Gladys as a typical woman was indentured
Kaieteur News – It is a very difficult situation that must be faced when one loses a parent or any sibling. Grief for the loss of a mother is one of the hardest things we face in life. Moms thoughts and actions are, for and about their children. Few children return the favor. Some children don’t have much time with their mother. I have addressed the needs of not only my mother but I try to do for all the elderly in my encounters. A tribute to my mother, Gladys, is a tribute to all mothers from the pre-independence era because they have all experienced a similar life and did their best to fight adversities to provide a better life for their descendants. I salute all the pioneer women of our nation who did so much to make a better country and received so little credit.
I lost my mother less than a week ago. Anytime someone mentions or expresses sympathy, I come to tears. The pain of grief is overwhelming that anyone says something about my mother at any time intensifies my emotion. But at some point, she has to go. We all have to go.
She was a heroine perhaps characteristic of almost every mother in her generation – working very hard to make a living under difficult challenges for her children that few children return. Women of that age did many jobs – at home, on the farm, and even a professional career like mine was a seamstress. My mother and other women continued the period of indentureship and throughout the 1960s with a tradition brought from India by the Coolie Woman with an invincible spirit that is to be emulated and which is rare today. There is so much to celebrate about them. My mother as the typical cool woman before World War II represented strength, courage, and determination to succeed against all odds and adversities. And it was a success story. Her 75 years of experience as a mother shape generations.
No amount of words can describe my mother, most mothers actually. My mother had rare, outstanding qualities as an income earner. She was the sweetest mother of all as every mother should or should be. She had the hardest smile and was very generous sharing whatever she had. She offered great advice to her children and others even when we challenged her and refused to follow her words. My mother, our May, was very special to us all and she never kept us out of her memory. My siblings are lucky or wonderful for spending invaluable time with our mother.
Ninety-three years is a long life. We can’t keep her forever. But not so much time to spend with the mother.
My mother, Gladys, like the cool female laborers of their first and second generation born in British Guiana, was very strong, hard-working, hard-working, creative, productive, caring, loving, kind, generous and compassionate. They were abused by their bosses in the fields and in the homes but persevered against all odds, and left a lasting legacy to their children.
Gladys, like her mother and nanny and Aji who came from India, lived a dynamic and meaningful life. She was a guardian angel, teacher, best friend, guru, chef, boss, boss, businesswoman, seamstress, creator and designer of clothing design. She did not rely on handouts. She was a household income earner when women were barely paid. She lost her father very early. He died in an accident on the estate and was never compensated except for a job for his wife, my nephew as a complainant; it was the cruelty of indentureship and its immediate consequence. So my mother had to earn an income to help her fatherless siblings as well as provide for her own new home with her in laws.
Women worked unpaid at that time and did even more than men in the fields and in the rice mills although they were not equal to hard physical labor. Gladys, like women of the time, was also the home budget directors managing the finances for the week, the month, the year and beyond. She thought independent for the longest time; she only needed help in the last few years when she became frail. She did not rely on handouts or even in death. She made preparations for her funeral and the rituals. He purchased all the items for the rituals and gave instructions on what must be done and how the prayers should be performed.
Gladys’ best achievements are her products – her children and her descendants. She gave birth to 12 and brought up 11 (one died in infancy). She crouched and nursed them, first to wake up in the morning and finally to go to bed at night. She never made a plea no matter how difficult the circumstances or tightening the budget. It ran into flaws but quickly balanced the surplus running books to share. She worked very hard to see her children succeed in life, sending all but one to high school. (But the one who didn’t go to high school became an American success story in itself that gave her a chance). Gladys was a blessing not only to the 11 children who grew up. She was also a heroine to the people she came into contact with over the years, training them in sewing and in helping to find a spouse for so many. Sewing skills were a prerequisite for marriage and helped women boost family income.
I like to think of myself and my siblings as proof of our mother’s accomplishments as well as her outstanding character. My mother built and left a very strong legacy in her children and in her achievements. Our mother and father who died in 1994 had been such a blessing in our lives. And their parents and grandparents and indeed all the indentured who came from India and the slaves from Africa left a long-lasting legacy. I am so grateful for the time I had with Gladys. I can never forget her. Others have also not forgotten her. So many outside the family reflected on what my mother made them to become better people. She had a rare heart ready to share with others. Those who had the privilege of knowing her expressed their admiration for my mother for helping them, for her generosity.
She wanted to trace the relationships of her nanna and nanny, and aja and aji in India. She spoke fondly of her grandfather and grandmother. I took my mother to India and as we traveled in the villages, she said that they reflected the descriptions given to her by her grandparents. I have had some success tracking some of them on countless trips to India and will try to complete the mission when coming on missions.
I will continue to carry in my heart the experiences I had with the mother and her memories of her grandparents from India.
May the lord give eternal peace to her soul as the Lord did for all her forefathers and all her interns. I pray for her and the ancestors as I perform final rites over the next 12 days as is the ancient tradition and as she asked.