Dress the Window with the African History Month

It’s that time of the year, February: African History Month. It’s time for all of us to consider what contributions individuals from such group have made to advancing humanity. In the process, we unearth the doctors, the scientists, the writers, soldiers in long ago time, men and women of great knowledge and thought. We might even find out that there’s really such a person as the real McCoy as in Elijah McCoy, the founder of the engine lubricator. We show the understanding that without such individuals we would be lacking many advancement. One can’t help, but feel astounded by the realization that people of African heritage have actually value beyond their dark skin, their different feature.

Feeling good about the attention we have paid to them, it is easier to shelf all that glory and pretend all is well. We have given the history its platform, its deserved attention. There will be another year to come, another February to give way to the discuss such a topic, to make ourselves feel better. Certainly this, In the meantime, is enough. Let us move on.

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t question why we actually need an African History Month as if it’s not a Canadian History. As if February is the only month we should be considering it. What happens to all that history, all the knowledge we have garnered for the last four weeks. What do you want me to do with it? Lock it away somewhere in the recesses of my brain for an easy access in eleven months from now? I just want you to know, I can’t do that. Please accept my apologies because for me African history, with all its blessings and challenges, is an everyday history. I exist because of it, not despite it. I breath it in as its cells coarse through my veins, help my heart beat without an effort, my lungs feed my body with oxygen.

Setting up, one month, single segregated month to celebrate the history of a whole group is nothing more than continuing to segregate that group still. These efforts are nothing more than giving ourselves the comforting feeling that we are good people. We include our diverse communities into our discussion and takes care of the problem. Let me say it doesn’t, at least not for me.

Keeping Steady Without the Foundation

My mother’s diagnosis did more than take her memory away. It took my mother away and forced me to adjust to a different mother. It is not forgetting things or people that troubles, but the complete overhaul that devastates me.

While her world went back into a time I can’t relate to, mine stayed statically the same, yearning for the things that were. I am trying to rationalize and deal with the changes.
If I ever thought raising five children with her help was difficult, caring for her without her help is proving an impossibility. I don’t have her to keep me going, to show things by the hour not in terms of days, months or years. “If you look that far ahead, you will go crazy,” she reminded me one day, more than fifteen years ago, when I questioned my ability to deal with the children for ten more years. “You will go insane and no one wins, not even the children.” She had this incredible way of helping separate the child from the behavior. “Just because she failed that test, doesn’t mean she is a failure.” She always took the children’s side, or so I thought, but her comments always filled with wisdom, all I needed to do was take a second look. All that is lost now and I am left to do it alone for the first time. It’s harder than I could explain and I often find myself asking her a question only to encounter that blank expression that leaves me empty inside. I even went as far as assessing her hearing because I thought she couldn’t hear me. The doctor told me what I already knew. “Her hearing is fine, perhaps she can’t process what you are saying.” I went home and cried because I know it’s hard to do it without her all the while she is right beside me.

Alzheimer: Care Giver

I always imagined once the children where older and out of the house, I would be free at last. It is like I have not enjoyed raising my children and helping them become fantastic adults. I actually marveled at every single second of it. All the trips to the library, sports fields, car tips on vacation, and late night tears that wouldn’t stop had left me fulfilled and left me. However, I waited for my time to walk off to the sunset and enjoy the ultimate freedom. Only two more years until my youngest daughter went off to university. It would expensive, but all worth it.

However, my mother’s diagnosis with Alzheimer changed everything. Unlike the children, my mother is declining with time. Everyday there is something new that changes in her and I am forever worried of what I might encounter at the next corner. I don’t know what to expect from the disease as it taking residence the small space between my mother and I. It stared with simple forgetfulness, and constant search for misplaced items. As I reached out for help from my children, I found myself regrouping on a daily basis to figure out what next. Still, I was not prepared, the challenges that awaited once all the children left home. The very thing I looked forward to, children flying the nest, is what frightened me the most. Suddenly, I needed help form others in the community and that proved to be the most difficult part. The things I hadn’t realized like how hard it is to access resources for my mother came to light. My doesn’t only face Alzheimer, but with it she has language and v=culture barrier to contend with. Her issue, like many others, has no simple solutions.

Still, no matter what happens, I am determined to be by her side like she’d done as she helped me raise my children.