more connected to God since that I begun to read daily verses and trying to understand what is written.

“What is going to happen with your vision? How do you feel?”

“There is no telling with RP, no one really knows. I know I am likely to lose my vision eventually. I suspect it would not be fully loss. I might be still able to see with whatever vision left at the end of my life. Hopefully so. I took Braille for seven years. Let me tell you, it was tough, yet typing was easier.”

“What are your biggest fears?”

“Fear of going totally blind and fear of being in an accident with my children. That was the main reason I stopped driving. Also, fear of not being able to read Braille. Also there is another fear which is unknown… the big question is WHEN would my vision change overnight? Is this a possibility? That’s my biggest fear: UNKNOWN.

 “Any challenging issues with parenting?”

“Yes! the children know I can’t hear or see well. Sometimes they would try to take advantage of that. They hide behind me knowing I can’t see them. They think it is fun and game specially when dad is not home and they get into trouble. Eventually they stopped doing this game because they know they definitely would get into big troubles. haha. Also I would put on my hearing aid when they yell at each other and they are shocked as how I know. I am used to have silence around me. The world “noises” is of no interest. I love to listen to music and sometimes wear my hearing aid to watch a movie.”

“I wonder what were some of limiting messages growing up like the person who told you about being totally blind at age 16. I imagine you seeing that person now in your mid forties with your radiant smile. It would be a reminder for adults being mindful with children.”

” I don’t remember who that person was, someone in the school. Yes, I did a field vision test a several years ago and my vision had not changed much since I was in elementary school. I am so grateful that my vision has not drastically change yet as much in my 40’s. knock on the wood.

 “What would be your message to our readers who maybe facing with many life stressors. What makes you shine like a Sun, given your life lessons?”

“I guess is to try to live your life at the fullest. You would never know what your day would turn out tomorrow. Sometimes I ask God to guide me with my life issues, other times turn to Bible, or consult with my family and friends.” You can live your life to what you would want for yourself. Also don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot do this and that. Only you know your own limitations. No one walks in your own shoes. Everyone is different.

Thank you for being a source of inspiration for me…

79E9E491-12AF-41F5-933F-A6188D2ADA1F